When I recently started writing a budget travel column for Where.ca, I began exploring a whole lot of alternative travel booking websites. It’s a fascinating world for me, one that lures me into travel with affordable deals and enticing vacation packages.
But I never really navigated the whole hotel scene until recently, when I decided to give Easy to Book a shot. They’re a hotel comparison website which lists accommodations in the location you’re staying, and then relevant deals on that place. Then they asked me to review the site, and I’m all like, “Word to your mother.”
How to use the site
I’m pretty technologically impaired. Like, I can’t figure out how to change the batteries in my remote control most days, and sometimes I wear my shoes on the wrong feet. This, come to think of it, has nothing to do with technology.
Anyway, Easy to Book is completely straightforward when it comes to booking hotels. A monkey could figure it out, if that monkey’s name were Candice Walsh. The search is pretty efficient in the way that it will immediately take you to a list of all hotels in the area, and a drop-down list in the search box will give you a list of options for neighborhoods, etc.
All you have to do is click on the deal, and voila! Instant success. And when you’re booking a whole parade of people, Easy to Book even does personalized group bookings. The left-hand sidebar helps narrow down your hotel options based on everything from star class to guest scores.
How the prices stack up
On my mission to find cheap hotels around the world, I decided to try Halifax from May 10-11 as my first point of reference. I was guaranteed a room at the Westin Nova Scotian for a rate of $199.52. On the Westin website, the total was $199.53. I kid you not; it all came down to a single penny.
Other rooms compared by varying degrees (I managed to save $10 by “booking” Empire Landmark Hotel in downtown Vancouver for tomorrow evening). Easy to Book typically displays the percentage discounted, which can be up to 80%. If you sign up for the newsletter, you can better stay on top of deals to get the most out of the website.
Things I love
Once you’ve booked your room, you have immediate confirmation. No extra charges. Plus each hotel listed has a whole list of guest reviews from Trip Advisor, and you can even select which currency you want to use to see prices.
My hands-down favourite thing about the site, however, is the comparison tool. If you’re like me and often find yourself overwhelmed by choices (i.e. WHICH FLAVOUR OF ICE-CREAM?!), searching for hotels based on destinations makes life so much easier. SO much easier.
But to make matters even better, in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, there’s also a “Compare” tool. When you’re looking at different hotel deals, you can click the tiny “+” sign under the Compare column and it gets added to the tool.
When you’re ready to figure out where you’re staying, simply click on the tool and figure out which hotel works best for you.
And yes, ‘lo and behold, there were hotel listings for ST. JOHN’S! Incredible.
Other tidbits & conclusions
As a general rule of thumb, I always encourage travellers to check the official hotel/company website to see just how prices compare and if you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
In the case of Easy to Book, the biggest value is seriously the ease of booking. You’re not gonna be paying any extra to book through them, and they have a low-price guarantee.
It’s all about user experience. Makes sense, right? You compare amenities, deals, prices, and reviews, and you’ll walk away knowing there’s likely not an option you didn’t uncover. In other words, you’ll end being a happy customer. Unless you’re a jerk.