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Updated: 3 Nov 2021

Best and worst hotel booking websites

Which accommodation booking website should you use to book your next hotel, apartment or villa stay? Our survey of Which? members reveals all.
Which?Editorial team
Hotel booking 476600

There are now dozens of hotel, villa, holiday cottage and other accommodation booking websites to choose from, from Booking.com and Expedia to Airbnb and Vrbo (formerly HomeAway). 

All claim to have the best options and the best prices, but which one actually does and which one should you trust with your next reservation?

Our exclusive survey results reveal how the most popular accommodation booking sites compare for things like price and customer service, as well as how likely Which? members are to be satisfied with and recommend these websites. Some big-names haven't done their reputations any favours during the coronavirus crisis, so it pays to check our results before booking your next holiday.

The reviews on this page cover online travel agents that provide accommodation. 

If you're after a flight-only deal, see our best flight booking websites. Or check our reviews of best travel comparison websites to find the best prices on travel, accommodation and package holidays.

Accommodation booking sites rated

The table below reveals how seven of the most popular accommodation booking websites compare in areas such as customer service, website functionality and price. 

For more unbiased reviews and independent advice, find out more about Which? Travel.

Booking siteCustomer serviceFunctionality of siteTransparency of feesQuality of stayPricesCustomer score
Booking.com (871)
Airbnb (295)
Hotels.com (142)
Expedia (152)
Vrbo (95)
Owners Direct (35)-
Lastminute.com (36)

Accommodation booking site reviews

The table above reveals that Booking.com is the best website for booking accommodation but that none of the companies meet the requirement to be a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) this year. 

Booking.com: best accommodation booking site

The best-known and best according to customers. Booking.com was offering fully refundable stays long before Covid struck, and it’s upfront about what the total cost is going to be. 

While it only found the cheapest price in one of the five scenarios we checked, it was within £20 of the cheapest in the other four – so you can be confident you’re not being fleeced. 

The only slight annoyance are the constant prompts telling you how many rooms are left and how many people are looking at the same property – ignore.

Which? verdict:  Booking direct with the hotel is the only thing that can compete with Booking.com. 

Browse accommodation on booking.com.

Lastminute.com: worst accommodation booking site

For the second year running, Lastminute.com has the dubious distinction of being the worst booking site for flights and accommodation. 

Not only is its website clunky and frustrating to use, but it’s poor at its main job of finding competitive prices. It didn’t find the cheapest room rate for any of the five hotel scenarios we looked at including, ironically, the last-minute one. Assuming you ever get hold of anyone, its customer service leaves a lot to be desired. 

One unlucky holidaymaker described the service they had from Lastminute.com as the worst they have ever encountered.

Which? verdict: Given that it's also a terrible flight booking site, it's hard to imagine any scenario where booking with Lastminute.com would be a good idea. 

Hotel refunds and cancellations

Before booking any accommodation, it's important to know exactly what your rights are and what you're entitled to if things go wrong. 

If the accommodation provider cancels your booking – which might happen if the hotel unexpectedly has to close, for example – you're entitled to a full refund. But if the hotel is open and local travel restrictions prevent you from getting there, you aren't always entitled to your money back. For this reason, it's often a good idea to book a room that can be freely cancelled, or to book your accommodation as part of a flight-inclusive package, which gives you greater protection.

If you are due a refund, you'll need to contact the company that took payment for your booking. So, if you booked directly with the hotel, for example, it is responsible for refunding you directly. But if you booked the same hotel room on a third-party booking site, like Hotels.com, you'll need to claim your refund through them, which can make the refund process slower. 

How we research booking sites

Between July and August 2021, we asked 3,478 Which? members to tell us about their experiences of using accommodation booking sites in the past two years. We only reported on companies and star rating categories when we received at least 30 responses.

You can have your say on what we research and help us achieve change by joining Which? Connect.