Which Travel Booking Site Is Best?

A new report outlines the strengths and weaknesses of some of the big-name travel booking sites.

How do you know if your travel booking site delivered the best available price for your airfare or hotel room? You don’t; and the only way to obtain some assurance is to compare rates from one site with those from another, a tedious process. NextAdvisor, a research firm, studied nine travel sites, rating Expedia, Hotwire, and Orbitz as the three best but for different audiences.

According to NextAdvisor, Expedia is tops for families and vacationers whose departure dates are at least six weeks away and Hotwire works well for “semi-experienced travelers without a need for step-by-step assistance.” NextAdvisor rated Orbitz third, stating it functions best for frequent and experienced travelers.

To be among the nine sites analyzed, each one had to offer its own prices, not just list prices of other sites and each site had to allow users to book directly. NextAdvisor also factored in searching ease and travel suggestions.

“Pricing is arguably the most important factor …but we quickly realized that having a handful of handy tools to stay organized and inspired rounded out the booking process and made it less of a chore,” says Emily Bartz, a NextAdvisor writer and spokesperson. “While some sites will offer better prices for business travelers, international travelers or last-minute travelers, others are better for planning a vacation as they offer activity suggestions and deals on local adventures.”

Click the image below for NextAdvisor’s comparison chart analyzing nine travel booking sites.

Click for a larger version.

Which travel sites do you trust the most to find great deals? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.