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FAQ
We explain our site and methodology in honest, straightforward terms. Here you’ll find the answers to the questions we frequently get asked.
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FAQ

General

What is your geographical reach?

We’re often asked if our site covers specific destinations or the whole world. In fact, it does both. Our Price Comparison covers the whole world, giving you access to a maximum number of hotels, availabilities, and great deals, offering 540,000 accommodation solutions that you can book in a few clicks. But that’s not all… In parallel, we’ve compiled a Guide that covers over 400 destinations worldwide, providing the added bonus of an expert’s opinion. For each destination in our guide, our authors select the best hotels for different categories (budget, luxury, hotels with pools etc.) and different types of traveller (business, backpackers, couples, families etc).

How does HotelHotel earn its money?

HotelHotel finds and compares offers from the biggest online travel agents in the world. Once you’ve found the right hotel for your trip, you just have to choose which booking site offers the best deal and we’ll redirect you to the agent’s reservation service. Then all that’s left is to do is complete your booking. That’s when the agent pays us an affiliate marketing commission , which is how we earn our daily bread. You’ll also see the occasional advert and google link on our site – that’s how we butter the bread.

Each agent has its own rates of commission, but we always display search results in the customer’s interest (the cheapest to the most expensive), not our own. In other words, and unlike what is commonly practiced on other price-comparison sites, we don’t try to orientate your choice according to what makes us the most money.

Why? Because we don’t treat our customers (that’s you) like they’re muttonheads or cash cows, and we believe that helping them is better than ripping them off. It may be a little naïve, but it’s an attitude that keeps us healthy and sane. In the long term, we believe that the quality and performance of our search engine will earn us a loyal following.

Why is HotelHotel called HotelHotel?

Because we find it rather catchy!

How is HotelHotel different from a booking site?

HotelHotel is not a Booking Site. HotelHotel brings together multiple booking sites in one place and compares their rates. You’ve probably already heard of or used general price-comparison sites such as PriceRunner and Kelkoo, but this is a search engine dedicated exclusively to accommodation, offering a wider choice (more than 400,000 hotels worldwide) and an economic model – affiliation – that allows us to feature all price categories, including budget accommodation.

Better still, we help you to navigate the sea of results by adding our own editorial content, including hotel selections that suggest the best types of accommodation for a given destination, hotel descriptions, and professional opinions. It’s a real Hotel Guide like the well-known and well-trusted paper versions, but on the web.

What do you mean by "being factual"?

To be factual is to base an opinion on facts and not impressions. We insist on finding out specifically what sets an establishment apart from the rest. For us, a hotel is never simply "ideally located ", because what is ideal for one customer isn’t necessarily the case for another. "Located in a lively, central neighbourhood, 100 metres from the station" is a factual description that will help you, the customer, to decide for yourself whether or not the hotel is ideal.

You claim to be transparent. How does that work in practice, and how can you prove it?

Being transparent is easy: we say what we do and we do what we say. Our objective is clear: we help you to find the hotel that suits you and to reserve it at the best possible price. We don’t try to orientate your choice with biased results for our own commercial interest, as is the case with many price-comparison sites. We don’t take credit for what doesn’t belong to us (we cite and qualify our sources). And last but not least, we don’t confuse advertising and editorial with advertorial.

While transparency is quite easy to explain, it’s more difficult to prove, but we’re a team of genuine people with strong opinions on the matter, so if you find anything that seems to contradict this manifesto, please let us know!

Why should I go through HotelHotel and not just reserve directly with the hotel?

This is a completely reasonable question. Going through an intermediary always creates some suspicion and you ask yourself if you’ll end up paying more and if you’ll get the right room etc. etc. So why go through a booking site instead of reserving directly with the hotel itself?

Our answer to this question is do as you think best: either visit the hotel’s own site (we add the link as soon as we know it) or go through one of our partners…

But in our humble experience, it’s the agents and booking sites that regularly offer the best rates – not least when we’re talking about the cheapest agent on the market, seen as we compare them. And that’s before you consider that the most flexible booking sites allow you to modify your reservation up until 24 hours before your arrival. Also, you get to stay in familiar territory, using a website in your own language with clear terms and conditions, whereas trying to reserve a hotel in a foreign country online or by the phone can be problematic.

Why do prices vary so much between the different booking sites and agents?

Because every agent negotiates directly with the individual hotels, who can decide to give preferential rates to certain booking sites if they so wish. Add to that the fact that the computer program managing the whole reservations system is fairly complex, plus there are several ways to structure a price, and there you have it: a substantial difference in rates between the various retail outlets.

What are booking sites and agents?

They are online retailers that specialize in the sale of hotel rooms. Booking sites and agents propose a selection of rooms for each hotel with which they have a contract and either take the payment on behalf of the hotel (Expedia, Hotels.com) or simply register the booking (Booking.com, Venere). The customer is guaranteed that the room has been reserved for them, and the hotel commits to receiving the guest in the conditions that were agreed upon at the moment the booking was confirmed. You can read more about the different booking sites and agents that we work with by looking at our list of partners

How can I change my reservation?

By going back to the booking site where you made your reservation. HotelHotel is not a retailer. We don’t take any reservations ourselves, we simply re-direct you to our partners, the agents and booking sites. So if you wish to modify your reservation, you’ll need to contact the one you used.

In which order are the different prices for a particular hotel displayed?

It’s simple: the rates offered by the different agents are displayed from the cheapest to the most expensive. It’s easier said than done, because not all agents structure their prices in the same way, and they don’t all have the same cancellation/modification policies, but we try to make everything as clear as possible for our customers.

In which order are the different hotels for a particular destination displayed?

There are several possible ways to display the search results: alphabetically, by distance from the centre, by price, by average customer ratings, by popularity or by the number of Facebook fans. It’s up to you to choose the one that suits you best. We’re also developing our own system to determine the order in which hotels are displayed, based on the average ratings given by past guests crossed with other relevant data such as availability and the amount of information we can find on the hotel.

You don’t agree with something we’ve said?

Is there something you don’t agree with? It happens… Firstly because our opinion is just that: an opinion, even if we do try to be as objective and factual as possible. But it might also be because certain information has not made it to us. Is there a major flaw that we haven’t mentioned, or do you think that a negative comment is unfounded? Has the hotel recently undergone a full refurbishment that’s radically changed its character? In all of these cases, please tell us so we can look into it and make any necessary corrections.

How does the HotelHotel Guide work?

Our mission at HotelHotel is to save you time. We search all over the web (reviews, booking sites, official sources) in order to put together a factual overview of the hotels that could potentially interest you. We collect, compare, sort and prioritise all the information we can get our hands on about a hotel. We do what you would probably do if you had the time and energy to trawl through websites and read everything for yourself. Better still, because this is our job, we qualify and corroborate our sources: we’d judge one isolated opinion on a site that doesn’t moderate its customers’ comments as relatively useless, if not suspicious, whereas we’d be much more likely to rely on numerous customer reviews that reiterate similar observations on a site that only authorizes past guests to leave comments.

On which kinds of sources is the hotel guide based?

We use the most relevant and reliable sources available to us on the web in order to judge a hotel, including customer feedback (left on both our partners’ sites and elsewhere), official websites, press releases, critical reviews and forums. On the subject of hotels, there’s definitely no lack of sources. On the other hand, it’s long and fastidious to work through them all, and it can be hard to distinguish between genuine comments left by level-headed guests that have actually stayed at the hotel and other contributions that can be exaggerated or entirely false. That’s where we come in – we identify what information is reliable then give a summary of the key points.

Webmaster Widget

What is a widget?

A widget is a tool that receives information from outside sources and displays it in a graphical environment that’s adapted to your website. It most commonly takes the form of a line of code that you simply copy and paste into your html page. Just so you know, the term “widget” is a contraction of the words “window” and “gadget” – but the HotelHotel widget is much more than a gadget, it’s a very useful tool that will save users of your site time and money.

How can information from HotelHotel appear on my site?

It’s actually very simple: on the HotelHotel widget set-up page , you enter the details of your event (address, date, number of days) and choose what size of map you want to appear on your site. This generates a code, which you just have to copy and insert into your page’s html code. Then if you want to share the page by email, on Facebook, on Twitter etc., you just need to copy the link.

Will I earn money from the widget?

No. Firstly because it’s quite complicated to identify which reservations came from your site, and secondly because it wouldn’t be worth it – our affiliate revenues (see How does HotelHotel earn its money? ) are never more than a few Euros per booking, so not exactly a lottery jackpot! Then again, if your name is Google or Yahoo, we’d definitely like to sit down with you and see what we can arrange!

Ratings

What is a "reliable" rating?

There are many sites on which it is possible to pretend you’re a customer and post a fake review. You can take a look at this article to get a better understanding of the extent of the problem. On HotelHotel, our ratings are calculated using only data obtained from our trusted partners, who only allow reviews to be posted by guests that have booked through their site and who’ve therefore actually stayed in the hotel. These ratings provide a more reliable gauge that avoids customers being tricked by fake reviews, be they excessively positive or negative.

Can I post a comment?

No. It’s not yet possible to post comments and reviews on HotelHotel.com, but we’re working on it!

HotelHotel Facebook Rankings

Why are Facebook rankings useful?

More and more hotels are present on Facebook. This ranking allows you to see which establishments have developed their online identity the most, even if the number of fans is by no means the only indicator of a hotel’s overall quality.

How are these rankings compiled?

With the help of a special algorithm, we search Facebook for hotels with an active page, official or unofficial, and compare the results with our database of 450,000 hotels across the world.

Who is covered by this ranking?

Our Facebook rankings are compiled for hotels throughout France (giving a Top 50 nationwide) and for 4 individual French cities (giving a Top 10 for each). Only establishments classed as hotels are entered, meaning that while the general brand name of a whole chain group will be excluded, their separate hotels will be included if they have their own Facebook page. So we don’t compare the Ibis group to the Campanile group, but we will compare the Ibis at Orly airport with the Campanile at Charles de Gaulle. Only establishments classed as “hotel” or “local business” are used. Guesthouses and holiday rentals are not counted in the Facebook rankings.

My hotel doesn’t appear in the Top 10/Top 50 but it has enough fans to be there – why is this?

This may happen for several reasons: either your Facebook page is not registered under the right category (i.e. you’re listed as a restaurant or a bar instead of a hotel…), or your hotel might be on the outskirts of a big city with different postcode to the catchment area… or maybe our algorithm missed you (it’s not very likely, but it’s possible). If this is the case, you can go to your hotel’s page on the HotelHotel site and suggest your fan page to us.

My hotel has a Facebook page, but you don’t seem to have identified it. How can I suggest it to you?

The easiest way is to go your hotel’s page on HotelHotel.com and use the form to suggest your Facebook fan page to us. If your hotel doesn’t have a page on HotelHotel.com, you can write to us using the contact form.

The wrong Facebook fan page is showing on my hotel’s page. What can I do about it?

Oops! We’ve obviously made a mistake… Please write to us using the contact form, telling us the name of your hotel, the address, and the right Facebook fan page.

How often are the rankings updated?

That depends which page you’re talking about. On your hotel’s own page, the number of fans is automatically updated in real time because we call on Facebook’s API, which replies immediately. The results tables are updated on a weekly basis. The HotelHotel Facebook Rankings are compiled and released monthly.

Définitions

HotelHotel Selections and Editorial Picks

The HotelHotel selections and editorial picks are texts written by professional authors and travel writers. Drawing on the author’s experience and multiple online sources, these articles offer an objective overview of the best hotels available in a given destination and for a given theme (budget, luxury, business etc.), highlighting the key characteristics, both positive and negative, of each establishment. For more information on our methods, see the page on "how we work."

B&B/Guesthouse

The idea of a “B&B” or “Guesthouse” can vary from country to country, depending on factors such as the climate and culture of a destination. Here is the definition of a B&B given by the British Tourism Authority, VisitBritain: B&B stands for ‘Bed and Breakfast’. In essence you get a room in someone's house, with breakfast included in the price. Small B&B’s may only have one guest room, so you’ll really feel like part of the family, where larger B&B’s may have four or five rooms and more facilities, and just as warm a welcome.

Full

When you do a price and availability search, the request is sent to our partner booking sites. If a booking site has no availability for the hotel on your given dates, the search result will display as Full. It may be the case that another reservation sites or the hotel itself still has vacancies, but if all of the agents respond as being “Full”, it’s likely that this is the case. If all but one agent responds as being full, don’t hang about because they probably have the last available rooms.

Hotel

A “Hotel” is an establishment that provides lodging on a short-term basis. It’s a generic term that applies to the vast majority of accommodation proposed by HotelHotel. The other categories of accommodation (aparthotel, B&B/guesthouse, holiday rentals) indicate a more specific set of services in relation to this standard definition:

  • A B&B or guesthouse is a small, homely establishment, typically run by the owners themselves, proposing a range of hospitality services similar to a hotel (breakfast, cleaning, bedding etc.). Guests can choose the length of their stay, from one to several nights.
  • Aparthotels or serviced apartments are furnished units each providing self-catering facilities. Typically there is no restaurant, room service or breakfast but guests are proposed a varying degree of hotel-style services such as daily cleaning and a receptionist.
  • Holiday rentals are independent residences hired in their entirety, and not collective apartment units like aparthotels. Customers rent a living space equipped with a kitchen, usually by the week or weekend.

Holiday Rentals

A “Holiday Rental” is a fully furnished independent residence (a house or an apartment) equipped with self-catering facilities. They are rented to leisure travellers, generally by the week or the weekend. Some are available to reserve by the night, but this is rare.

Average Rating

HotelHotel’s “Average Rating” is calculated by combining the ratings given by past guests with the number of reviews left on our partners’ booking sites, meaning that the average rating is counterbalanced by the amount of times it has been given. This score is a fair representation of an establishment’s perceived quality and value, but it remains a simple number – a generalised figure that, alone, has a limited capacity to justify itself and illustrate the individual pros and cons of the hotel in question.

Score Breakdown

The “Score Breakdown” (which is displayed for every hotel) shows the different criteria on which a hotel is evaluated to give the “Average Rating”: location, quality of the breakfast, room size etc. Scores for each category are obtained from of our partner sites, allowing customers to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a hotel. It can also be helpful to visit one or several of our partners’ sites in order to read the individual comments left by past guests.

Aparthotel

“Aparthotel” is a relatively new term used to describe serviced apartments located within a complex that uses a booking system similar to that of a hotel. Each independent unit provides a living/sleeping space plus kitchen facilities, so typically the complex doesn’t propose additional catering services such as a restaurant or breakfast. Aparthotels offer a varying degree of classic hotel-style services such as a manned reception, concierge, cleaning and laundry, but this very much depends on the grade of accommodation (with some high-end establishments offering facilities such as a gym or valet parking). It’s also worth remembering that serviced apartments are graded according to different criteria than hotels.

See

If a booking site was not able to respond to your search request, the term “See” followed by the name of the site will appear. It’s rare, but some searches fail to retrieve any information, and in this case we prefer to suggest that you check directly on the concerned site – maybe you’ll find an interesting offer, maybe you won’t.

Average Price Difference

The “Average Price Difference” refers to the lowest and highest rates offered by the different booking sites for the same hotel on the same dates. If a hotel is only available through one agent, this difference will be 0. If a hotel is available through two agents, with one proposing a room at €80 and another at €88, the difference is €8, or 10%. Based on 65,535 requests made between 15/11/2010 and 31/12/2010, we found an average price difference of 14%.