Reviews of the best and worst hotel booking sites for 2024

Best and Worst Hotel Booking Sites for 2024

The well-known investment disclaimer “past performance is no guarantee of future results” could also apply to having a favorite hotel booking site. Hotel search engines that performed well a year ago can change for the worse and deliver poor results today. 

Frommer’s regularly dives into the data to determine the best hotel sites, and this year produced quite a shakeup in our top 10. Three onetime stalwarts (Priceline, Expedia, and were driven off our list by newcomers, including one site that had never before earned a Frommer's Top 10 slot after eight years of trying. Meanwhile, one formerly mighty booking engine that once dawdled in the bottom half of our ranking has unexpectedly come roaring back and this year, it nearly nabbed the top spot. 

review of the best and worst hotel booking websites
Three types of hotel search engines

First, it helps to understand the playing field. There are basically three types of websites that people can use to find hotels: OTAs (online travel agencies); the hotels’ own websites, which may offer special member deals OTAs can’t match; and aggregators, or meta-search engines, which don’t actually handle reservations, but trawl both OTAs and hotel sites to return a list of results, then send you to your choice of them for final reservations.

We tested both OTAs and aggregators (and as a general rule, you should always double-check results from both types of sites against rates offered by the hotels’ own websites). Why include OTAs at all when there are aggregators that canvass them? Well, some aggregators don't comb through booking engines as well as they should. In fact, our champ for total number of hotels found in most cities was actually an OTA, and you'd think it would have been an aggregator that scans lots of websites. We blame algorithms.

A warning about booking: Hotel aggregator sites sometimes display results from booking services that post amazingly low prices but have sketchy track records for customer service. If a hotel booking website directs you to a company you’ve never heard of, before giving it a penny, do a quick search for reviews or scams associated with that business name, and also perform a quick reputation search (based on the website’s hometown) at the Better Business Bureau ( 

Also keep a close eye on fees, which are unregulated in the U.S. and can stack up fast, and don't pay much attention to user reviews of hotels—AI has made user reviews easy to rig with fakes.

When you're making reservations, remember that some OTAs will give you a discount of 4–6% if you sign in for free. Member savings on aggregator sites are less reliable, and usually only around 1–2%. 

Finally, a tip for travelers with some technical savvy: To ensure you always get the actual total prices including all taxes and fees, consider using a virtual private network, or VPN, to do your hotel shopping through a server based in Ireland, where EU regulations require all those charges to be announced up front. Any server in continental Europe will actually do, but choosing Ireland has the benefit of automatically showing results in English. Clear your browser’s cookies first so the hotel sites won’t remember any previous visits.

Best hotel sites: how we calculated the winners
Robuart/ Shutterstock
How We Determined our Ranking

We threw 54 room reservation scenarios at the major sites to determine which ones could find the lowest prices and the most options. We used the standard, non-member rates for all our tests, and when testing aggregators, we discarded price quotes from websites with sketchy reputations and only considered the prices from reputable resellers.

To start, we tallied the number of choices each contender could rustle up in four price categories in six major cities: San Francisco, Philadelphia, Rome, Paris, Hong Kong, and Buenos Aires.

Then, for each city, we searched for the lowest rates each site could find at four specific downtown hotels in varying price ranges for a mid-week, shoulder-season stay on the same date three months out. That advance purchase requirement assured we would see a level playing field for the same rooms on the same date, and it removed the influence of both high-season spikes and last-minute discounts.

We awarded points to hotel websites that found the lowest rates on a given hotel—and subtracted points if it returned higher prices than the others—in a rigorous, weighted system designed to determine which hotel reservations site saved us the most money consistently. We also paid extra attention to how honest websites were about disclosing mandatory added fees. If websites try to make rooms seem cheaper than they really are, we warn you.

So who succeeded on the best prices and who didn’t measure up? Read on... 

Best Hotel Booking Websites: 10:


Congratulations to, the international-facing arm of China’s Ctrip, for finally making it into the Frommer’s Top Ten after eight years of testing!’s results were scattershot, and to be honest, it really only excelled at finding good prices and numbers in Paris (and, to a lesser extent, Rome), so maybe consider checking it for European adventures. We were impressed that includes the full prices, taxes and fees included, on its results page, and by the fact that you can even sort properties by that true cost, which was unusual among websites.

Then again, also committed some unforced errors, such as telling us one particularly Philly hostel was sold out when all the other sites we checked there were beds available.
Pros: Displays and sorts by total cost, not just pre-tax rates; performs decently in Europe
Cons: Inconsistent results
Best Hotel Booking Websites: 9:


Yes, in addition to supplying endless rants about weird smells, rude clerks, and spotty Wi-Fi, Tripadvisor now aggregates hotel rates so you can simply click to book. Convenient? Yes. The best option? Far from it.
True, it impressed in Hong Kong, where it was equaled only by our #4. While it didn’t find as many hotels in Buenos Aires as some other hotel booking sites did, it did beat the prices the others found. But beyond that, most rates Tripadvisor discovered were plainly average. Many of its results either favored or came from infamously dodgy third-party sites we wouldn’t want to use. While Tripadvisor did sometimes include prices that came directly from the hotels themselves, strangely these were often not cheaper than quotes from the third-party booking agencies. 
Oddly, in North America and Europe Tripadvisor had a frequent tendency to display rates from that were higher than prices you would have snagged by simply going directly to That’s not good, and although Tripadvisor’s filters appear to be strong on the surface, they didn’t always function properly for us. 
Finally, TripAdvisor famously features tons of “user” reviews, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as “actually stayed there” reviews. Experts estimate that between one-third and one-half of all crowdsourced reviews are false or paid.
Pros: Handy user reviews; mostly decent-to-better rates
Cons: Hinky filters; links to suspicious booking sites; merely average prices; sometimes misses the lowest available rate


Best Hotel Reservation Websites: 8:


Trivago has fallen from #3 to the bottom half of our rankings. It did sometimes win the pricing game by finding a rate direct from the hotel (a trick that our #1 also knew), and it was usually average or better on price. That is, except in Buenos Aires, where Trivago returned the lowest number of hotel results of anyone, and it couldn’t even find a single quote for one of our test properties that other sites found easily. 

What’s more, it seems to favor its partners over you, the customer. Like other aggregators, it tended to push results from and even then, it didn’t always lead with the lowest price it found. What good is a hotel booking site that hides the lowest prices? Even more concerning, when Trivago did lead with a too-good-to-be-true rate, it often came from from a notoriously dubious third-party site, including in its supposedly vetted "Trivago Book & Go" results. 

Trivago was also inconsistent. On its first try at the posh Paris pad, it claimed there were no rooms available. Since we had already tested a dozen other sites, we knew that couldn't possibly be true, so we ran the search again and, suddenly, up popped a good price. Had we not searched a second time, it would have failed our test. And what good is a hotel booking site where you have to search twice?

While Trivago has recently improved its filters—you can now get granular on things like price ranges or distance from a desired address (though it still lacks a handy “neighborhoods” filter)—Trivago was frankly more annoying to use than other top sites. It was also the only aggregator in our top 10 that never gave an indication of how much taxes and fees were—you have to click over to the booking site for that. What good is a hotel search site that won’t tell you how much you’ll end up paying? 

Pros: Simple user interface; fast refreshes; decent filters; can deliver direct searches on hotels’ own sites
Cons: Ignores taxes and fees; not particularly transparent; featured rates were not always available or they came from a fishy OTA
Best Hotel booking sites: 7:


Skyscanner, one of the best airfare aggregators in the business (and we ran the tests to prove it), has also managed to build a decent hotel search engine, and this year, it debuts on the Frommer’s Top 10 with solid results that only once failed to find a below-average price—and that was for our budget Buenos Aires hotel where even our #2 stumbled and Trivago failed entirely. 

Skyscanner was particularly strong in Europe, and its filter set was fairly good. While Skyscanner didn’t offer the option to calculate full rates with taxes and fees the way some better-performing sites did, at least it acknowledged when they weren’t included. 

So why is Skyscanner just #7? Aside from mostly middlin’ price discoveries, it seemed to get its lowest rates from less-than-reliable sources like shifty online travel agencies. Some results were even culled from other aggregators and weren’t actually available once we clicked over. (To its credit, Skyscanner posts a disclaimer about this practice at the top of its results.). On the other hand, unlike some other search engines, it has partnered with a reputable OTA to offer direct bookings:

Pros: Average-to-better rates, particularly in Europe; good filter set; acknowledges when taxes and fees aren’t included; direct booking available from reputable third party
Cons: Lowest lead prices are often unobtainable or by disreputable sellers; doesn’t calculate missing taxes and fees
Best Hotel booking sites: 6:
Our middle-of-the-pack aggregator for hotels was still one of only three contenders that never found a price or property count that was worse than average. While Momondo only occasionally offered the lowest price, it also never showed us anything more expensive than the average going rate, a reliable track record.
We love that Momondo lets you include taxes and fees in your results (even though you must select that function in the filters) and, admirably, it also includes cleaning fees and such even when it serves rates from third-party sites that hide those numbers in the fine print on its own pages. That's good, too.
It fell short a few times, like in Hong Kong where it was only able to find the lowest rates by searching our #5, Agoda. (Strangely, Agoda offered even lower rates when we went to it directly—perhaps Agoda reserves the best prices for itself and doesn’t serve the best goods to Momondo.)
Momondo includes the most important filters, including both “Neighborhood” and “Distance from” any address or location you care to fill in. It even has a “Booking Provider” filter so you can weed out questionable third-party sites. It just needs to up its game on pricing. Sure, it never overcharged us, but it also only found the best price one time. 

On the whole, Momondo isn't quite as magical with hotel bookings as it is with finding airfare.
Pros: Never a bad price; option to include fees and taxes; great filters
Cons: Rarely found the lowest price
Best Hotel booking Websites: 5:


Agoda seems to have settled comfortably into the middle of our results, falling one spot from last time but still ranking as the second-best OTA in general. Agoda was far and away the best site for reservations outside of North America and Europe. That makes sense, since it started as an Asia specialist. 

Only Tripadvisor came close to Agoda’s results in Asia, and that's only because it quoted Agoda's own rates. Oddly, not all aggregators could do that, even if they did check Agoda. 
The flip side: Agoda fails pretty hard in Europe, where it came up with the worst prices across the board in Paris. Agoda found about 20% of the options in central Rome that other top sites did. What’s more, Agoda claimed one Paris hotel would charge us €92, which dropped to €83 for Agoda members. That sounded great—until we discovered that many other sites offered €73–€76 for the same hotel. 
Most frustrating of all, Agoda doesn’t even mention taxes and fees until it adds them to the total on the final booking page. Boo! We should also note that Agoda has also sometimes received poor marks from consumers for customer service. 
Pros: Consistently low-priced for Asia and South America; decent filters; map view differentiates between hotels (blue) and rentals (green)
Cons: Omits taxes and fees until the last moment; merely fair results in the U.S. and poor results in Europe; can only search by city (most other sites also allow searches by region or state); clutters window with marketing ploys implying scarcity and sprinkles 4% of the results with “Just missed it!” hotels that aren’t even available on your dates


Best Hotel booking Websites: 4:


The O.G. travel aggregator has bounced around in our ratings over the years, but it seems to be finding secure footing among the top five. Kayak was, impressively, one of only three sites that never returned a price or hotel count lower than the average. 

Kayak has a solid set of filters—including very nice fill-in window for location so you can name any landmark or address. It also gives you that crucial option to show rates inclusive of taxes and fees.  

Like many of its corporate cousins, it favors Expedia as the primary listing even when a lower price is available elsewhere in the fine print. We wish it were more even-handed.
As with many aggregators, it spotlights a disturbing number of OTAs that are widely regarded as scams or at least shady—but at least it now offers a handy “Booking Provider” filter so you can eliminate the disreputable sites. We’d prefer it if Kayak avoided listing travel sites with bad reputations.
Pros: Offers optional option to include taxes and fees; average-to-better rates; nice filters
Cons: Doesn’t always lead with lowest price; often returns fewer listings than its corporate sister site, even though it claims to check it
Best Hotel booking sites: 3:


Time and again, has proved its ability to bag some of the best rates in the business, coming in at a solid #3. It allows you the option to see prices inclusive of taxes and fees, and does so even when it retrieves results from booking sites that hide the true cost deep into the process if you go to them directly. Nice.
HotelsCombined was also one of only three sites, along with Kayak and Momondo, that never once returned a price or hotel count that ranked below average. Even our top two sites stumbled a few times on those metrics. 
What’s more, HotelsCombined has, hands-down, our favorite set of filters, which all come in the form of checkboxes, sliders, or fill-in text boxes, not radio buttons, so you can use several of them at once. You can even fill in any tourist landmark or address to center your search on that area. Like its corporate siblings at Momondo and Kayak, HotelsCombined even has a filter for Booking Providers that allows you to exclude any OTA that you hear is shady. 
Pros: Fast refresh; best filters; occasionally finds lower "book direct" rates from hotel; offers option to see prices with or without taxes
Cons: Shorter results list than our top OTA; sometimes beaten on price by our top two; sometimes shows low rates from third-party sites that aren’t actually available once you click over


Best Hotel Reservation booking Websites: 2:

OTA has returned from the wilderness of the bottom half of our ranking to nip at the heels of the number one spot. It easily smoked the competition when it came to the volume of city-center properties it could find, especially ones charging under $200 a night. All the sites on our ranking offered the same cheap hostel as the only place to stay in Philly for $100 or less. But like a trained dog nosing up rare truffles, found not only that hostel but also five more places that cost even less.
Booking truly dominated in North America and Europe, and if it could only improve its game elsewhere (it fared average-to-bad on price in Hong Kong and Buenos Aires) it would have taken our top slot. 
Another plus: Each hotel on includes user reviews that, unlike at crowdsourced sites, are guaranteed to be from actual guests, because people can only post a review there if they have first booked through the site and then completed their stay. 
Our top complaint about is that, in the U.S., it offers no way to calculate the full prices inclusive of taxes and fees on its results pages. It doesn't even add them for you once you drill down to a property page; it merely notes the percentage or amount of each tax and fee in fine print. This is purposefully misleading, since the better aggregators offer an option to see full costs from the get-go—and that includes rates they obtain from, so the info is clearly in the system. Booking does include European VAT and Asian taxes (3% to 20%) in the base prices, but it excludes ancillary fees (property fees, cleaning fees, etc.), which for rentals can pile up. Booking dot nope!
That considerable bugaboo aside, no other hotel reservations site comes close to in finding the best prices on the longest list of lodgings.
Pros: Includes taxes from the start (except in North America); usually finds many more properties other sites, especially in the lower price brackets; decent selection of filters and sort-by options
Cons: Occasionally returns a below-average price; doesn’t calculate taxes and fees for North American properties until the final booking page; jumbles pages with tacky and manipulative sales tactics ("Only 3 rooms left on our site!")


Best Hotel booking Website: 1:


Our top spot goes to the mightiest of search engines, which has built the most nimble hotel aggregator in the business. Sure, you can Google a hotel’s name directly to see rates from various sites, but type the less-than-catchy, and you get Google’s full-fledged aggregator interface. 
Results and refreshes are lightning fast, the interface is intuitive, and the results were among the best in class. It even knew when to look for a rate directly on the hotel’s own site, a key technique. 
The few times it was bested on price in the U.S. or Europe, it was by less than about $10. Its performance in Buenos Aires and Hong Kong only dipped below average just one time. For our budget choice in San Francisco, all the other aggregators we tested came up with the same $76 price from Priceline, but Google scraped a $65 rate from Agoda—which, weirdly, was more than the $71 we found searching Agoda directly. 
If we’re going to give Google the crown, though, we have to point out that it failed in one key respect: It excluded taxes even when it obtained prices from sites that present results with them, a practice that is terribly misleading and falsely makes stays look less expensive than they are. The option to view prices inclusive of taxes and fees wasn’t available until we clicked to begin booking a specific lodging. 
Another minor minus is its filters, which could be better. The key ones are there, but there is no filter for neighborhood or “distance from.” (You can game that by positioning the map over your preferred area—but you’ll have to know the local geography first.)
The true oddity? Google, supposed King of Search, was only in the middle of the pack on the volume of properties it could find in each city, outpaced by and Kayak nearly every time (except in hotels under $100, where it beat them half the time). 
Still, Google reigned supreme on price, earning it the title of this year’s King of Internet Hotel Search.
Pros: Found the lowest prices, often direct from the hotel; very fast
Cons: Fewer results than some competitors; no option to calculate taxes and fees until deeper in booking process; leads with planted “sponsored” results from partners 


For Frommers' Top Ten Airfare Booking Sites, click here!