I noticed that Agoda.com often offers significant cheaper prices than booking.com when comparing prices (looking at the same hotel, same room type, same dates...).

I wonder why that is considering both are part of the same company (“Booking Holdings”).

Just to clarify, I’m comparing the total prices with tax and other costs included.

  • 8
    booking.com default view shows prices per stay, agoda.com shows prices per night. Commented May 16, 2019 at 11:18
  • 10
    By default, Agoda is showing fake promo prices (they call them "base price"). They have an option in the currency menu to show a "full price" instead. Booking.com normally (but not always!) shows the full price.
    – dbkk
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 12:52
  • Booking.com regularly shows cheaper prices for me than Agoda. Still same hotel, same room type and same day
    – phuclv
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 9:17
  • 2
    This is not generally true, it depends hugely on the country and Agoda's coverage. I can confirm it's often true for SE Asia but not for Europe.
    – smci
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 3:16
  • I’m not saying this is generally true, but it has been the case for many countries I’ve visited in Asia. It’s also disappointing to see many comments missing the point. I obviously compare the total and complete end prices...
    – MmM
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 5:40

3 Answers 3


Booking.com uses the Agency model, this means the website is a place where hotels list their offers and booking.com gets a commission with every booking done through their website.

On the other hand, Agoda uses the Merchant model in addition to the Agency model, meaning that in some cases they actually buy the hotel rooms from the hotels directly (in bulk), then offer them at a competitive price. I think they do that a lot with Asian Hotels.

That's why sometimes Agoda is cheaper, other than that it's just a psychological effect because they show prices per night and tax-exclusive, which gives the impression that their prices are less.

One more thing, Booking Holdings (the company that owns both Booking.com and Agoda) is doing a great job, they are doing a business trick where people think that both sites are major players which are competing with each other, so customers think they must choose between one of them, whatever customers choose the company earns money. This is called "self-competition" in the business world. It's also called "The Illusion of Choice" (thanks to @RyanfaeScotland for pointing that out).

  • 9
    very interesting, thanks for pointing out the "competitive" connection between the companies!
    – JakeDot
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 10:38
  • 1
    I wouldn't call it a psychological effect if they quote prices before tax when their competitor does not, though
    – JollyJoker
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 12:47
  • 20
    By default Agoda doesn't just show "tax exclusive" prices, but a "base price" lowered by an arbitrary amount (basically, fake). When you try to book, they add various fees. To their credit, they do have the option to show the "full price" -- no idea why anyone would want anything else.
    – dbkk
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 12:55
  • 12
    Although it is definitely self-competition, the effect you are describing sounds more like "The Illusion of Choice" to me: visualcapitalist.com/illusion-of-choice-consumer-brands and might be worth adding to your answer. Commented May 16, 2019 at 12:56
  • 3
    @dbkk when you are sites like google.maps.com and searching for hotels... there isn't a way to choose "full price" or "real price" ... instead you get one price... and often the price displayed is the "fake price" aka the "price without any of the required fees/taxes". Commented May 16, 2019 at 14:10

I run an Australian whitelabel booking site (Beat That Flight) that's mainly for flights, but also has hotels.

What's interesting when I look around at other sites is how much it varies.

While others have mentioned the illusion of choice with self-competing and merchant/agency, it's also worth noting that for many sites, we have different data sources for prices (I use a Russian data source!) and between us and the airline or hotel, there may be several layers of companies. These each might have their own promotions, group discounts, bulk purchase, loss leaders or commission rates that affect the final price shown to the consumer.

Similarly for hotels. However personally, I always try to check the hotel site directly - you often get a better deal if booking directly, and are more likely to be upgraded / have breakfast included / some other benefit in my experience when doing so.

  • 4
    +1 for the last point. Anytime I book with Booking and end up needing one more night (which I usually pay directly at the hotel) I always find much better prices. Obviously, you avoid one intermediator, but it's important to notice. Commented May 17, 2019 at 7:15
  • 2
    I have made experiences both ways. In some situations going through such an agency is actually cheaper than directly booking with the hotel. It does not really make sense as there are more people taking their share, but perhaps it is some bulk deal or so. Commented May 18, 2019 at 7:38

From what I have deduced, you are not getting the same room class as other sites. You will get the least desirable room on the property. It will technically be a room in the hotel but it will be the room next to the kitchen with smells or a room that is known to have plumbing issues or something broken, stuck door, worse view, next to the elevator shaft, a room that has been taken off the rotation so that maintenance department can fix something , so this room will not be available on the hotels own booking site or more expensive sites but you will be able to get it on Agoda. You get what you pay for. Markets are efficient. There is not some glitch or a secret deal where you are getting the exact same room in all aspects to the guest in the next room but somehow paying dramatically less. In cases where this is almost the case, you will then not get the complimentary drink on arrival or complimentary early check in or late checkout. I use Agoda when none of these things matter to me, like when traveling alone but I would not use it if you are wanting to ensure that your traveling companion is comfortable as well.

  • 2
    Do you have any sort of reference or point of knowledge for this, as it goes against what the other accepted, popular answers say.
    – Uciebila
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 8:52
  • Having booked some of the cheaper agoda rooms, I can say that this is not the case.
    – MmM
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 15:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .