- Travel Topics
As you can imagine, Vicky and I spend an inordinate amount of time online booking flights, hotels, hostels, you name it! It’s important to have reliable, user-friendly websites we can turn to. Moreover, having just one doesn’t suffice, as you soon begin to notice that selection varies widely, as does price (even for the same place, on a different website). Like a hammer to a carpenter, these are after all, our tools.
When we were approached by EasyToBook.com to review their website, Vicky and I happily agreed. At the moment, we haven’t come across any perfect booking websites, so as far as we’re concerned there is definitely room in the market for more contenders. We judged the website on a range of metrics, such as:
Here is how EasyToBook performed.
Usability is essentially the ease at which I can navigate the website. The less I have to do, the better. Less boxes, less checking, in an ideal world, the website would simply read my mind and show me the results, but in 2012, we’re not there yet. So, how easy-to-book was EasyToBook?
It’s really the little things that make the difference for me. Does the location auto populate after I type in a few letters (oh so important for those difficult to spell Asian cities)? Does the to date auto adjust after I type in the from date? Did it automatically detect that we were in China (so CNY prices) but English speakers?
In all cases the answer to these questions is YES.
So a very nice touch from the start – hats off to the developer. My only gripe is that in subsequent searches I had to retype the date. Maybe this sounds silly, as really NO other site I’ve come across does this, but for whatever reason, when I do multiple searches I always have to retype the date (as if I’m planning an entirely different trip, but I’m not). Alas, I suppose we’re not there yet – or I’m just alone on this.
Moving on, once I get to the results I have to decipher them. Sometimes you have hundreds of results you want to filter through. I don’t need too many options, just a few to weed out the definite “nos”. In my opinion, EasyToBook covered the basics as well as a few perks. The filter features were:
But what about actually booking a hotel?
Again, I was pretty satisfied to see that there was a book it option integrated directly into the search results, in the off chance that I didn’t need to dive deep into the hotel room before booking, especially given how much can be found out simply through sorting and filtering.
Overall, EasyToBook lived up to it’s name.
Selection can really differentiate booking websites. It’s difficult to really know for sure how good the selection is for any given website. In many cases it depends. Some websites excel in certain geographic areas, or with particular accomodation types (hostels, hotels, BnBs for example).
I was a tad disappointed here when I did some searches on EasyToBook.com for recent Chinese cities we’d visited, only to find that they had nothing in Zhangjiajie, for example. Now, to be fair, these are relatively remote cities – not for your average tourist. Moreover, they don’t have a slew of hotels, if any, mostly hostels, so I understand that it shouldn’t produce 100 results, especially on a booking site that is primarily for hotels as I understand. That said, it is certainly something to be wary of.
In the interest of being a bit more comprehensive though, I decided to give them another chance by searching a little city in France you might know, called Paris.
Alright, so it’s plenty populated – you just might struggle a bit if you’re looking for some off the beaten path places.
Last but not least is information. What I want is comprehensive, but not overwhelming. Organized, and not scattered. Does it seem like I’m being difficult here? Maybe.
I have to say, I’ve looked at a lot of these types of websites and EasyToBook ranks very high for me in terms of the information they display. First of all they are integrated with Tripadvisor for reviews. I love that. Why is it each booking site has it’s own review system, when Tripadvisor is already so widely recognized/accepted.
Moreover, they do an exceptional job showing important information on the results page so that I don’t have to click into the individual hotel pages to find out, for example, that the bed rooms are ugly. However, if I do want to examine a hotel more closely, it has all the important stuff wrapped up into a nice, easy-to-read table. Thanks!
Overall I have no hesitations with recommending EasyToBook as a possible tool to finding accommodations abroad. It’s a stress free experience with exceptional functionality and a comprehensive review system based on Tripadvisor. Like in many cases, you may find that you have to try multiple websites to see the full smorghesboard of selections, but that’s life.