We almost exclusively use booking.com (95%) Since we live in Italy, we have done more traveling here in the last 18 months than the average person. If I’m not finding what I’m looking for in terms of location, price, availability and dates, I look elsewhere (Expedia, city lodging websites, Bed and Breakfast Italy app, or direct with hotel.)
Since Oct 2018, we stayed at 36 booking.com properties and currently have another 26 reserved. (Excludes the dozen or so cancellations.)
Here’s why I prefer booking.com:
1. Pictures are accurate. If there aren’t enough to get full idea, I skip (Expedia pictures are kind of cloudy, making it look like they are hiding something. Have only booked 1 hotel on Expedia
2. We always book free cancellation unless we are within a few days to a week, then if non refundable is cheaper, might book that.
3. Easy to modify reservation with new dates, and/or room type. Booking let’s you know if you are double booking and give you option of canceling the previous reservation.
4. Never had a problem with a cancelled room not getting cancelled
5. All reservations in one spot.
6. Easy to communicate with property in the message app. Since we have our dog, I always message to confirm they allow pets, and if there is a charge
7. Filters - you can add multiple filters to tighten up your search (pet friendly, price, review rating, etc.)
8. Use the map to look at properties in a specific location. Just found an apartment in Split this way.
9. Reviews are by actual guests. If you start seeing the same complaint that is objectionable, move on.
10. You can save a property to a list for a specific town. So as you are finding possibilities, you can later go back look again, then select. Yesterday I had a dozen favorites for Budapest and decided on the best price with good location (based on Rick Steves advice), balcony. AC, and washing machine.
11. If a property is booked, the app gives you suggestions for available dates.
12. Immediate info on availability. No waiting for email response from a property (that may or may not be responded to)
13. Booking price is inclusive for your stay including taxes, cleaning, etc. Might be misleading to compare to another site like Expedia. Booking might say apartment is €340 for 3 night stay. Expedia might advertise same for €90 a night, but in the fine print or final reservation you find out there is a €10/night tax and €40 per stay cleaning fee. So the same as booking.
14. Only on a couple instances were we asked for a deposit, and able to negotiate out if it, explain GLNG that we are 60ish and would treat apartment like our home.
15. Last, I like the fact that apartments listed are vacation rental businesses, not someone’s home that they are renting out. I’ve never booked on AirBnB.
16. In our 60+ reservations (stayed, cancelled, or booked) have never had one issue with communication, entry into apartment, bait and switch, cleanliness etc, etc.), charged wrong amount, or double charged. One apartment had a water leak in the bathroom and musty smell, and we were moved to an alternative larger apartment on the same floor first thing in the morning.