lastminute.com

lastminute.com

5 Voted

What is lastminute.com?

With so many different travel sites and apps out there for you to choose from, how are you supposed to be able to tell which ones are worth your time and which ones should be glossed over? It is true that some sites, especially when it comes to last minute travel sites, are much better than others. Some just offer a more user-friendly interface, better customer service, and, most importantly, better deals when it comes to last-minute hotel rooms, flights, vacation packages, rental cars, experiences, and dinner or activity reservations.

However, it’s not always so easy to detect whether a site is, just by looking at it for a second or 2, whether a given travel site excels in all of these areas. Well, okay, the user-friendly interface aspect can probably be discerned pretty quickly. But how are you to quickly ascertain whether a travel site is right for you, at least until it’s too late and you’ve gone through the process of booking your hotel room, flight, or vacation package.

That is precisely why I am here, a world expert traveler who has been around the world 2 times over and used just about every travel site that there is, to help you filter through the slush pile of travel sites in order to find nothing but the best of the best. Because your time is of the essence. Especially when it comes to last minute travel sites, you don’t have time to spare. When we’re met with the need to make sudden travel plans, every second counts. So, allow me to make your life a little easier by finding out ahead of time whether a site like lastminute.com is the best travel site for you.

Lastminute.com is one of the oldest travel sites on the web, making it an originator and an early innovator in the online travel metasearch engine space. Thus, as you might imagine, lastminute.com is easily one of the most popular and widely used travel sites for last minute bookings today. This travel site is trusted, revered, acclaimed, and respected. If you are ever in a position where you need to find tons of incredible deals on last minute flights, hotel rooms, vacation packages, experiences, or rental cars, you will be in good hands with what might be called the seminal last minute travel site, LastMinute.com.

But how does lastminute.com stack up against the competition? How does it fare in terms of offering plenty of convenient features, ways to search and browse travel accommodations, user-friendly site design, and thousands of great deals? Well, let’s dive in and take a look at what might be the last and only lastminute.com travel site you’ll ever need. 

Who owns lastminute.com?

Lastminute.com was founded by Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman in London; the year was 1998, back when last minute travel websites were virtually unheard of. In fact, when lastminute.com was founded, travel booking websites in general were a rarity. The majority of people in 1998 still patronized brick and mortar travel agencies, a thing that is now almost entirely of the past.

The company’s initial mission was to provide users with late holiday travel deals. And it was an overnight success. By the time the year 2000 rolled around, in just 2 short years, lastminute.com boasted over 500,000 regular monthly users. lastminute.com also greatly expanded its offerings by then, widening its scope to include travel bookings, gifts, and entertainment, specializing in selling distressed inventory on the cheap.

Prior to its expansion, the company raised $31 million from investors. This enabled lastminute.com to open new offices in Paris, Munich, and Stockholm. During the fiscal year 1999, lastminute.com reported that they had handled £37 million worth of transactions, generating £330,000 of net income.

lastminute.com joined the stock market as a publicly traded company in March of 2000. After a rather volatile few years of stock valuation, with the company’s stock price showing a steady downward trend, lastminute.com was acquired by Sabre Holdings in 2005, the parent company of Travelocity. This effectively saved lastminute.com from certain doom, turning things around significantly. Upon the acquisition, the company was valued at £577 million. Prior to 2005, lastminute.com shareholders had not made a cent in net profit.

With a new and seasoned team of executives (former heads of Sabre and Travelocity), lastminute.com began its steady and determined ascent to the top of the online travel space, narrowing in on its travel deals and gradually phasing out its selling of distressed merchandise. Today, lastminute.com stands tall as one of the most widely used flight and hotel booking sites in Europe, as well as a key player globally.

The site, however, is not without its fair share of criticism. I feel obliged to note the issues that people have taken with the site before we delve into the innerworkings of this giant travel site and everything that it has to offer. This way, if anything I am about to tell you is a dealbreaker, you can know before we get too deep into the woods, so to speak.

lastminute.com came under fire in 2009 for its affiliation with a brand known as High Street Max, a company that has been accused of duping customers with negative option selling. This basically means that customers were forced to manually opt out of additional charges and memberships by unticking boxes at checkout, resulting in many unauthorized or stealthy credit card charges. Although this is obviously not cool, to lastminute.com’s credit, they did cut ties with High Street Max once the unfavorable practice was publicized (it drew the attention of both BBC4’s You and Yours and the Daily Mail in 2008.

In more recent controversies, though, lastminute.com was ranked the 49th worst (of 53) travel sites when it comes to issuing refunds for cancelled flights. The company has also received a Net Promotor Score of -87. Only 4 other sites evaluated by this metric received a lower score than lastminute.com. So, although this site can be an excellent resource for finding insanely cheap last minute travel accommodations, do beware of these fine print misfortunes before deciding on whether this is the best travel site for you.

How does lastminute.com website look like?

One thing that lastminute.com does have going for it, however, is a clean, vibrant, and neat site design. It is rare to come across a travel site like this that offers so many features and travel deals that manages to pull off a sleek and minimalistic interface. lastminute.com’s design, however, is incredibly user-friendly and easy on the eyes.

An easy to navigate site menu bar spans the top of the site, resulting in a convenient and clear-cut means by which to access the site’s many features with just the click of a button. And the search results are extremely easy to browse, filter, and arrange in order to quickly home in on precisely the flight or hotel that you need, no matter how last minute the accommodation may be.

Is booking on lastminute.com safe?

Speaking of the site’s many features, this is another area in which lastminute.com excels. In fact, in my many years of travel, seldom have I come across a flight and hotel booking site with such a rich menu of offerings. First and foremost, of course, lastminute.com has millions of listings for affordable and spur of the moment lodging, airfare, car rentals, and travel packages (you’ll find an impressive list of hotel/flight combo deals here).

Additionally, though, hundreds of millions of travelers rely on lastminute.com for holiday vacation packages, villa rentals, theatre tickets, activity and sightseeing bookings, spa appointments, experiences, and gift cards. Few travel sites come anywhere near rivaling the sheer volume of booking options offered by lastminute.com.

Plus, if all that weren’t enough, lastminute.com also has a lifestyle and travel blog that is regularly updated and surprisingly useful. Here, explore birthday gift ideas, staycation guides, nightlife options and more. lastminute.com has everything you need to book your next trip – from booking your flight, reserving your hotel, to tips for what to do when you get there. It is a one-stop shop in the truest sense of the phrase.

Does lastminute.com have an App?

If you prefer to book your stays and flights on your phone, lastminute.com makes this simple, easy, and, well, downright enjoyable. With one of the highest-rated travel apps on the market, lastminute.com offers a smooth and intuitive interface and all of its trademark features so that you can book your last minute flight and hotel room no matter where in the world you happen to be.

Pros

-Great site and app design

-Price match guarantee

-One-stop shop for all your travel booking, sightseeing, and entertainment needs

Cons 

-Infamously terrible cancellation and refund policies

-History of shady affiliations

-Not the best choice for traveling outside of Europe

Pros
  • ‘Inspire Me’ and ‘Top Secret’ options make booking a bit more interesting and allow you to make great savings on accommodation
  • Clean and user-friendly interface
  • Choose between different types of accommodation
  • Price match guarantee
  • One-stop shop for all your travel booking, sightseeing, and entertainment needs
  • Great site and app design
Cons
  • No price comparison, meaning you will have to search around to take advantage of their price match guarantee
  • Not many filters under ‘Facilities’ category
  • Infamously terrible cancellation and refund policies
  • History of shady affiliations
  • Not the best choice for traveling outside of Europe