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Agoda Review

Friday, February 23rd

2024 Vacation Rental Site Reviews

Agoda Review 1 Star Rating


1 Star Rating
  • 3.6 million properties in 200+ countries and territories
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • Price Freeze feature
  • Up-front booking fees

Agoda, a travel-booking platform operating for 20 years, is part of the Booking Holdings family, which includes other brands like Kayak, RentalCars, and Priceline. While Agoda claims to provide deals to millions of travelers worldwide, its track record is far from stellar.

Legal actions

Agoda has faced legal action and criticism for listing illegal and unregistered hotels, engaging in alleged unfair competition, imposing hidden charges, and delivering poor customer service. The company has made efforts to rectify its practices, but the past transgressions raise red flags about its reliability. However, Agoda boasts an impressive selection of properties, with 3.6 million options available worldwide across 200+ countries and territories.

Best price guarantee and price freeze

Agoda provides a Best Price Guarantee for hotel room reservations. If a lower rate for the same room and dates is available and bookable on another website, Agoda will match that rate or credit the difference in AgodaCash to the customer's account. Agoda also offers a "Price Freeze" feature where customers can pay a small deposit to lock in a room price. If the price goes up, they pay the frozen price, but if the price goes down, they pay the new, lower price.

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Mostly up-front booking fees

Agoda does not list their range of booking fees anywhere, but for a 3-night listing in a Portland hotel, a 1.5%, 6%, and 3% fee were all labeled as "tax" without any explanation. These fees can add up quickly on purchases of hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, these separate fees still only added up to 10.5%, which is better than some other services we have reviewed. We appreciate that we did not have to search for the amount being added as tax as it was displayed on the checkout screen.

Too much stress

Agoda's website layout and functionality is comparable to reputable travel sites. Users can easily search for properties by entering their destination and dates, and apply filters for deals, discounts, property type, distance to the city center, and amenities. However, the use of flashing red buttons and labels on listings urging immediate action gives the website a scammy feel and creates unnecessary pressure on users. The level of stress we felt while trying to make a booking was akin to entering a casino.

Pressure tactics

Labels such as "JUST MISSED IT!" were even present on listings for a booking that was a year in advance. It would be better if the website simply did not show listings that are no longer available, instead of making users feel like they need to book right away and having to dig through unavailable listings for the ones that are available. Additionally, technical glitches such as non-functional buttons and disappearing sidebar elements were frustrating and inconvenient.

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Customer reviews: disillusionment and financial loss

Dissatisfied customers have voiced their frustrations with Agoda's service. One reviewer recounts a nightmarish experience where their hotel had no record of their booking, and Agoda's customer service failed to resolve the issue effectively. The reviewer did not receive a refund and lost $2,100 despite being promised one. In another instance, Agoda originally showed a vacation rental booking as refundable, but changed it to non-refundable during the booking process. When the customer tried to adjust the booking by one day, Agoda falsely claimed that the hotel would not allow it. The hotel confirmed they were happy to adjust the reservation but Agoda lied again and said the adjustment was unavailable. Instances of misleading information and unresponsive customer support highlight the service's shortcomings, leaving customers disillusioned with Agoda and out potentially thousands of dollars.

Inconsistent charging methods and potential disputes

In certain bookings, the platform shares customers' credit card information directly with hotels or properties. This means that the property will charge you directly, rather than through Agoda. In other cases, you will be charged by Agoda. You can determine which option applies to your booking on the checkout page. This could lead to inconsistent experiences between bookings, especially if there are any charge disputes that you need to resolve. Remember that customer review where the hotel said they had never received a booking from Agoda, but Agoda still took the customer's money?

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Convoluted return policies

Agoda's refund and cancellation policies vary depending on the type of booking. For vacation rentals, customers may face penalty charges if they shorten their stay during the high season or fail to cancel before the specified due date. Refunds for cancellations made before the due date are usually processed within 10 days, while refunds for late cancellations or changes in reservations may take longer and incur penalty charges. Agoda's return policy seems convoluted and potentially inconvenient for customers, especially if they encounter unforeseen circumstances or need to modify their plans.

Better Business Bureau: alarming "F" rating

Agoda's reputation takes a significant blow with its "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. This rating, the lowest possible, raises serious concerns about the company's business practices, customer satisfaction, and ethical conduct.

Seek more reliable alternatives

Agoda's vast property selection and user-friendly website may initially seem appealing, but deeper examination reveals a multitude of issues. From legal controversies and poor customer service to misleading pricing tactics and unclear return policies, Agoda fails to inspire confidence. We caution potential customers and advise you to explore alternative travel-booking platforms that offer more reliable service and prioritize customer satisfaction.

What's the Best Website to Use for Booking a Vacation Rental?

Are you tired of the same old hotel experience when you go on vacation? Do you crave something more unique and personalized, where you can truly feel at home even when you're away? If so, then vacation rentals might just be the perfect solution for you.

If you've ever stayed in a vacation rental property, you already know their charm and allure. Unlike traditional hotels, vacation rentals offer a level of comfort, privacy, and flexibility that is hard to match. These properties are often privately-owned homes or apartments that are rented out to travelers on a short-term basis.

The Best Vacation Rental Sites Compare Vacation Rental Sites Compare Vacation Rental Site Reviews What are the best Vacation Rental Sites Best Vacation Rental Site Reviews

Vacation Rental Site FAQ

A vacation rental property is a fully-furnished apartment, condo, house (or even a castle, boat or RV!) that you can book for your next trip instead of a traditional motel/hotel. Many vacation rentals are privately owned, and the owners take pleasure in showing you everything they love about their hometown. It's a great way to get the inside scoop on your destination, from restaurants to activities.
A vacation rental is like having a home away from home. You'll have more room to stretch out, play games, eat and cook (if you want!), and maybe even throw in a load of laundry while you go explore your destination. If you're traveling with a large party - your kids, friends, extended family - a vacation rental will almost always provide the most value if you're staying for more than a night or two.
There are many well-known listing sites that let you browse by destination, number of guests, and desired amenities. Some vacation rental properties are more off the beaten path and not listed with the larger services; you can find those by searching for rentals in the area where you plan to travel.
Just about! (Maybe not in Antarctica though.) You'll have an easier time finding vacation rentals in popular tourist towns and their suburbs, but you may still discover something over the river and through the woods near Grandma's house too.
Most vacation rentals are fully furnished, with all of the linens you need for the bathrooms and bedrooms, kitchen equipment for cooking and eating meals, and often a washer and dryer. Depending on where you're traveling, you could get access to parking spots, a community pool, Wifi and more. Some really attentive property owners stock the bathrooms with spa-quality shampoo and conditioner, offer beach chairs and boogie boards for your use, and so on. You can almost always find a thorough description in the listing of what the rental has to offer.
Read the details to see what your vacation rental has. If it's not listed, it might not be there (e.g. Wifi, coffee maker, etc.). You can usually contact the owner before booking if there's something obviously missing. Also, most vacation rentals do not offer daily maid service; the cleaning is done after you leave, to prepare for the next guests.
Policies vary by owner and by listing service. Most have a required deposit that may or may not be refundable, depending on when you cancel: it's hard for rental properties to book last-minute guests. A travel insurance policy might be a smart add-on, whether you use a vacation rental property or not.
That's not common, but it does happen. It's a good idea to read through reviews from previous guests of the rental properties that interest you: that's usually the first indicator of whether or not a rental is going to be amazing or awful. But, if you book a rental and have problems - you arrive and can't get in according to the instructions you were given, the property is significantly different from what was described, you don't have running water or heat/AC - the listing service might have a toll-free number you can call to get help if you can't reach the property owner/manager.
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Vacation home rentals come fully furnished and equipped with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, from kitchen cupboards full of cookware, to cozy living areas and comfortable bedrooms. It's like having a home away from home, complete with personal touches that reflect the unique style and taste of the owner.

One of the best things about vacation rentals is the sheer variety of options available. Whether you're planning a family reunion, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, you can find a vacation rental that fits your needs perfectly. Want to relax by the beach? There are countless beachfront properties waiting for you. Prefer a secluded cabin in the woods? You'll find plenty of those too. From urban lofts to countryside villas, there's something for everyone.

Unlike traditional hotels that are typically owned by large hotel chains or corporations, vacation rentals are often owned by individuals who use them as second homes or investment properties. These owners may be local residents or people from different parts of the world. Some vacation rentals are also owned by small property management companies or vacation rental agencies that handle the day-to-day operations on behalf of the owners. These agencies may handle tasks such as marketing, guest communication, and property maintenance.

How do you go about choosing the right vacation rental? That's where vacation rental websites come in. These platforms connect travelers with property owners, making it easy to browse and book the perfect vacation rental for your needs. Not all vacation rental websites are created equal, though. It doesn't matter how many properties they have if they don't offer good customer service or aren't responsive when you need assistance.

Here are some things to keep in mind when making your choice:

  • Reputation. You want to use a website that has a solid track record and positive reviews from previous users. Look for platforms that have been around for a while and have established themselves as trustworthy and reliable. Has the platform been rated by the Better Business Bureau?
  • Selection. The more properties a website has, the greater your chances of finding the perfect vacation rental. Top rental websites have extensive listings across various destinations, ensuring you have plenty of options to choose from, while others may be limited to one country. If you're looking for something special or traveling to a popular destination during a busy time, like a holiday or summer break, you'll have better luck finding a place to stay if the company has a large selection.
  • Pricing and fees. Some websites advertise a lower per-night cost on the search page than what you'll actually end up paying after cleaning and amenity fees. It's also a good idea to check if the vacation rental you're interested in is listed on multiple websites, as there may be price differences that could help you save some cash. Look for websites that offer transparent pricing and don't surprise you with hidden costs.
  • Cancellation policy. Life is unpredictable, and sometimes plans change unexpectedly. A flexible cancellation policy can provide peace of mind in case you need to modify or cancel your reservation. Make sure to read and understand the terms and conditions regarding cancellations, refunds, and any applicable fees. Does the property owner determine the terms of the cancellation period, or does the website have a blanket policy?

Ready for a vacay? To make it a breeze to find the perfect stay, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked the best vacation rental websites currently on the market. We hope this information helps you find the perfect home-away-from home accommodations for your next trip, no matter where you want to go.

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