At the time of writing this post, there are ongoing ACCC investigations into alleged anti-competitive behaviour in the hotel booking services industry and so we don’t actually recommend any of these services. However, if planning a holiday you’ll probably come across these sites, so we chose to assess their performance and usability.
It would be handy to have a who owns what graphic at the top of the article to understand the interrelationships and whether that had an effect on the relative scores.
Could this be expanded to be a ‘best accommodation booking sites’ review in the future by including P2P booking such as airbnb, stayz etc.?
Thanks for the suggestions @meltam, I’ll see what we can do to include these requests in the future.
Interesting to me has been a current advertising campaign run by HotelsCombined in which they compare their price to what I can only consider is a fictitious business that has higher pricing (called Mr. Convincing). I can’t find a comparison business called Mr. Convincing so any figure HotelsCombined uses for this other business is totally fictional and in my opinion is false or misleading advertising.
It is called Advertising puffery. These are exaggerated subjective claims which can neither be proved or disproved.
If they used a real business to make exaggerated claims it may be false advertising and illegal, but I don’t believe it is illegal to fabricate one in this context.
It comes to notice that the booking sites are only reported for their ‘booking experience’ rather than the overall experience. It seems to reflect the website design and functionality rather than the end product being purchased.
It would be interesting to know if any or how many people arrived at their destination only to have problems - the place was not as advertised or claimed, they had no record of the booking, the place tried to charge more than the booking, and so on. A ‘voice’ questionnaire or trolling through tripadvisor and similar?
It may also be useful in future to also compare some of the dedicated hotel chain sites. Eg Accor, Starwood etc
Do you get better room offers/deals and value as a free or paid member of a chain loyalty program? Perhaps consider only the best discounted room rate, as loyalty bonus really only benefit frequent travellers? My previous experience with the Accor chain web site (several years ago) would rate it poorly, mainly due to how it displays currency. Or rather does not! The self service web sites have similar attributes comparable with Agoda or Expedia etc.
In the actual rating methodology Choice chose travel sites in Europe (France, Germany) and Australia (Melbourne, Broken Hill). Is five star the typical booking scenario? It might be the rating deserved by Choice staff. I suspect it is not the norm for nearly all of us.
Is there value when assessing each service in looking at popular tourist destinations in Australia where there may be greater competitiveness? Eg Cairns, Alice, Gold Coast, Noosa etc? My suggestion is not all of these, perhaps one or two?
They might also offer more complexity in options too?
Is there any reason for not testing the providers services for a location/s in Asia? Business in Asia is done a little differently to Australia and Europe. When we look a little deeper, sometimes you get more details of the hotel, sometimes it is in another language, sometimes you get no more detail and recycle to generic marketing screens. In these instances the actual hotel web site may be a better option, assuming you have your personal translator handy? Ours only does Japanese and Italian.
Thinking as if I were a staffer, at what point is information too much information and results in confusion and bewilderment and even second guessing one’s choices (no pun) as a result. How is all that multi-faceted data selected, collected and analysed for a meaningful comparison? The diversity of our interests and Choice’s approach is to target the most common denominator. eg the products tested are chosen because of what ‘we’ are buying, and sometimes a few ‘they’ are selling get included for some ‘spice’, but. Ooops, spent my budget already.
Thanks. We’ll take a look at these suggestions for the next review.
Yes you’re right, the general aim is to target what most people are doing, most of the time, with regard to any specific product.