What booking sites aren't showing you

April 6, 2021

Millions of people around the world book flights and hotels online, using online travel sites like Expedia, Booking, Priceline and others. Many of us prefer booking on these sites (over 80% of US adults). They make it easy to research, price compare, and read reviews. And you can’t beat the convenience! They do a lot of stuff well. Let’s take a look at just a few things they do well.
Do they do anything right?

  1. Price
  2. Basic information about airlines and hotels
  3. Departure and Arrival times
  4. Other basics

What are booking sites leaving out?

Have you ever been surprised by a flight delay or cancellation? Maybe you’ve lost luggage, or accidentally flown on a dodgy and unsafe airline. Think about all of the hotels or places you’ve stayed at — some looked great in the photos and reviews, but the neighborhood might have felt unsafe or it was last renovated in the stone age.

And thinking back to some of our top worst travel experiences..there’s a lot that can go wrong with booking flights and hotels when there are hundreds of options to choose from. Things happen, things go wrong. And it can’t be Expedia’s job to police all of the airlines and hotels and make sure they are perfect.

Not only that, but these booking websites only have so much room and visual “real estate” to show more stuff. They can only fit so much information on the page, and in a way that makes sense. So, we don’t blame them for wanting to get visitors looking at only a couple pieces of information before quickly booking a flight or hotel.

If you make a mistake it could be costly financially, stressful or even ruin your trip.

Airline safety ratings and flight delays  

It’s a no-brainer to us. If you’re looking at flights, often times these travel websites show you the type of airplane, the cleaning practices during COVID, some of the amenities you can expect onboard. But every airline always says ‘safety is our top priority’. That doesn’t translate to the booking website!

There’s been a lot of people who have booked an airline, particularly in Africa, Asia, parts of Europe or Russia and been on a lower cost airline with a dodgy safety or maintenance record. Not every airline is rated the same. It only takes a quick internet search to find some of the worst ranked airlines.

Flight delays are important. Whether it’s a short haul leisure trip, long haul international or business trip - we all want to get where we’re going. Unfortunately, again, not every airline is the same or created equal. Some airline routes are frequently delayed or cancelled altogether. Some airlines have a lower on time performance record across the board. This is something we think should factor into your decision.

Have you ever been stuck at an airport over night due to a problem with the airline? Missed your connection because of a significant delay? Had a flight cancelled altogether? These things cannot always be avoided — things like bad weather, random mechanical issues and other problems cannot be predicted. But, there are patterns and there are some signals we can use to predict flight delays.

Peanut shows estimated flight delays

See predicted flight delays w/ free Peanut chrome extension

Let’s talk safety and quality of the hotels

We won’t get into the airbnb vs. hotel debate right now. Personally, we are fans of both — but it depends on what you’re looking for. So, let’s see — what goes into the decision to purchase a specific hotel? Typically, it’s in the right price range, you like the area it’s in, it might have specific amenities that are important to you like a pool, free wifi and breakfast. There are hundreds of different things we can think about to choose that are important to us.

But there are some universal truths we all benefit from. The first is safety of the area. And the second is quality.

Is every hotel neighborhood safe?

Of course not. It’s important to know where you’re staying and if there are any concerns. When doing research about hotels, especially for areas that we don’t know well and even more so internationally — we often overlook the safety aspect. It’s easy to focus on the restaurants  nearby, the things to do, the transportation and other things.

Hotel age or last renovation can be a signal quality

The age of a hotel and the last renovation is one of the highest signals for quality. If you have a hotel that was renovated last year vs. a decade or more ago, the difference can be staggering. It doesn’t matter how clean it is, if the age is extremely significant. Would you rather stay in a Hilton recently renovated vs. one last renovated in the early 2000s? We would choose the newest one, for sure. And you can definitely tell the difference. Of course, some hotels are meant to be old, and have a lot of character and use updated furniture and beds etc. But on the whole, we think this is good information to have at your fingertips.

Avoid mistakes like this w/ Peanut! No more old, outdated hotels

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. What else do you look at to make sure you have a great trip?

Send us your top insights and tips to booking a great flight or hotel.

We’d love to hear it and potentially include it in Peanut!

email feedback@trypeanut.com

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