Agoda vs. Booking.com
Last Updated: May 14, 2018

Agoda vs. Booking.com: Where should you book your next destination?

There are hundreds of travel websites nowadays that help travelers find great deals to make things a little bit more affordable. Next to the plane fare, the biggest consideration is always where to stay. When you’re planning week-long or even month-long travels, the bill racks up pretty quickly. Of course, you can always look for an AirBnB for cheap or unique places, but even hotel booking sites have apartment rentals on their list already. When it comes to looking for the best deal, people usually turn to either Agoda or Booking.com. The question is, where can you find the better “best deal”?

Related: Hotel vs. Hostel vs. AirBnB: which is your best option?

Agoda vs. Booking.com: The Main Difference

There are many similarities between Agoda and Booking.com (and all other booking sites, for that matter). In fact, both companies are under one mother company, Priceline. The main difference is the business model.

Booking.com uses the Agency Model. This means they simply drive customers to their partner hotels and you pay the hotel when you check out. So when you book a room on Booking.com, you’re essentially letting the site reserve the room for you. This is the reason why you don’t need a credit card when booking with Booking.com, which is convenient for many travelers.

Agoda, on the other hand, uses a mix of both Agency and Merchant Model. If you’ll notice, there are a few options where you can actually choose to pay the hotel directly. But with their Merchant Model, Agoda purchases inventory (or rooms) from their partner hotels at a discount, and then sells them to customers at a higher markup. Of course, Agoda has already formed deals and negotiations with their partner hotels which is why they can still offer customers good deals on rooms and packages.

When it comes to prices, these vary. Both sites have a very wide inventory and you’ll be spoiled for choices. There are some partner hotels that the other doesn’t have, so it’s worth looking on both. You will be charged a service fee, but, most of the time, the final amount you’ll pay is still relatively cheaper than other booking sites or even from the hotels themselves.

The Booking Experience

Booking on both sites is easy, but there a few minor details that make one a bit more convenient than the other.

For the budget-conscious, Booking.com already shows the total price for your entire stay. Agoda shows the nightly rate (but they do show total amounts on the mobile app).

Below are some nifty features that might make finding the perfect accommodation easier for you.

Agoda

Booking.com

Business Model

Agency and Merchant Model

Agency Model

Free Cancellation

On select hotels

On select hotels

Credit Card

Required to complete booking

Not required on select hotels

Unique Search Filters

Nearest Transportation

Breakfast Included

Bed Preference

Book Without Credit Card

Location Score

24-Hour Reception

Extra Perks

Earn Agoda points and other loyalty points from affiliate companies

Can book flights, rental cars, and airport taxis with the same hotel search terms


Friend Referral Program

For some reason, Agoda users leave deeper and more useful reviews about their stays. While you'll find reviews on Booking.com as well, Agoda reviews are more accurate and honest. There will be fewer unpleasant surprises when you book through Agoda than through Booking.com.

Before you book your room

Different hotels may have different policies when it comes to service fees and VAT. There are a few things to watch out for before finalizing your booking:

City Tax

There are some hotels that require city or tourist tax that are outside of the room rate. Sometimes this is paid up through the site, and sometimes it will be paid at the hotel.

Service Charge and VAT

If you're paying for your room directly through Agoda, then the amount charged to your card will be the final amount. However, if paying at the hotel, the amount reflected on the site is not always the final amount you'll pay at the hotel. Check if the price you're looking at already includes service charge and VAT before you make your choice.

Low Price Deals

Both Agoda and Booking.com offer rooms at much lower prices. However, there is no flexibility with these rooms. If you're 100% sure about your travel dates, look out for these rooms and save a lot more money.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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