Experiment: Favorite Hotel Price Comparison Tools Kayak, Trivago And RatePunk
Review of the best known price comparison sites - Trivago and Kayak with RatePunk browser extension.
Traveling is exciting and one of the most popular hobbies worldwide, but it can quickly become expensive if you don't know how and where to look for the best deals. Especially for accommodation. Booking a hotel room at a great price can save you a lot of money. Although many believe reserving directly on a hotel's website is a good idea, it might not always be the best option. With so many hotel booking sites out on the internet, it can take time to understand which one offers the best pricing.
So let's review the most famous hotel price comparison sites and RatePunk to answer the question once and for all - where is the best place to book a hotel for the lowest price? So here are our TOPs with pros and cons described for you.
It is hard to find a person who hasn’t heard about Kayak. But once and for all, let's agree that Kayak is a metasearch engine that helps people in finding travel deals. It provides all the information which provider offers the best prices for flight tickets, for accommodation, for car rentals, and so on. Why did we decide to talk about Kayak? It offers a unique feature that helps you find the best hotel deals by comparing prices across multiple sites.
- Filtering features. One of the most annoying things is filtering services and amenities hotels should have. Kayak has made an exceptionally easy and convenient filtering: horizontally resented hotel classes, review scores, and even price range per night that meet your budget and needs. Also, it has a special filter -Travel Sustainable Program- for those who prefer eco-friendly traveling. Personally, I really like the map feature that lets you explore your destination city with ease. On the search results page, you'll find a map on the upper left-hand side that displays hotel locations and popular areas for dining, sightseeing, shopping, and nightlife. Each dot on the map represents a hotel, and you can click on any of them to see detailed information and compare prices.
- Since Kayak doesn't facilitate direct bookings of travel components, creating an account isn't necessary. However, signing up for one enables you to enroll in the Kayak Explorer Rewards Program and earn rewards for your bookings. The program is free to join. Additionally, you can earn points on certain hotels through the Kayak mobile app. Your rewards can be redeemed for prepaid debit or gift cards, dining discounts, travel discounts, and other options.
- It is possible to do all the travel planning research on Kayak website or use the app.
- Moreover, Kayak is capable of scanning the prices from 2,500+ travel providers (flights, transportation and hotel providers included). So it is really a huge base where you can try to look for the lowest hotel room deal.
- Some much information. Even though I like the map feature, I needed time to get use to such an overwhelming and full-of-information interface. Yes, having many options and filters to choose from can help customers to find the most suitable and cheapest accommodation. However, at the same time, it is a bit tiring.
- I mentioned the busy interface and its ads. To maximize its revenue, Kayak runs ads to increase its revenue, and it's completely understandable. Yet, these ads can be distracting to the user who searches for accommodations.
- Kayak has the capacity to search all the big OTAs such as Booking, Expedia, Agoda, Orbitz,and others but neglects some smaller hotel booking sites. It means that there is a possibility that it may not show you the absolute cheapest hotel deal.
- Kayak doesn't have rebooking notification feature.
- Kayak doesn't compare Airbnb rental prices.
Few months ago we compared 3 search engines (Skyscanner, Google Flights and Kayak) for finding cheap flight. You can read it here.
Trivago is the second metasearch engine that we are going to talk about. It scans various websites to find and display hotel prices for easy comparison. Interesting fact, Expedia Group owns Trivago, so naturally, it has access to major hotel booking sites. Let's jump to its pros and cons.
- One of the biggest pros is showing how many percentages the price is lower than usual next to the deal.
- There are no ad placements, so it is not as distracting as it was while using Kayak.
- People can look for hotel deals on the desktop or download the Trivago app on their phones.
- Trivago offers a loyalty program named Trivago Rewards that grants customers reward points for every hotel booking made on their website. Honestly, I check several websites and reviews about Trivago, but I couldn't find how a user can redeem the rewards.
- The most distracting thing is that a hotel's "featured price" might not necessarily be the cheapest. And it happens most of the time. The picture above shows that the featured price of Martinhal Sagres Beach accommodation is $234, even though the lowest deal is $220. It is questionable why they push not the lowest deals but others. Moreover, why do they say that the featured prices is x% lower than usual if other provider offers truly the lowest price.
- The list of suggested hotels shows only hotel rates, the number of reviews, hotel class (also known as stars), and city. So if you want to know what kind of services and amenities a hotel has, you need to filter it, or if the specific service is not mentioned, you need to open every hotel and check its description manually. Meanwhile, Kayak shows the hotel rating, hotel class, and most popular features (free parking, free internet, free breakfast, etc).
- Questionable customer service. Trivago's customer service has received negative feedback from customers who have had trouble finding information and contacting the company. They lack a live chat option and have slow email responses, leading to frustration.
- Trivago doesn't have rebooking notification feature.
- Trivago also doesn't compare Airbnb rental prices.
Finally, let’s talk about RatePunk - a browser extension that scans all hotel booking sites and shows the lowest price on the market. The goal is the same as Kayak or Trivago, so let’s check RatePunks pros and cons.
- RatePunk shows not only the lowest hotel room price but also how much money you can save if you take the cheapest provider. By saying the lowest deal, I mean it. For instance, I checked Kayak's lowest price in Santa Eulalia, and RatePunk showed me an even cheaper deal than it was (remember Kayak Cons Nr.3).
- As Kayak and Trivago have loyalty programs, RatePunk has a cashback. Users must log in to RatePunk to earn reward points by booking hotels. Each time a user books with Cashback activated, they will receive RatePunk coins, with the amount depending on the total booking value. Once they reach 100 coins, they can redeem $10 cashback.
- Rebooking feature. This feature works only if you create a RatePunk account. After booking a hotel with free cancellation, a notification pops up on the success page offering you the option of receiving an update if the price decreases, letting you cancel that booking then & rebook with the lower price.
- RateScore. RatePunk calculates a final, accurate rating for each hotel booking site and displays on its pop up. This way it is easier to understand the true hotel rating.
- Airbnb price match. RatePunk browser extension also works on Airbnb and finds the exact Airbnb rental on a hotel booking site or similar one, ensuring you always get the lowest price.
- RatePunk works perfectly on every browser on the desktop and iPhones. But unfortunately, Android users can't use RatePunk on their smartphones since it doesn't have an app.
- There are few reviews, and the brand only builds its authority and raises awareness. That's why some potential users might be doubtful of trying. But they are missing a great chance of really finding a great deal.
After comparing the two biggest hotel price comparison metasearch engines, Kayak and Trivalo, together with the RatePunk browser extension, we can state that RatePunk is definitely the best hotel price comparison tool you should give it a try.
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