10 things you didn’t know about accommodation booking with


For years, I had been booking my accommodation strictly via hostel websites (directly via links I found on Google maps and via the portals hostelbookers, hostelworld, and Hostelling International’s own Then, I was approached by to write about their new campaign. Not wanting to advertise something I didn’t know I decided to test-drive the platform.

Click here to read my ultimate guise about staying in hostels (and why they are not just for backpackers anymore). 

I placed my first booking with them, 4 nights at the Ostello Portovenere in August 2015, and ever since I have used it for about 95% of my bookings in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Here are ten things that I have learned along the way and you might not have known about*:

Travel cheaper and better by booking accommodation via How it works. Why it works. Tips & tricks to make it work better for you and your host. #budgettravel #traveltips #backpacking1. All in one accommodation search engine offers everything from cheap-cheap-cheap hostels to small hotels to B’n’Bs to holiday rentals to exclusive 4-and-more-star hotels. That makes it easy to spot good deals regardless of which travel style you prefer and which budget you have available.

2. Easiest to use is one of the few providers that lets me actually see all necessary information at once, in the results list. If I search a place for 1 person for 5 nights I get the full price I have to pay displayed and can sort/filter by that full price. There is no need to check whether it’s actually the price for a double divided by two (hello, Hostelworld!) or the price per room but just for 1 night (hello, trivago!).

The overview also shows me cancellation conditions and included freebies such as breakfast or WiFi. After that, I can sort by different criteria (price, featured, distance to the city center,…), filter results (price, stars, user rating, part of town,…) and save favorites in different folders to easily find them again later.

3. Original reviews and rating

All reviews and ratings on the site have been left by people who booked the accommodation via the site. And because they are following up quite rigorously there is plenty of feedback, both positive and negative, which makes it a breeze to find the kind of accommodation I want.

4. Free city guides with offline map

Ok, this is not’s strong point as the suggested sights in the guides are so basic, any Google search would reveal them. However, there are tips by locals (solicited from platform users) and, if you use the app, detailed offline maps which allow for GPS localization.

5. Free cancellation, pay later

Many of even the lowest rates come with the option to cancel for free until up to one day before arrival and only very rarely have I had to pay anything upon booking. You do, however, need to provide credit card details to secure a booking, even if you plan to pay by other means.

6. Members only – sign up & save

If you think the rates aren’t low enough, uncover tons of discounts simply by signing up and logging in. That’s how most of the platforms do it and is no exception.

7. Download app power

In addition to being able to download your city guides, some additional discounts are offered only if you search via the app. Plus: you have all your bookings with you, can check details and manage them on the go.

8. Best Price Guarantee

Like most of the other providers, offers to match any lower price found elsewhere online for their accommodations. The catch is: the conditions have to be exactly the same (room category, dates, services) and member prices that other platforms offer don’t count.

What that means, however, is that accommodation can’t be offered for less on the accommodation’s website itself, hence preventing the hotelier from finding clients on and then drawing them to their own site to save on the fee.

9. Fees on the house

Speaking of which: when booking via any of the platforms you have to know that their service isn’t free. You just will never see the fee. The platforms usually take a percentage (+/-10%) directly from the property owners. So think twice before you contact them via the platform asking for an even lower rate.

10. Be a .genius

After booking with the platform five times (regardless of the accommodation type or category) I have unlocked even more discounts and benefits. The so-called “.genius” status knocks another 10% off the rate in some places and gives me freebies, early check-in or late check-out in others. Note that these .genius benefits are also born exclusively by the accommodation owners, not the platform.

So there you have it: 10 things I have learned about and that might just have made you curious to try it out for yourself…*


*While I am not paid in any way by for this review I am a member of their affiliate program and any booking you make on the site via links on this website earns me a small commission (at no extra cost to you). So it could be a win-win: you find their booking platform as excellent as I do, and I get paid because I helped you discover it. Thanks!

PS: This post was first published in March 2016 and updated in April 2018. 


  • jamespellow

    I have used booking,com quite a bit as a long term digital nomad. I agree with your review. The only real downside is that the credit card information is forwarded to the lodging. Like others have complained, this has resulted in my credit card being used twice in the last two years for unauthorized purchases. I only use this card for, so I know where it is coming from. My bank has always handled it, but a pain in the neck(and some expense) having to cancel your card and then coordinate having it mailed home and then forwarded to your overseas locale. I nicely informed about it both times, but no response. Besides that, I love them. If you are looking for better deals at the higher end, the membership at is well worth it.

  • Carla Richee

    I love the app and used it around France recently It’s so easy to use and then I can get directions straight to the place I’ve booked. My only complaint would be that a bathroom should have a bath in it otherwise its a shower room and that should be clear in the descriptions of the accommodation offered. But it’s otherwise just marvelous!

  • George Craig
    2019-02-19 emailed to say they agreed I had cancelled a booking; they still charged me and won’t refund, they say it’s up to the hotel. I’ll be seeking legal action as they hide in Amsterdam. So don’t book via them.

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