PROS / Hotels.com gives you extensive sorting features to help you book a dream room.
CONS / Finding customer support beyond FAQs and the sales number takes a little digging.
VERDICT / Hotels.com is easy to use and provides plenty of options to find the best rooms around the world, no matter what your preferences are.
Hotels.com wins our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for its arsenal of sorting, listing and help features. If you're traveling with children or pets, or if you have disabilities, you can easily find rooms that fit your needs. Booking a room through this website or its app only requires standard personal and credit card information. Hotel booking with Hotels.com is a little higher than it is with almost half of the services we reviewed, but you can find some unexpected savings in some specific areas.
Among the top 10 hotel booking sites we evaluated, Hotels.com offers slightly above-average prices. Its booking average is $152.93 per night, as opposed to the grand average of $146.90. International hotel booking costs with Hotels.com are below the average, though. For instance, in our search of London, Hotels.com's rates were about 15 percent lower than those of the other hotel booking services in our review.
The best hotel booking services allow you to filter your search results by features that fit your needs and make your stay more comfortable. Hotels.com allows you to filter rooms by the standard categories like amenities, price, star rating, distance and accessibility features. For special occasions, you can filter hotel rooms by type or theme, such as spa, romantic or family-friendly. Further filters allow you to sort hotels with a list of 20 different amenities, including spas, free Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, pets allowed and airport transfers. One especially useful feature is the ability to change preferences for dates and locations without going back to the homepage.
If your hotel stay is part of a destination vacation, you can find a hotel near your attraction with two different methods. Destinations like theme parks, shopping centers or museums often appear under the landmarks category. For example, you can find hotels near landmarks in New York by filtering for the Empire State Building, Broadway or MetLife Stadium. You can also search for hotels based on neighborhoods, which is a convenient feature if you're visiting friends or family in the area. Filtering searches with this feature ensures you'll be close to what you came for. If you're a frequent traveler, you may be part of a loyalty program with specific hotel chains, so Hotels.com gives you the option to search for hotels by their names.
Once you find a hotel that interests you, you want to browse its profile to learn its finer details. The hotel profile displays the most important information at the top of the page. Without even scrolling, you can see images of the hotel and rooms, the hotel's star rating, a map of the city with the hotel marked, and customer reviews. In addition to Hotels.com reviews, you can see TripAdvisor reviews and ratings. From the same page, you can share, email or save the hotels that interest you most.
Hotels.com lists multiple rooms available in the hotel on the profile page as well. This is a nice feature when you plan to book multiple rooms or simply want to see your options. Often, this is where you can choose from double-bed rooms or opt for the king-size bed. In the individual room descriptions, you can explore the hotel's featured amenities, like Wi-Fi, dining options and occupancy.
One helpful feature of Hotels.com is that you can opt to pay online or at the hotel. Online payment is best for foreign travel because you can use your local currency or a Hotels.com gift card. This method earns you points in Hotels.com Rewards, the loyalty program from the site. Paying in person for the hotel has its advantages too. Opting to pay for a particularly expensive hotel later allows you to save up for any extra expenses or luxuries. However, if you take this option, you'll have to pay in the hotel's local currency, a possible problem if you aren't traveling domestically.
It only takes a few moments to book a hotel on this site. All you need to do is provide standard information such as your name, room preferences and card number. Hotels.com takes credit and debit cards, PayPal, Google Wallet, and gift cards.
As the website's name suggests, Hotels.com books mainly hotels. However, you can also make reservations for vacation packages. You can't book rental cars, but you can find deals for most international vacations under $2,000.
In case you have questions, the customer service tab at the top of the page provides options to view your reservations, read the FAQs or contact the company's support representatives. The FAQs and contact options under this tab lead to the same page. While the sections are related, it can be confusing if you simply want to talk to a rep. The FAQs page is divided into categories such as Hotels.com Rewards, Hotel Booking, Package & Flight Booking, and Account Settings. You can also help others by giving site feedback and reviewing the hotels you found through Hotels.com. Contact info for Hotels.com reps isn't obvious beyond the sales number at the top of the page. However, the contact tab at the top of each FAQs article provides access to live chat, or you can request a callback if you want a rep to reach you.
Hotels.com specializes in just what it says: hotels. While you can make other reservations on this site, it's the best place to get a room online. It's not the cheapest hotel booking service, but it's competitive, and you can find discounted rates for hotels around the world with plenty of information to help you decide when and where to stay.