If you are reading this blog, you are probably booking at least some of your hotels online and are looking to pay the lowest price for the hotel you want. There are plenty of booking sites promising you the lowest price, including the hotel’s own website. To make sure you really get the best price, you can compare multiple sites on your own – or you can go to a comparison site. I’ve reviewed Trivago before and today, I’m looking at HotelsCombined, another comparison hotel search site – read on to find out how it works and why you should care!
HotelsCombined promises to search across multiple booking sites, taking more than 5 Million deals into account, all in one easy search. They also offer a best price guarantee should you find a better deal elsewhere and proudly display their “Excellent” 9.4 rating on TrustPilot! While it’s hard to verify the number of sites or hotels they search, I did try to validate the TrustPilot rating – and they fell way short of their own advertising. The current rating is only 7.6 – a big gap from the advertised 9.4 rating, not a good start into the review!
How does it work? HotelsCombined welcomes you with a typical hotel booking screen, allowing you to enter the destination. travel dates and number of people traveling. You can expand it for an advanced search, including criteria like the price, star rating, property type or guest rating! I like that you can select multiple categories for each, for example 3 and 4 star ratings for hotels and motels!
The site returns the list of available hotels and tools for you to sort the list of hotels, modify the display or further filter the list of hotels available. You can sort the hotels by price, star or guest rating, distance from a place or sight or by traveler type – all of these are pretty standard. A useful and easy tool is to switch the price display between taxes included and excluded, making it easy to see upfront what you have to pay.
As with other hotel search sites, the list of hotels will be very long and it’s handy to filter it down further. Additional criteria are the features of the hotel, the theme or the chain – giving you plenty of options to whittle down the number of hotels to choose from.
For each of the hotels on the list, you’ll see a few pictures, the lowest available price, the prices for different rooms on different sites, as well as the guest rating! Unfortunately, the price displayed is for the full stay, with no price per night visible. At least the lowest available price is featured – different from TripAdvisor which shows the price at a “recommended” site, sometimes with a better price from a different site hiding in the details! You can click through to a full list of available sites and room prices. Or you can click through to the details of the guest rating. You can see detailed ratings for the room, cleanliness, location, service as well as dining and facilities. You can also see how different guests evaluate the hotel, for example singles, couples or families! There are unfortunately no detailed reviews available like on other sites, so you don’t know why people don’t like a property, making it hard to tell how relevant the ratings are to your own needs!
Once you pick your hotel and deal, you click through to the partner site to complete your booking. It’s important to note that HotelsCombined does not allow to book directly on their site, avoiding the conflict of interest TripAdvisor has! The downside is that HotelsCombined does not have any responsibility for the actual hotel booking, so you’ll have to deal with the hotel and booking site directly.
Why should I care: HotelsCombined gives you easy access to a large number of sites in one easy search. There are a lot of options to filter and sort. I like the ability to include the taxes and fees, making your search more transparent, rather than hiding them till the last step of the search, especially helpful in unfamiliar locations that might have very high taxes and fees!
One of the downsides are the limited reviews – they are neither verified, nor provide detail (like on TripAdvisor) or are from different sources (like on Trivago), making it likely that I’ll look at other sites to pick the right hotel for me.
While HotelsCombined ties it’s best price guarantee to include the hotel’s own website, there is no easy way to see the price on the hotel’s own site – with many hotel chains know offering special prices, that is a big miss, making it necessary to check yet another site before booking.
Just like Trivago or TripAdvisor, HotelsCombined is a good, first stop to start your hotel search. But is isn’t really the “only” site you need. Whether HotelsCombined can really help you find the best deal – or whether the competitors are better at it, I will research in a comparison of the big three sites later. Come back for that review to see which site will really find you the best deals!