So many travel portals are available now – which is better?

December 2, 2013 in Accommodation, Flying, Travel planning, Travel Tips

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With the rise of the Internet age, your next vacation is simply a click of a mouse away. And several travel agencies have sprung up online to seize a slice of this massive pie. Today we take a look at three of the biggest names in online travel booking and find out when or who should we use when planning our next trip.

All three agencies have a very user friendly website and search functions. For Agoda, it only has hotel deals so you will have to book your flights separately. Zuji and Expedia provide booking services for both flights and accommodations and even have special deals when you choose to bundle both together. Zuji and Expedia also include reviews of the hotels using Tripadvisor while Agoda provides reviews based on their own community of users.

To test out how different the rates can be for the three different agencies, we put the search to the test. Let’s say we are looking to spend Christmas at an Asia beach resort this year for 5 nights starting on Christmas Eve. With the same dates input into the search, here is what we got:

Banyan Tree Phuket Deluxe villa average daily rate
Expedia USD 707.42
Agoda USD 724.30
Zuji USD 1014

W Retreat and Spa, Seminyak Bali Wonderful garden view average daily rate
Agoda USD 501.85
Expedia USD 507.53
Zuji USD 673.36

It seems that Agoda and Expedia gives better rates than Zuji for the Christmas vacation. We decide to give the search a final shot by picking an off-peak date further down in March 2014.

Layana Resort Thailand Garden Pavillion average daily rate
Agoda USD 291.68
Expedia USD 372.40
Zuji Not available

Boracay Garden Philippines deluxe room average daily rate
Expedia USD 99.42
Agoda USD 113.32
Zuji Not available

We are officially disappointed with Zuji, which only pulled up a list with 2 hotels when Boracay island was searched.

As for flights, only Zuji and Expedia offer flight reservation services. A quick comparison of the rates for a return flight to two different Asian destinations from Singapore in February 2014 is as follows:

Cathay Pacific non-stop economy class
Expedia USD 396.50
Zuji USD 439.88

Vietnam Air non-stop economy class
Expedia USD 194.26
Zuji USD 210.43

From the looks of it, Zuji does not seem to be able to match prices offered by Agoda and Expedia for hotels and Expedia for flights. It is also important to read through the fine prints as some bookings have better prices than others due to certain terms and conditions, such as cancellation policy and credit card discounts. In any case, it would be wise to do a search on the three different agencies to see the best rates offered before making a booking.