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”?
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.
Agency and Merchant Model
On select hotels
On select hotels
Required to complete booking
Not required on select hotels
Unique Search Filters
Book Without Credit Card
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:
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.