Do you avoid planning adventurous vacations because of how much hassle it is to book them? Some people find that they don't travel even when they have money because of how difficult it is to get everything in place. That's without even considering the struggle of comparing hotel and flight rates.
Travel booking apps and websites are designed to change that. The goal of this industry is to provide software that lets you compare different booking options and plan your next trip with a few clicks or button taps.
Hotels.com and Booking.com are two travel planning websites with accompanying mobile apps. They allow you to search lodging based on different parameters, look at deals, and check out the offerings in different destinations all over the globe.
There are a few key differences in the setup of each, though. I've taken a look at both systems to help you decide which will give you the easier booking experience.
It's fairly simple to book lodging through Hotels.com. In addition to having hotel deals worldwide, the service also allows you to book vacation homes, resorts, city homes, and temporary apartment rentals. You just need to choose the category you want to browse.
On the homepage, you can get started immediately by inputting:
Once you enter these parameters, the system will generate a list. Across the top, you have options to sort by different criteria:
On the left, you'll find a filter bar. This allows you to search for amenities like free breakfast, free WiFi, a pool, and pet-friendly options. You can narrow down results based on your minimum or maximum price, as well as search only certain star ratings.
With each filter category, you just check the box next to listings you're interested in. There are filters for:
It's super easy to go through the lists and check boxes without needing to page through complicated drop-down lists or multiple screens.
Booking.com has the same basic search feature on the homepage including number of rooms, travelers, check-in and check-out dates, and destination. You can also check a box indicating that you're traveling for work.
Once you search, you can sort the results by the following categories:
The filtering system is a similar checkbox setup. For budget, you have to choose a predetermined checkbox rather than being able to input your own minimum and maximum values.
The included filter categories are:
Though this looks like a lot more customization, the actual checkboxes are basically all included with the other filtering system. Unfortunately, breaking the system down into so many categories that could be combined can make the process a little overwhelming.
The Hotels.com search features are much easier to use, and the filtering systems are simple while still being detailed.
Hotels.com specializes in lodging booking, rather than being an all-purpose booking site. As such, its alternative booking options are limited. You can search for things to do over certain dates in different cities, but whether booking is available through the app varies.
The app technically lets you book flights alone, though it makes this function hard to find. But it will allow you to bundle flight and hotel bookings to get a discount on both. To get started, all you need to enter is:
Booking.com has the same functions. It's very easy to find single flight bookings. It's also easy to find flight and hotel bundles.
In addition, the site has both car rentals and airport taxis available to schedule ahead of time. You can also buy tickets or make reservations for events and spaces in your city ahead of time, which makes it super easy to plan every day of your vacation with something special.
Thanks to the additional features available through Booking.com, you can set up every aspect of your vacation in advance. You can book a flight and hotel several months ahead of time. Once you've landed, you can also have an airport taxi or car rental set up, and you can get tickets or make event plans for every day of your vacation.
Pros and Cons of Hotels.com
Pros and Cons of Booking.com
Final Thoughts: Which is Better?
Both of these services are great choices when you're planning your vacation. They work best for booking ahead of time, since that gives you access to better discounts and lowers the chances that you'll accidentally book a room that's been sold. There are mobile apps and rewards programs available.
Hotels.com is the best website when you want to book lodging in a given area. It has a wide selection of hotels at discount prices, plus it provides access to other types of lodging as well. The search parameters are very easy to use, the rewards program is straightforward, and the app gives you resources for plotting your vacation.
Booking.com works best for those who want to plan and book every aspect of their vacation ahead of time. Not only can you book your flight and lodging, but you can also get an airport taxi, rental car, and get tickets for any attractions or venues you want to visit. Just keep in mind that there are fewer deals, and the search function is a little difficult to maneuver.