With so many different travel booking sites to choose from, airlines changing award charts, and numerous lucrative travel rewards credit card points, should you use Booking.com? With more than 1.5 million hotel listings worldwide, you should have no problem finding a place to lay your head for the night. In this review of Booking.com, you can find out everything you can do on the popular travel booking site, and more importantly, if it’s worth your time.
What Exactly Can You Book on Booking.com
You can book just about every travel reservation possible on Booking.com, including:
- Hotel Accommodations
- Business Apartments
- Rental Cars
- Airport Taxis
Booking.com is a member of the Priceline group, so, the search result will be very similar to what you will find on Priceline.com. Although, Booking.com appears to be built for business travel as they ask if your travels are business-related so Booking.com will recommend properties that offer free breakfast, parking, and wi-fi.
You might also appreciate Booking.com because you can book European train and bus rides, airport taxis, and making restaurant reservations on OpenTable.com.
Booking Hotel Rooms on Booking.com
Despite being owned by Priceline, the results are not identical when you perform a side-by-side comparison. The prices are very similar, but, the search results are not stacked in the same order.
When researching a hotel room for two adults in Asheville, NC, these were the top three hotel recommendations from Booking.com:
- Four Points by Sheraton (8.1 Rating–$89/night)
- Brookstone Lodge (7.9 Rating–$112/night)
- The Residences at Biltmore (8.9 Rating–$159/night)
Here were the top three results of the same search on Priceline:
- Hotel Indigo (8.8 Rating–$104/night)
- Crowne Plaza Resort (7.2 Rating–$96/night)
- Country Inn and Suites (9.2 Rating–$102/night)
With the exception of the Four Points that was already sold out for the same date on Priceline, there was vacancy for the other five hotels on both booking sites. It seems that Booking.com places more emphasis on the boutique hotels and smaller brands, while Priceline primarily lists the larger brands with more name recognition.
Once you get outside the top three recommendations for either site, Booking.com also lists locally-owned hotels that were not found on Priceline. You will pay the same price for the hotel on either website, but, it seems that Booking.com has a wider selection to travelers that want to stay somewhere different if they are willing to comb browse the listing for a few extra seconds.
What you won’t find on Booking.com are the last-minute mystery deals the Priceline offers on last-minute unsold hotel rooms.
Booking a Flight on Booking.com
Booking.com makes it easy to find flights. If you are flying to a destination with served by multiple airlines, Booking does a good job at showing the different flight options based on price, time, and carrier. Their website is a little easier to browse than Priceline, even though you will pay the same amount at either website.
Another reason you might prefer looking for flights on Booking.com is that they have a trend window in the upper-left corner. This window will tell you if you should buy now or wait, based on their prediction of when fare prices will increase. Since the flight search results are powered by Kayak, both the Booking.com and Kayak search results look identical except for website colors and the website name.
Unlike Priceline where you can book flights through the portal, Booking.com takes you directly to the airline website to complete the reservation process.
Booking European Trains and Buses
If you will be taking a trip to Europe and visiting several locations, bus and train might be the most convenient transportation options once you arrive. Booking.com has partnered with GoEuro to book a bus or train ticket for any major carrier in Europe.
Booking in advance ensures you will have a seat as trains and buses sellout just like commercial flights. And, you don’t have to worry about speaking the local language to book your ticket or making sure you have enough cash.
Even if you don’t book a ticket today, Booking.com and GoEuro can be a brilliant research tool when you only want to find out the schedule information.
Whether you need a taxi to transfer to another airport or need a ride downtown, you can book a legitimate taxi ride through Rideways (a Priceline/Booking.com affiliate).
You can book one of the following taxi classes:
- People Carrier
- Executive People Carrier
You might consider this option in cities that ban Uber. To avoid being scammed by sham taxi drivers, Rideways can give you the peace of mind you are looking for. And, you know that somebody will be waiting for you when you arrive, even in the middle of the night!
Rental car prices are very similar among most travel portals unless you have a special discount code or book through Costco Travel. The rental prices for Booking.com were the exact same as Priceline. If you are looking to save a few dollars, try placing a bid through Priceline first. If nobody accepts the bid, you are only out your time.
Making Restaurant Reservations
OpenTable is another member of the Priceline/Booking.com family of websites. You can make a reservation at any restaurant that accepts OpenTable reservations. If you already know where you want to go before you arrive, or simply want to ensure you get a table by making a same-day reservation, Booking.com can be useful as well.
Advantages of Using Booking.com
Booking.com does an excellent job of publicizing the various travel websites owned by Priceline. The prices will be identical on Booking.com and the other Priceline travel portals, but, Booking.com can be easier to navigate. Here’s why else you might like Booking.com:
- Easier to find business-friendly hotel accommodations than other travel portals that focus on personal travel
- Research European bus and train schedules and buy tickets
- Make dinner reservations through OpenTable
- Booking.com has a highly-rated mobile app
Disadvantages of Booking.com
Here are a few reasons why you might prefer another travel booking site:
- Booking.com doesn’t offer “Mystery Deals” like Priceline
- Prices are the exact same on Booking.com as Priceline for hotels and rental cars
Summary on Booking.com
If you don’t need to book a mystery deal to save money and enjoy using the Priceline family of websites, Booking.com is a good option. It’s quick and easy-to-use, plus, it makes planning a European trip easier when you need to figure out train and bus schedules in addition to your flight across the ocean. Booking.com might not save you money necessarily, but, it can save you time when you plan your next trip.