Originally created by Microsoft, Expedia is one of the biggest and most successful online travel sites in the world. Being based in North America means it’s one of, it not the strongest in this market when it comes to hotel accommodation. These days Expedia is owned by Expedia Group, which also includes sites such as Travelocity and Orbitz – in fact you will find that these are almost the same site, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
|The first and most important thing to note about Orbitz is that it’s owned by Expedia. In fact, is basically is Expedia. In case you haven’t noticed the two company’s website are almost (but not quite identical). While originally started as a company to compete against Expedia, it was ironically purchased by them in 2015. As Expedia did with most of the other sites it purchased, Orbitz slowly became more and more similar to it’s parent, until what we are left with today is basically Expedia in a different skin, and slightly more aimed at the North American market.|
|Expedia's hotel reservation system is a mature product with considerable options. They offer both prepaid and pay-at-hotel options depending on the hotel with their pay-at-hotel offering currently being marketed as “Reserve now, pay later”. Besides hotels and resorts, they claim to offer access to more than 1 million apartments and alternatives accommodations. With the current COVID-19 situation, they also offer information on cleaning practices at the property. As with most of the major travel sites they offer a large range of rooms with free cancellation, as well as some which are fully-refundable. They also have a map where you can see the nearby attractions in the city, although the map itself is fairly basic. Expedia offers quite a lot of information about extra charges that other sites often don’t, including valet parking fees, Wi-Fi fees, pet fees, parking fees and even the deposit you must leave when checking in. Generally speaking, Expedia has fairly high quality hotel reviews and allows you to filter by type of traveler. Unfortunately though they don’t let you filter by room type which some of the competitors offer. You also can’t sort by the worst reviews first which a lot of people want to read. For those with accessibility issues, Expedia offers quite a lot of information like whether each of the public facilities are wheelchair friendly – this information is lacking from almost all competitor sites. When searching, the top search results are usually marked with an “Ad” label and might not necessarily be relevant to your search results so it’s important to keep this in mind. One great feature of Expedia is that is on the search page every image is an image carousel allowing you to compare hotels better without having to click through to every one. One of the best things about booking on Expedia is that each room only shows one price, and then users can add things like breakfast, free cancellation, or change to a “pay-later” type booking by adding extra money. Overall this makes for a much more pleasant booking experience than other sites which often list 5 -10 prices for the same room, each with slightly different options. Generally speaking we find Expedia’s approach to fees relatively transparent, for example cancellation policies and penalties are prominent, and also feature on the checkout page right before you make the booking as a final reminder. Searching on Expedia is a very smooth experience. Besides searching by city, you can also search by country, state/province, airport, train station, attraction, area, or even metro station. The search results are also delivered fast, unlike some other sites.||For a full list of features we recommend you take a look at our article on Expedia as the functionality between the two different websites is almost the same. One thing that is different however is their loyalty program. Orbitz has one of the better loyalty programs in the industry, rewarding you with 3% of your booking price in the form of their virtual currency. Book with their mobile app to get an even bigger 4%. In addition to that you start off as a Silver member, but booking just 4 nights in a year will get you Gold membership where you can unlock perks like free breakfast and Wi-fi as hotels. Booking 12 or more nights within a year and you’ll be upgraded to Platinum which allows you to reimburse up to $50 for things like seat upgrades on flights, you get TSA Pre thrown in, as well as further potential hotel upgrades like room upgrades and early check-in.|
|Pricing & Fees||Pricing & Fees|
|From a random sample test, we found that Expedia's pricing wasn't particularly impressive. Having said that, the pricing is still relatively in line with other players, in fact Expedia actually had the cheapest prices on a few hotels. In addition you need to remember that Expedia's home market is North America, so it stands to reason that they should be one of the first sites to check out if you're travelling in the United States or Canada.||Like other Expedia Group companies, there are no booking fees charge for hotels. And also, unlike their flight offering which often charges a payment fee depending on your payment type, there’s no payment fees when it comes to hotels. The pricing, generally speaking, is exactly in line with Expedia. While you might find some special deals from time-to-time that are Orbitz-only, the vast majority of pricing is exactly the same, right down to the last cent. The pricing is generally speaking quite good across the board, although it’s generally possible to find a cheaper price on other sites if you look hard enough, however you always know that Orbitz will still be around tomorrow, unlike some of the brands where you can save a few dollars.|
|Expedia without a doubt has the best availability for hotels in North America. From our own tests though we found that they are not always as good in Europe and Asian markets, so it's going to depend on what exactly you are looking for.||As with Expedia, availability on Orbitz is excellent, generally speaking. You’ll find the exact same hotels are available shared across all the Expedia Group platforms, which allows them to have good coverage in most corners of the globe. Naturally, their coverage is best in their home market, but is generally still very good elsewhere as well.|
|Expedia is available on desktop and mobile browser, as well as a mobile app on both Android and iOS. In addition, Expedia is available almost worldwide, which means they support over 35 languages.||You can book hotels through Orbitz’ website, mobile website, or mobile app (both iOS and Android available). In terms of language options, Orbitz is very basic, only supporting English and Spanish, a clear nod towards it’s target market of North America.|
|Payment Methods||Payment Methods|
Expedia don't charge any extra booking fees or credit card fees, which is in line with most of the other major players. As they offer both prepaid and pay-at-hotel booking options, it might be worth taking this info consideration when you're booking. In terms of payment method, they accept all the major credit cards including American Express, Visa and Mastercard. In addition to that they accept Paypal. They don't however accept Google Pay or Apple pay.
In terms of Credit and Debit cards, Orbitz offers a wide variety of options. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, Diners, Discover and JCB are all accepted on their platform. In addition to that you can also pay via PayPal as well as Click-to-Pay. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that their app or website offers any other 3rd party options like Apple Pay or Google Pay.
|As one of the earliest players in the online travel industry, Expedia has a well-established reputation. While their booking experience is generally considered quite good, they are not particularly well regarded for customer service. In particular, they are known for very long waiting times on the phone. Their mobile apps rate reasonably in the respective app stores, however the scores aren't as good as some of the leading players.||Orbitz is a long-standing company owned by one of the biggest travel companies in the world. This alone is worth something in an industry where new companies seem to pop up and disappear overnight. As with Expedia, their customer service has a reputation for being a bit hit-or-miss, but in most cases it’s unlikely you’ll have a to use them anyway, especially if you’re booking hotels with free cancellation.|
|Customer Service||Customer Service|
|Expedia provides a number of toll-free phone numbers which can be called from varies countries around the world. They also offer a chatbot which can complete a number of simple actions like checking or cancelling your booking without having to talk to a real person. Although they might not be known for answering the phone quickly, unlike some competitors they don’t charge extra any money for service, which means that when a hotel offers free cancellation, even if you speak to a customer service representative it won’t cost you a cent. For the record, you don’t need to speak to anyone to cancel a booking, this can be done directly through the website.||As with other Expedia Group companies, Orbitz can be difficult to contact. While they do have a contact information on their website, they deliberately make you work to find it in order to reduce their call centre volume. If you search hard enough though you can indeed find a phone number you can call. Before that stage though you’re probably going to be directed to their chatbot. Fortunately, the chatbot is more than capable of taking care of regular tasks such as cancelling and changing your booking, so if you don’t require talking to a human this is a quick and efficient option.|
|Expedia is always a site worth checking. While they are not known for their customer service, they have excellent available, paricularly in North America, and offer solid prices. In addition, they're been around for more than 20 years, so you can trust that they'll still be tomorrow.||Generally speaking, unless they have a special deal at the time you’re going to book, booking with Orbitz doesn’t make a huge amount of sense and we’d probably stick to their parent. They do have a relatively good amount of “cashback” through their loyalty program when booking hotels online, so if you’re travelling frequently for work or leisure it’s a good way to eventually earn some free nights.|