There are many booking systems, but still only a few of them are considered the most widespread, convenient and trustworthy: Booking, Agoda, Ozon, Ostrovok and a number of others. I already have a good post about, how to search for a hotel in RoomGuru. Be sure to read it if you do not know the difference between a booking system and a search engine, because using such aggregator services you can significantly save on hotels. In short, RoomGuru shows hotel prices from all systems at once, and you get not only the largest database of hotels, but you can also choose where a particular hotel is cheaper..
Now let's take a look at another booking system - Agoda (Agoda.com), which not many travelers know about. Although they should, because it is the main one in Asia, and not the usual Booking.
The content of the article
- one What is Agoda
- 2 How to book a hotel room
What is Agoda
Agoda.com, like Booking.com, is a self-service hotel search and booking system. The Agoda database contains more hotels in Southeast Asia than others. So, if you are going to travel in Asia, it is more convenient to choose and book hotels on Agoda, there are more of them. For Europe, Agoda also has hotel offers, but still this direction is better represented by Booking. Another difference is that Booking takes your credit card information and transfers it to the hotel; it is the hotel that receives the money from you. Agoda, on the other hand, accepts payment for the hotel, issues you a voucher for accommodation, and contacts the hotel herself. Booking is not responsible for the quality and completeness of the services provided by the hotel; Agoda, in case there are problems with the hotel, according to the conditions prescribed on the website, can provide a similar room in the nearest hotel free of charge..
That is, when booking a hotel, it is Agoda who receives money for a room, she also contacts the hotel, informs about your reservation to the hotel and sends you a confirmation and a voucher for settling with a seal and signature, on Agoda's letterhead. The money for the hotel reservation is withdrawn from your card immediately by Agoda, then she herself pays with the hotel. You can cancel your booking and Agoda will refund the money to your card, but minus its $ 15 commission. When canceling your reservation, if you do it too late, the hotel may charge a late cancellation fee or not refund at all, this depends on the rules of the particular hotel. If the rules provide for free cancellation of the reservation a certain number of days before arrival, the reservation can be canceled within this period and the money will be returned in full. Minus the Agoda commission, as mentioned above.
The hotels themselves provide photos and descriptions for the Agoda website, most often these are beautiful professional photos taken immediately after the opening, that is, all the interiors are still completely new. Do not forget that everything changes over time and in fact, the older the hotel, the more likely it is to see a completely different picture after arrival. The description of the hotel should also not be taken literally, even if the hotel is located on the very edge of the city, they will write to you about it «good location». So, in principle, you can skip the description of the hotel, it is still rather the text of the advertising booklet. But it is important to always look at live (from those who have already been a hotel guest) reviews of the hotel and its rating on Agoda. Everyone who has booked a hotel after checking out of it automatically receives letters with a proposal to leave a review.
Advantages of the Agoda booking system:
- A large, well-known reservation system, it is not so scary to entrust it with your card number. Usually Agoda does not transfer your card details to the hotel (such as Booking);
- A voucher from Agoda can be provided to the embassies to obtain a Schengen visa, a booking on Agoda is quoted as quite reliable, along with Booking;
- The most complete, in comparison with other systems, database of hotels in Southeast Asia;
- With a prepaid hotel, you no longer need to worry about housing and the current exchange rate (which becomes even more relevant with the falling ruble);
- Bonus system for registered users;
How to book a hotel room
Filling out the form
Let's try to choose and book a hotel using the Agoda system, taking an example of how it works. First, go to the main page, select the language at the top - Russian. We fill in the fields of the search form: for example, we will look for a hotel on Koh Samui, in October, for a week. Choosing dates. Click Search:
We get 764 search results. It will be very difficult to choose the right hotel from this number. We need to filter the results according to our requirements and preferences. At the bottom left there are filters, you can tick the search criteria we need.
Filters and sorting search results
First, it is more convenient to select the search criteria in the filters on the left, and then check the results sorted by price by location on the map. At the top right of the window there is an icon with a map, with its help you can select hotels manually by location. Quite a handy tool if the location of the hotel is important to us. For example, if you want to find a hotel on the first line, next to the sea.
IMPORTANT: Agoda always shows the price for 1 night per room, regardless of the selected dates. Also, the price is indicated without fees, that is, about 18% must be added to it. The total and final cost is displayed on the payment page before the payment itself (you can skip the booking if the price does not suit you).
So, we choose hotels: 4 stars, in the area of Mae Nam beach (nice beach for families), with a swimming pool, internet and a hotel review rating of at least 8.
IMPORTANT: Hotel rating and reviews is the main criterion for evaluating a hotel, because the photographs and descriptions cannot be completely trusted. Therefore, the rating filter is a handy tool when choosing a hotel. It is best to choose hotels with a rating of at least 7, but preferably more than 8. Although this is also not a guarantee of quality and it is also necessary to read reviews, in general, there are normal hotels with a rating of 8, it is much better where those with a rating of 5-6.
Only 5 hotels meet all our criteria. Let's sort them by price:
Let's open the map to see the location of the hotels on it. You can change the scale for convenience. When we select a hotel on the map, it appears in the list on the right and is highlighted with a blue frame. Brief information about the hotel is also visible there. From the map you can go directly to the hotel page.
Let's choose now Samui Buri Beach Resort. It is closer to one of the capes, but also close to the beach. To find out more about the hotel, go to the page with its detailed description. There are a lot of photos, there is detailed information about the living conditions at the hotel, the services provided, room types, as well as detailed guest reviews about the hotel..
Let's open the hotel's page to study detailed information about it:
On the page of each hotel, they write a detailed list of the services provided:
We will also take a look at the reviews of the guests. Agode has over 3 million user reviews for hotels in total. As with Booking or Airbnb, reviews can only be submitted by a registered user who pays for their hotel stay through Agoda..
Hotel on the map:
If everything suits us, you can proceed to choosing a room and booking.
Payment for booking
There are three payment options for booking on Agoda:
- Without prepayment (some hotels require payment directly at the hotel), you still fill in the credit card details, but they are needed for the fact of booking;
- With a full prepayment and the possibility of its refund, the money is debited immediately, but if you cancel your reservation, they will be returned, while you must read the conditions of the hotel, in what time period it allows you to cancel the reservation;
- With prepayment and no return option;
We select a room in the table presented on the hotel page:
If everything suits us, we can book a room. For a start, it is better to read about the booking conditions, this is important.
IMPORTANT: The final price for a room can only be found at this stage, since the price without taxes is written in the search results. On this page we see what other fees are included in the total (17% added). Also here we see the total cost for all days.
Pay attention to the cancellation policy and the added 17%:
After all the checks, fill out the form and move on to the next step.
After making a reservation, you will receive a notification and a voucher for check-in from Agoda by email. On the voucher that Agoda issues after booking and debiting the money, it says that the stay has been booked and paid for, and it also contains all the hotel and client's details.
Agoda accepts credit cards of international payment systems (including those issued by Russian banks) and PayPal for payment. But in fact, more than once I paid on the card with a regular debit card.
If you have any additional questions about booking on Agoda, you can see the FAQ on their website..
I made this point separately, otherwise they ask. When paying by credit card on Agode, you will pay in the currency you have chosen in the service, and not in the local currency of the hotel, as is done in Booking. Therefore, in this case, it is not so relevant my selection of maps with good currency conversion. However, such a card still needs to be made, it will definitely come in handy for paying for other purchases abroad..
See screenshot below. I chose rubles and pay in rubles. I always wrote off rubles from the card, I have already booked many times. Moreover, if you choose baht for this Thai hotel (so that the Russian bank converts itself), there will be no benefit, there is a good rate at Agoda.