Travel booking websites can prove very useful indeed when booking a holiday. But with so many to choose from and service varying, it’s hard to know which to utilise. Which? has made that easy for you – the consumer champion has revealed the best and worst travel booking websites.
Which? surveyed nearly 5,000 members over the summer about their experiences with various travel booking sites, broken down into flight booking sites, accommodation booking sites, and travel comparison sites.
Many problems were highlighted in the research, with respondents rating sites on a variety of criteria.
These included the functionality of the site, prices, and transparency of fees.
Interestingly, many sites earned an overall lower score than they did last year, no doubt due to the chaos caused the coronavirus pandemic.
Best flight comparison site
Netflights was identified as the best flight comparison site out of the seven examined.
It received the highest customer score in the category – although this was still only 65 per cent.
It was the only flight booking site to score four stars for prices, and fewer than one in 10 customers reported a problem with the website.
The site only scored three stars for customer service, however.
When refunds were requested, Netflights said they would ‘normally’ take 45 days to process – considerably longer than the seven-day window within which refunds should legally be processed by airlines for cancelled flights – and that the pandemic was making wait times even longer.
Expedia came in second place followed by ebookers in third place.
Opodo came at the bottom of the table for the second year running.
It scored 41 per cent and only got two stars for customer service.
According to Which? the consumer site recently recommended passengers avoid booking with Opodo after it left the ATOL scheme.
Opodo refuted the findings. An Opodo spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “While each and every one of our customers is important to us and we strive for 100% customer satisfaction, the number of responses to the Which? survey from Opodo customers (93) is very limited. This small sample size is not reflective of the 17 million customers that we have worldwide.
“Our priority this year has been to manage all the cancellations produced as a result of COVID, and we have already refunded over one million tickets and 100 percent of package holidays. However, airlines continue to withhold refunds that belong to consumers. Carriers are responsible for authorising refund requests and actioning the transfer of funds.
“We are unable to provide our customers with refunds until this step is completed by airlines, and their delays are contributing significantly to the amount of time our customers are having to wait. We appreciate the current travel environment is frustrating for our customers; our teams across the business are working hard to alleviate this as much as possible.”
Accommodation booking sites
Airbnb, with a customer score of 75 per cent, came out tops for accommodation booking. It was the only booking site to impress customers and the consumer champion enough to receive Which? Recommended Provider status.
Despite the huge number of cancellations Airbnb dealt with during the UK’s lockdown, it was still given five stars for customer service, and customers also gave it five stars for its prices.
Its free cancellation filter and transparent and upfront refund policies – set by property owners – also impressed Which? with flexible rebooking and refund options proving invaluable for many in recent months.
Airbnb was followed by Booking.com and Homeaway.
Lastminute.com propped up the bottom of the table in this category for the third year running, scoring just 55 per cent and only mustering three stars across every category.