We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Experiences with online Travel Sites...

Which London hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Newcastle, Maine
Level Contributor
547 posts
Save Topic
Experiences with online Travel Sites...

I have seen so many rooms, packages etc. on the travel sites, Expedia, Orbitz, Bookings.com, Hotels.com.

I'm wondering what the overall satisfaction level is with them, the good, the bad and the ugly. I see a deal I like and I call my travel agent to have her try to find a matching one because I worry about booking online only to get to London and have it go terribly wrong. Last year this worked fine for me, but this year I'm trying to go alot cheaper and she's unable to match the deals I am finding. So I'm turning to you folks for advice. Should I jump on one of the deals I am finding or would I be wiser and safer to stick with my travel agent? What are your experiences?

Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
162 posts
142 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Experiences with online Travel Sites...

Hello - I use travel sites all the time (airfare, hotel, car rental, etc.) and have never (knock wood) had a problem. I've used priceline, travelocity, hotels.com, expedia, orbitz and have also booked travel/hotel packages through airlines. In fact, for my upcoming trip to London in early July, I booked my airfare and hotel through British Airways and got a great deal on the hotel. It's a hotel I've already stayed at previously (Best Western Phoenix) so I know what to expect with the hotel. If you continue with the research you're doing, I think you will find better deals than going through your travel agent. Good luck!

Indiana
Level Contributor
653 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Experiences with online Travel Sites...

Have you really tried to book the 'deals' on expedia, orbitz, etc? I find when using them, that they show you the lowest price, but when you try to book it-often as not-that fare is not available - or may be on the outbound but not on the return. You can't just look at the display and say oh, it is 300.00 to travel to x and then call your travel agent and say it's 300.00 to x - input the dates and see if that 300.00 really does apply to your particular days or the flights that your really want.

Keep in mind that those sites are only allotted a certain number of seats/rooms at the 'deals' - your time delay in checking the web, then contacting your travel agent may be working against you. I just was looking at anairfare for my daughter to travel - she had found something acceptable - when we looked at it 2 hours later, on the same site, the fare was 200.00 higher.

I've also found at times that the travel sites are actually a bit higher than if you go directly to the airline site or the hotel site.

And remember that your travel agent isn't working for free - if the airlines/hotels are not paying them a commission - they have to have a service charge to pay their bills.

USA
Level Contributor
6,981 posts
236 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Experiences with online Travel Sites...

I have had no troubles with Orbitz, Travelocity or Expedia for airfare. I have had good luck with Venere.com and hrs.de for hotels. I frequently find good deals on the web and then match or beat them by dealing directly with the hotel or the hotel's website. You can usually find a phone number or e-mail address for the hotels on the web. It is no big deal to phone London and deal directly with them.

There is no reason for a savvy budget traveler to use a travel agent. Avoid the agent's commission by booking on your own.

There are some things to be wary of. Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia and some other sites do not include the 17.5% value added tax in their initial price listing, just the usual "plus tax" note. These websites want immediate payment and can have some nasty cancellation penalties. I have heard that it is a challenge to talk to a real person when troubles arise.

Venere, hrs, and the hotels themselves usually allow for penalty free cancellations up to the last day or two or no payment until checkout.

I have no experience with Bookings.com or Hotels.com.

Making price comparisons for package deals can be an accounting challenge.

Newcastle, Maine
Level Contributor
547 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Experiences with online Travel Sites...

I've purchased the airfare already, a sale price on Virgin, so now I am looking for accommodation. There are so many competitors out there. I just don't want to make a booking, arrive in London and have them say "We have no record...." Or get stuck out back by a dumpster like someone said. You read some serious horror stories out there.

Thanks all, and keep talking....

London
Level Contributor
450 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Experiences with online Travel Sites...

Have booked on websites before with no problems so far. Just as long as there are plenty of good customer feedback on site and the website is kosher. Also that they are a member of the approved travel association in their country of business. They do depend on a good customer experience or they will be out of business :¬)

As for accommodation, what works is to get confirmation numbers and call the hotel in advance to ensure booking is fine. Bring all the paperwork you can get, including an out-of-hours phone number for the web company who does the booking

What I find most useful is to use websites that allow you to reserve with a credit card without paying the whole stay upfront. (just in case you don't like the hotel).

London
Level Contributor
450 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Experiences with online Travel Sites...

several recommended sites for accommodation :

www.travelsupermarket.com who is a comparison website. I booked hotels via Laterooms.com as well. Venere.com and hotels.com are OK too but they usually do not include the local tax.

If you are a bit leery, it is worthwhile to look into the hotel chain websites for any good offers.

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
3,526 posts
101 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Experiences with online Travel Sites...

I just used booking.com in London with no problem, I would recommend that whatever website you use you print out the hotel confirmation and bring it with you, that has saved me a couple of times.

For London I almost always use Priceline though, for approximately the same price on booking.com for a 2* I got a 4* on Priceline.

But with Priceline you basically have a nonrefundable purchase and read the fine print on all of the other ones, Expedia Special rates are sometimes non refundable, other ones have cancellation penalties, etc. If everything goes according to plan then it doesn't matter but if something goes wrong...

Newcastle, Maine
Level Contributor
547 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Experiences with online Travel Sites...

Thank you all. Good advice, very wise and helpful suggestions. Please, keep talking.I love my local travel agent, she's a sweetie (small town), but I also know I am most likely going to book online, unless she can pull a rabbit out of her hat like she did last year. Saw an incredible deal from Travelodge, decent reviews, amd I've looked at a few things from Venere, I'm going back to Venere right now in fact based on the resposes I got here...Let you know how I make out. I still have time to shop around, right?

Thanks again!

Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
16 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Experiences with online Travel Sites...

I travel every 3 months or so using airlines, hotels, and car rentals everytime. I've never had a bad experience with the discount travel sites online. As long as you read the guidelines really carefully after you've selected your options you should be fine. (I've never had a site mysteriously change something for me.) I use Kayak.com which goes through all the discount sites plus all the major carrier, hotel and car rental business sites. This really gives you a good comparison of everything available online to you in one place!

Sophie

USA
Level Contributor
11 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Experiences with online Travel Sites...

Since the internet, I no longer book with travel agents. I find that booking online is the way to go. Before you book a hotel, read all the forums and go with what they have to say.