Booking.com is an online traveling and accommodation booking business founded back in 1996. It is currently owned by Priceline since 2005 and it came a long way from the tiny startup in Amsterdam. With nearly 1,000,000 properties under contract, it provides users with countless booking options regardless of destination. Available in more than 40 languages, it offers free service to its customers and is also available on mobile devices.
Key facts about Booking.com
- Booking.com can be used exclusively to book hotels and other properties, without including flights and car rentals
- The service is free and can be used on mobile devices with no restrictions for registered users.
- Booking.com has complex sorting features that allow members to browse based on price, reviews score and more.
- There are nearly 1,000,000 properties and more than 900,000 daily reservations made with this traveling website.
How does Booking.com work?
Anyone can browse the Booking.com website for free, but reservations will require them to log in. Setting up an account is easy and people can use their social networks accounts to sign up as well. There are plenty of filters that they can use to narrow down the search and find a suitable hotel. People can browse based on price, availability or reviews scores and the entire list of properties is promptly displayed. They claim to offer prices that are as at least 20% lower than what people would be charged at reception.
These sorting features are particularly useful when members don’t find an available hotel on a particular date. Flexible searching allows them to expand their search with a click of a mouse. Booking.com offers comprehensive information about each hotel, to mitigate the risks of paying for a bad property. A quick glance at the hotel policy will help them learn about the amenities, hotel policy and other features.
Booking.com has on average dozens of pictures for every hotel, so people can see the images before they make a reservation. Depending on property, money is charged upfront or at the premises. During the reservation process, customers are informed each step of the way about the implied costs. Information about the cancellation policy and the deadline after refunds are no longer possible is also displayed clearly.
To help with orientation, Booking.com has detailed maps that reveal the location of all properties. Directions, additional information and other useful facts are provided to travelers. Once those browsing make up their mind, the reservation process can start and it takes seconds to complete it. When needed, the website will provide the option to reserve a car or make the necessary arrangements to be picked up at the airport.
The Booking.com mobile experience
Booking.com was among the first online traveling and booking websites to come up with a dedicated mobile app. It now includes all the features that players can enjoy when browsing the website. The reservation process is identical and the same amount of information is provided to smartphone and tablet users. The maps load quickly on these devices and all the rates comparison tools are also available.
After returning from a vacation, travelers are also invited to give their feedback on the property. This is when the mobile app can feel a bit restrictive, especially if you want to write comments. The standard procedure however doesn’t take more than a few minutes if you want to be a thorough reviewer. Customer support works 24/7 and goes the extra mile to help users solve any problem.
There are rarely any issues with payments or reservations when using the Booking mobile app. Quick communication with customer support is possible thanks to the live chat feature and phone assistance. The app can be downloaded for free from their website or from Google and Apple Stores.
What are others saying about Booking.com?
Booking.com’s popularity grew rapidly after the start-up expanded beyond Dutch borders. It is now used by millions to make reservations and the vast majority of customers are extremely happy with the service provided. Some Booking.com reviews claim that the discounts offered by the company are not real or not that relevant. On the other hand, those who have attained Genius status consistently benefit from better offers, have 10% discounts on average and other perks.
Over the course of time there were instances in which cyber criminals were able to obtain customer data. These breaches of security are also mentioned in Booking.com reviews, but the company claims that they were all fixed. Those who are affected by these identity theft attempts were notified by the company. There were also complains about the terms imposed by the company to hotel brands. They are prevented from offering discount prices on their websites, so that Booking.com has the smallest prizes.
The company is still under investigation in several European countries by local competition authorities. In the absence of healthy competition, travelers are the ones that suffer, since they don’t benefit from the best offers. There is concern in someEuropean countries that companies such as Booking.com, Expedia or Tripadvisor have secured market dominance. Competitors from India and elsewhere such as Cleartrip and MakeMyTrip are miles behind.
My rating of Booking.com
I’m traveling more than the average guy and Booking.com is my website of choice for reservations. Over the course of time I’ve booked hundreds of nights in dozens of hotels so I know the system inside-out. I never ran into trouble and whenever I had minor problems with a hotel, customer support met the halfway. Even when I had to make changes on a short notice, they were accommodating and saved me time and money.
Their dominant position is probably hurting the competition and prevents the prices from dropping any further. However, I love my Genius status and the perks it offers. Discounts on the best hotels, late checkouts and early check-ins are just a couple of the perks that Booking.com offers. As far as I’m concerned, this is probably the best online traveling and reservation website for hotels and it deserves a rating of 9 out of 10.