11 Voted

Is Agoda legit?

What is it that you look for in the best hotel booking site? Maybe you want to be able to browse and compare prices of the greatest number of hotel listings to ensure that you can find the cheapest hotel room. Maybe you value a user-friendly and intuitive site and mobile app experience over everything else. Or perhaps your main concern is finding a hotel booking app that enables you to plan every aspect of your upcoming trip from one convenient website.

No matter what it is that you value most in a hotel booking site, one thing remains true … finding the best hotel booking site for you is crucial when it comes time to start putting your next vacation into motion. There are so many options from which to choose, figuring out which one will be the best match for you is not always as straightforward as it may seem. This is especially true when you take into account the fact that each of the best hotel booking sites tend to excel at something slightly different.

For instance, some hotel booking sites offer top-notch rewards programs and loyalty schemes to reward regular customers. Who doesn’t want to earn money towards their next trip? Unfortunately, the number of hotel booking sites that do offer decent customer loyalty programs is slim. So, if this is something that you really care about, you may have to do a bit more digging than you initially thought to find the best travel site for you.

Other hotel booking sites are great at helping you compare prices of more traditional hotel arrangements – you know, rooms at places like the Hilton, Sheridan Suites, Holiday Inn, etc. – but fall short of providing anything too unique or special. Other hotel booking sites, of course, specialize in helping users craft one-of-a-kind stays in exotic bungalows, centrally located apartments, or private villas. Assuming the 2 sites are equal in quality, features, and reputation, one isn’t necessarily better than the other; it just depends on what kind of trip you happen to be planning. If you are taking a trip to New York City with 5 of your closest friends, for instance, a Brooklyn apartment share or Airbnb will probably make a lot more sense (at least economically) than booking several rooms at an uptown hotel.

One of the most overlooked hotel booking sites, in my personal opinion, is Agoda. Don’t get me wrong, this travel site is still one of the most popular in the world (especially in Asia), but you don’t hear it discussed or referenced nearly as often as, say, Expedia, Hotwire, Orbitz, or Airbnb. Still, I can’t for the life of me figure out why this is. Agoda is every bit as reputable and reliable as any of those sites (if not more so than Airbnb), and it offers the best of both worlds in a way that few other hotel booking sites can’t come close to.

What I mean by this is that Agoda doesn’t make its customers choose between just browsing traditional hotels and unique home or resort stays. Agoda takes the best aspects of Airbnb’s home share model and combines it with what works well on more typical hotel booking sites like Hotwire or Orbitz. Why shouldn’t you be able to have all of your available options at your fingertips when booking your stay? Agoda doesn’t see any reason.

Hotels and home shares are not all that Agoda has to offer, though. Increasingly over the last few years, it has become expected for the best hotel booking sites to also make it possible to book flights, car rentals, and more all on one convenient platform. Although Agoda hasn’t always done this, the company was savvy enough to expand their horizons quite a bit. Today, Agoda lets you book private apartments, homes, hotel rooms, villas, resort packages, flights, airport transfers, and car rentals. Add to this a transparent and simple cancellation policy and a decent rewards program, and you have the makings of a promising candidate for the coveted “best hotel booking site” title.

So, is Agoda the right site for your upcoming trip? Well, that depends. If you are going to Asia or Europe, definitely. The number of listings for stays in the Americas, however, is relatively low compared to other hotel booking sites. Agoda is, after all, a Thai company. Don’t get me wrong, you will most definitely be able to find an adequate stay in the US for a decent enough price … but Agoda probably wouldn’t be the first hotel booking site that I visit for a US stay. If I were planning a trip to Hong Kong, however, I would definitely start with Agoda (in fact, I have, many times before).

Who owns Agoda?

Agoda was founded by Michael Kenny and Alex Rosenstein. Before they began work on Agoda, the pair started 2 other hotel booking sites (Planet Holiday and Precision Reservations). In 2003, though, it dawned on them – why not combine these 2 sites into a larger platform? So, that is exactly what they did when creating Agoda, and it launched in 2005.

Just 2 years later, Booking Holdings (formerly known as the Priceline Group) acquired Agoda. And in 2011, Agoda was one of the first online travel agencies to offer a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. For the next 6 years or so, Agoda coasted with incremental expansion, but nothing too big. When 2017 rolled around, though, Agoda decided to expand its offerings in order to appeal to a growing demographic of millennial travelers; this is when Agoda began offering nontraditional stays and home share options.

Everything was going swimmingly for Agoda … that is, of course, until the Covid 19 pandemic gutted the travel industry. Unfortunately, in May of 2020, Agoda was forced to lay of 1,500 people worldwide. Sad as it is, this has allowed Agoda to stay afloat and remain one of the best hotel booking sites on the web. All we can do is cross our fingers that worry-free, safe travel will return to its normal pace in the months to come. The light at the end of the tunnel finally seems visible.

What is Agoda?

The site design offered by Agoda is up there with the rest of the best hotel booking sites on the web. It is sleek, professional, modern, and easy to navigate. It can be, at times, a little slower or clunkier than some of its competitors, but, overall, I like it.

From the moment you land on the homepage, it will be immediately clear how to most efficiently use Agoda. An extra-large search engine will appear at the top of the page prompting you to enter your travel details. Simply type in your desired destination, dates, and number of guests, and, voila, begin browsing hundreds of hotels and apartment stays just like that! You will be able to quickly toggle, too, between hotels, private stays, and monthly stays.

If you are maybe a little more lenient about where you may want to travel (or you simply haven’t made up your mind yet), just scroll down below the search box to browse stays by popular destinations and view some one-of-a-kind, limited-time deals. Agoda also allows you to browse listings by property type, and it even recommends future stays based on what you have searched for and booked on the site, making for one of the most personalized hotel booking experiences on the web today.

Once you finally do conduct your search, you may find the search results pages to be a little cluttered. Perhaps I should just speak for myself – I found the search results pages to be a little cluttered for my liking. You shouldn’t have too much trouble browsing listings and applying filters, but I found that my eye didn’t quite know where to land. There are a lot of bright colors, tabs, and options crammed into a somewhat small amount of space. Eventually, I adjusted to the site, but I prefer hotel booking sites that provide listings in a more neatly organized manner.

Why is Agoda so cheap?

Perhaps the most intriguing feature that Agoda has to offer is its “secret deals.” Beyond being, at the baselevel, very good marketing (tell me the idea of a secret deal doesn’t get you at least a little excited to check Agoda out…), these secret deals truly are some of the cheapest hotel rooms that I have ever seen on a travel site. I don’t know exactly how they manage to get these limited-time discounts, but they are pretty jaw-dropping.

Secondly, as I mentioned earlier, Agoda has a decent rewards program in place for its customers as well. It’s a points-based program called Agoda PointsMax, and the premise is simple: every time you book a hotel, you earn points. Accrue points for as long as you wish and then cash them in for rewards like discounted stays and, depending on how many points you have, complimentary hotel bookings. Agoda’s rewards system is also partnered with some big companies, too, such as Asiana Airlines, AER Club, and AAdvantage.

Does Agoda have an App?

Agoda’s mobile app – available for both iOS and Android devices – is also beloved by hundreds of thousands of travelers around the world. Personally, I find the Agoda app to offer a much better user experience than its desktop site, which is why I typically rely solely on the Agoda app for booking cheap hotel rooms and house shares.

Don’t believe me? That’s fine, take the average user rating’s word for it then. Of the 33,000 ratings on the Apple App Store, Agoda has an average user rating of 4.8, making it one of the highest-rated hotel booking and travel apps on the market. Check it out for yourself, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

What I Like about Agoda

-Secret Prices = deep, deep discount stays

-Book hotels and apartment/home stays

-Great rewards program

-Some of the cheapest hotel bookings on the web

-Great mobile app

What I Dislike about Agoda

-Desktop site a little clunky and cluttered

-Price-comparison feature only includes partner sites

Pros
  • Secret Prices = deep, deep discount stays
  • Book hotels and apartment/homestays
  • Great rewards program
  • Some of the cheapest hotel bookings on the web
  • Great mobile app
Cons
  • Desktop site a little clunky and cluttered
  • The Price-comparison feature only includes partner sites