With so many travel and accommodation booking companies vying for attention and market share, it’s important to know whether a company is legit and safe to use.
That’s why we’re here to answer the question: Is Agoda legit and safe to use?
In general, yes, Agoda is a legit website and service that offers real bookings at hotels, resorts, and other accommodation types around the world.
But how does this company stack up with competing booking sites, and is it worth your time to book with Agoda?
Here’s an honest review of what you need to know about this travel booking platform so you can decide if it’s a legitimate option for you and your family.
What is Agoda? A Brief Overview
If you’ve just heard about Agoda, it’s worth taking a minute to understand what this travel booking platform is.
Agoda is a travel agency and accommodation booking website that operates in over 40 languages, allowing travelers to easily book their trips around the world.
They offer bookings for flights, activities, and cars, but the business model primarily focuses on hotel travel services.
The website promises customers the lowest prices available, access to more than 2.5 million properties worldwide, and the ability to earn rewards for booking through their site.
You can book hotels, resorts, apartments, villas, and even hostels through Agoda.
Agoda.com is owned by Booking Holdings Inc, a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ since 1999.
This group also owns other well-known sites such as booking.com, cheapflights.com, priceline.com, rentalcars.com, and kayak.com.
You can often find the same hotel room booking through Agoda as you would through one of its sister sites, so it’s worth checking different platforms to see which one has the best price.
You may also find a better deal by using direct bookings since working with a hotel directly can often save you money or offer travelers additional benefits.
Why Are Hotels on Agoda So Cheap?
While it may seem that Agoda’s prices are far lower than popular competitors such as Expedia, and Hotels.com, this is actually due to how they display prices.
The hotel price you first encounter is going to be a cheaper price overall because the website doesn’t include the fees or taxes until the visitor reaches the final booking page.
Some consider this to be misleading, but it is a common practice among many travel booking websites.
The Agoda Booking Process
Here is the process for booking a hotel through the Agoda Website:
- Search for the destination you’d like to book by entering your travel dates, destination, and preferred room type.
- Narrow down the results by filtering hotel rooms according to price, star rating, facilities available, user reviews, and more.
- Sort the search by your preference. If you’re looking for the cheapest hotel, filter your results from the lowest to highest price.
- When you find a hotel that you like, click on the link to open the hotel page. You’ll find a map, customer reviews, additional photos, and an overall rating of the property. This page will also share attractions that are nearby.
- Select “available rooms” and the options available on your selected dates will appear. Payment details such as “pay at the property” options as well as taxes and service fees are mentioned on this screen.
- At the bottom of the page, select “pay at hotel” or “pay now”. You’ll receive all payment and booking details and can enter any customized requests here.
- Once you confirm this page, you’ll be prompted to enter a credit card number which serves as a deposit, whether or not you’re paying now or later at the property.
- You’ll then receive a “thank you for booking with Agoda” notification, prompting you to check your email for any additional confirmation details as well as a receipt for your Agoda reservation.
You can always click the “My reservations” link found in the confirmation email sent to you upon booking. With this simple step, you will be able to access your booking information and status online at any time.
When Do I Get a Confirmation Email?
Every booking should be accompanied by a PDF voucher within 30 minutes of payment confirmation.
If several days have passed and you still haven’t received your ticket, be sure to check all of your emails, including your junk mail folder.
To make matters even easier, simply download or resend the booking voucher at any time online or contact Agoda directly.
Agoda’s Reputation and Reviews
On the Better Business Bureau website, Agoda doesn’t have accreditation, but there are over 300 reviews documenting the experience of current users.
Unfortunately, the overall rating for this online travel agency averages out to 1.02 stars out of 5. The highest rating on the BBB site is 4 stars, while a great majority of the ratings are 1-star reviews.
Trustpilot reviews average 2 stars, while Sitejabber features over 4,000 reviews and averages a 3.78-star rating.
In general, positive reviews highlight how easy, safe, and convenient it is to book hotels worldwide. They also cite that there are real savings to be had when filters are used well.
The biggest criticisms are that the customer service is terrible, both on the phone and on the website itself.
Also, people have had trouble with unexpected cancellations, overbookings at properties, and struggling to get their money back if a property is not available but a confirmation has already been sent.
Security and Safety Practices for Travelers
The website also offers travelers a “Reservation Guarantee”.
With Agoda, customers rest assured that their reservations are instantly confirmed and guaranteed – so you can be certain to stay in the room of your choosing.
But there may still be instances where a hotel refuses the booking or is unable to provide accommodation for whatever reason.
Agoda’s Cancellation Policy for Hotel Rooms
No matter what communication channel you use to submit your cancellation request, as long as it is done prior to the specified due date on your confirmation notice, a full refund of the cost of stay will be provided – unless otherwise indicated in the Cancellation Policy.
If you fail to arrive at the hotel, it will be interpreted as a late cancellation and result in a fee of no less than one night’s stay; additional fees may apply.
You can read further details about Agoda’s free cancellation policy here.
Does the Agoda Online Travel Agency Price Match?
Agoda has a “Best Price Guarantee”.
If you have made a hotel reservation through Agoda and find the same room on the same dates on another website for a lower rate, simply show them to get either an equivalent or higher discount via AgodaCash credited into your account.
You’ll need to submit a claim form and gather the following information:
- Booking Identification Number.
- The competitor’s website address
- The name and location of the hotel
- As many as 3 screenshots of a competitor site showcasing their room availability, type, and rate for your required dates.
To be eligible for our Best Price Guarantee, you must submit your claim form by 11:59 PM the day before check-in.
Pros of Agoda
1. There are Money-Saving Features
Agoda has continually had money-saving features to keep its customers satisfied and in the know of the best deals out there.
Over the years, these features have evolved and include AgodaCash, and AgodaVIP, as well as Promo Codes and special discounted rates.
All of these changes were made with the purpose of providing a better experience for customers all around the world.
And if you use their daily deals page, you’ll find spontaneous savings opportunities ranging from a set percentage off of your overall purchase to VIP upgrades.
2. The Platform is Relatively Easy to Use
Agoda’s website design is user-friendly, which makes it easy for travelers to find and book their hotel rooms in a few clicks.
The search engine provides results quickly, and you can filter by location, price range, guest rating, and more.
You can also check the hotel’s amenities ahead of time so that you know what to expect.
3. Agoda Has Been Around For A While
Founded in 2005 as an online travel agency, Agoda has emerged as one of the world’s most widely used travel booking platforms with over 35 million actual guest reviews that have been verified.
Boasting many years of successful operations, customers can count on this website to provide a legitimate means of booking their travels with confidence.
At Agoda, your personal and financial details are entirely secure as they use cutting-edge encryption technology.
Any data that Agoda collects is therefore safeguarded.
Furthermore, customer service is available 24/7 in case you need assistance with any queries or issues.
5. Payment Is Easy
You can use a credit card or your PayPal account and quickly, easily, and securely book hotels.
Sometimes your payment method isn’t even charged until you actually arrive for your stay.
This makes finding accommodation options even more flexible for shoppers who want to hop on a deal but may not have the funds upfront.
Cons of Agoda
1. Confirmation Emails May Be Delayed
A common complaint for users is that confirmation emails can be slow to arrive.
This can cause confusion and uneasiness, especially if you’re traveling abroad and need more certainty about your booking.
Furthermore, if a property owner reaches out or needs to alter the booking, there may be a delay, since the site doesn’t support direct bookings or communications.
2. You Have to Act Fast to Secure Good Deals
If you see a great deal and don’t make sure you get the hotel booked right away, it’s possible if not likely that the deal will disappear quickly.
This is because Agoda has a limited number of rooms for each hotel at a discounted rate.
So if you don’t act fast, someone else can snatch it before you do.
Other travelers recommend booking your room first thing in the morning to beat other customers who may be eyeing the same deal.
3. The Best Price Guarantee Is A Bit Complicated
Agoda has a Best Price Guarantee that promises to match any lower rate found on another website and give you more than just an equivalent discount through AgodaCash.
However, you have to submit a claim form with various pieces of evidence, including up to 3 screenshots of a competitor site showcasing their room availability, type, and rate for your required dates.
4. Tax and Service Fees Distort the Hotel Price
Agoda’s price estimates aren’t entirely clear when it comes to taxes and service fees.
When you book a hotel room, they are added on top of the original cost which can sometimes be several tens or even hundreds of dollars more than what was initially advertised.
This leads users to feel like they’ve been misled and may also waste time in the booking process.
5. Customer Service is Lacking
Agoda’s customer service is not highly regarded as it should be.
Many users have complained of long wait times and difficulty getting help on the phone or online.
In addition, many customers report that they have received generic responses from unhelpful staff with little to no resolution to their issues.
This leaves travelers feeling frustrated and even deceived by Agoda’s service.
They often opt for other online travel agencies with a better customer experience.
Agoda Vs. Other Hotel Booking Sites
With all factors considered, booking through Agoda is on par with other hotel booking sites. It offers competitive prices, a variety of accommodations, and payment options, and is backed by years of trustworthiness.
Agoda operates within the same policies and standard operating practices of other online travel agencies like Booking.com (which we recommend) that save money for their users.
Their main issues stem from their lack of ability to provide complete and real-time customer service between their property owners and purchasers.
It’s important to notify Agoda of any changes, needs or issues as soon as possible so that they can resolve your issue before it affects your travel or costs you additional money.
With that being said, Agoda isn’t a scam company and tens of millions of users have successfully booked their hotel stays through the platform for cheaper rates.
Positive experiences are common, just as they are for other major booking sites.
How to Have the Best Experience Booking Online With Agoda
Doing everything you can to secure a great deal and having the best customer experience with Agoda are both important.
Here are some tips for making sure your booking experience is smooth, secure, and efficient:
1. Check Reviews of Properties
Many reviews mention issues with room types, the check-in process, or even the staff.
Make sure to read the reviews and look at the photos of all the properties you’re considering so that you understand what to expect before committing to a booking.
2. Make Sure You Book a Property Near Local Attractions
There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a property only to realize that it’s miles away from the activities you want to enjoy, or even distant from transportation options.
Take time to figure out how close your accommodation will be to events before booking hotels.
3. Read and Double Check the Cancellation Policy
Agoda’s cancellation policy varies depending on the property, so make sure you’re crystal clear on what your options are in case you have to cancel or change your booking to make sure you’re not in a non-refundable situation.
Keep in mind that canceling as soon as possible gives you the best chance when it comes to avoiding any fees.
4. Look for Deals Early in the Morning
Since great deals go quickly on this site, make sure to check early in the morning to secure higher chances of finding a great rate.
Also, make sure to book right away when you find a good deal no matter what time of the day it is. Agoda offers can disappear quickly if there’s high demand for a hotel or location.
5. Contact Agoda ASAP if You Have any Issues
Since communications can be delayed or short responses may be received, contact them immediately if you have any issues with your booking.
This ensures that someone will get back to you before it’s too late and your booking is affected.
Feel free to reach out both on the phone and through the website to connect with a customer service agent as soon as possible.
The Bottom Line: Is Agoda Legit and Safe to Use?
So, is Agoda legit? Yes, Agoda is a legitimate company and there are no overt booking scams associated with them.
While the platform has its limitations, after reading reviews and guides that teach you how to navigate the site and app, you should have enough information to make an informed decision and book your hotel stay with confidence.