Secure the best price in Sydney without having to sacrifice on luxury.
Sydney is a world favourite destination for both Australians and citizens of the world - and with its sweeping harbour views and sandy beaches, it’s little wonder why. Planning a trip Down Under would not be complete without a hop and a skip over to the largest city in the country. If this is the case, you'll want some luxurious accommodation to accompany your travel plans.
Herein lies the conundrum:
You want to stay in the Sydney CBD but don’t want to overpay for your stay. While adventurous types can search for cheap stays via homestay sites like you might be the kind to prefer a nice, plush hotel room to retire to after a long day out exploring the city.
Which doesn’t always come cheap. But if you play your cards right with booking websites, you can nab a room for a steal and leave feeling pretty happy that you’ve some extra dollars in your pocket to forward onto souvenirs from your stay.
8 best booking websites for cheap stays
From travel bookers to just hotel bookers, these guys are your first point of reference when searching for the place to stay at the price you want to pay.
finder.com.au compares the top travel sites for the best deals on hotel accommodation worldwide. Browse by destination and by date to see what rooms are available at the best price.
Wotif is an Australian hotel booking site that draws the hottest deals and specials on the interweb into the palm of your hand. (Not literally, but you know what we mean.)
A dedicated hotels website with over half a million hotels in 68 countries in its directory, Hotels.com has a Price Match Guarantee that promises to match any competitor’s price for the same hotel, dates and room. They guarantee this up until the day you check in.
The booking.yeah (a.k.a. booking.com) has a library of over 680,000 properties worldwide. It allows you to book and manage your stay online and doesn’t charge you any booking fees. For the most part, they won’t even ask you for a deposit on your stay (just a credit card for verification purposes).
Although limited to the Accor family, it’s still a large and luxurious one that includes brands like Sofitel, Mercure, Novotel, ibis and Sebel. By going through the brand and not an agent, you might even score special offers and deals not advertised anywhere else.
Home of last-minute deals on unsold rooms. This is not one for the super-organised traveller. Those who don't mind leaving things 'till late can benefit from lastminute.com.au as it lets you score a deal by booking your room at the very last.
A booking site that needs no introduction, Expedia is world known for capturing and comparing the best prices across all your travel needs. This, naturally, includes hotels and other forms of accommodation worldwide.
Sort by deals, destination or theme (beach, casino, last minute) with OneTravel to determine what the best well, deal, that is out there for you.
Which hotel website will offer me the cheapest rate?
The answer is never simple. Do you research and compare them yourself, or use a comparison booking site like hotels.finder.com.au to find that cheap room.
As an experiment we looked at some of the hotel booking sites mentioned above and compared prices between them on some of Sydney's most popular abodes. What we found was that in many cases online travel agents were across what others were offering and offered the same price as each other and as the hotel direct.
Notably, there were some instances where it was cheaper to go through an agent and some agents did charge more than others.
While special deals with each (when they are available) will alter the prices, deal aggregators like hotels.finder.com.au and Trivagoare your best bets when it comes to finding the cheapest price for the same hotel / room / dates as they pull all this data for you to let you really find the best deals.
9 tips to finding the cheapest accommodation
- Shop around, but don’t spend too much time on the websites: In this competitive market, price differences aren’t drastic between booking sites, so unless you’re a pennies to the pound kind of person, don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Check deal aggregators: Deal aggregators such as hotels.finder.com.au and Trivago are worth the peek to see who's offering what it in a flash. Just do a quick scan and see what’s out there. Can’t hurt right?
- Watch out for hidden fees / conversions: These will sneak up on you - especially when using deal aggregators that pull from other countries like the US (OneTravel) or Hong Kong (Agoda). It might look cheap, but bank fees and conversion charges can push it into the more expensive area.
- Join a loyalty program: There’s no great difference between a lot of the travel sites and booking direct through the hotel. If you frequent a certain chain or travel agent, it might be worth booking with them to reap the benefits of loyalty later on.
- Check out promos and deals: Some of the prices quoted above are lower than usual because a promo code has been applied to it. This can tip something into the “cheapest” section - our best hotel deals are below, so take a peek at our hotels deal page before booking to make sure you use them in your comparison. Who knows how much you can save.
- Book early: If you're planning to stay during peak season you'll want to be one of the early birds to snap up the best prices before hotels pull them up.
- Book late: If you're staying during non-peak book last-minute stays for big discounts. Lastminute.com has some of the best that you can book literally minutes before you arrive at the door.
- Use price guarantees: A lot of booking sites offer you a best price guarantee. Read the terms and conditions properly before you call them up on this but generally if you find your room going for less elsewhere after you've booked with one site, you can call them up on this to have the difference refunded.
- Use refund websites: While not as popular in Australia yet, sites like Tingo will organise a different refund on your hotel if the price drops before your stay. It's a similar deal to the price guarantee option above only the website will do all the hard work for you.