Looking for cheap accommodation or the best price you can get? What about last minute cheap hotels near your location? Have you ever looked for a place to stay on Hotels.com, then checked Airbnb, booking.com, and eventually Agoda and VRBO, all in an effort to get the best deal on your specific dates in your destination? There's an alternative to opening lots of tabs on your browser: Alltherooms.com
This new website claims to be the world's largest accommodations search engine. It searches everything from hotels to hostels and finds you prices based on price, stars, distance from the centre (of the city), and options such as wifi, etc. A nice feature is that Hotels, Homes & Apartments, Rooms & Hostels, and B&Bs are all separated by tabs so you can click around the different categories easily. There's also a tab called ‘amazing' which seems to consolidate the best deals of all tabs. I am planning on travelling to Peru in July so I decided to check options for the first two weeks of the month in Lima. Without selecting a price range the Amazing tab had 19 entries, mostly hotels and a little out of my price range, but some good discounts were apparent.
My budget is more in the $10-40 a night so I selected this price range. I added Wi-fi as a required option. This time the Amazing tab returned one result. I noticed that one result in All (combined categories tab) was an apartment in Miraflores, one of the nicest and safest places to stay in Lima, and the price stated was $36/night. By clicking ‘Visit Deal' you are redirected to an external site. Alltherooms.com tells you, however, that you are leaving the site. In some cases you will then have to re-enter the dates required. This is a bit inconvenient, but the fact that you supposedly already have the best deal in town on your dates the benefit outweighs this minor inconvenience. I was redirected to housetrip.com where I entered my dates (1-15 july). This came out as $506 (€428) so basically the same as what Alltherooms.com stated. Good so far!
First in the list were understandably hostels and homestays. I clicked on the Homes and Apts tab and saw the apartment I had noticed before in the list of two entries. The other apartment was from the housetrip.com site also but no Airbnb or VRBO so far. I was interested in looking at apartments before anything else. As an experiment I decided to check listings on Airbnb for the first two weeks in July. Airbnb only allows me to select $38 or $43 as my top price range so I picked $38. The results came in and 87 rentals were available in Lima on my dates in my price range. Why didn't Alltherooms find these listings? I decided to ask Alltherooms.com and attempted to use their chat feature. I wasn't getting an immediate response so while I waited I deselected the Wifi option and suddenly 400 extra apartments appeared. It seems that the method the site uses to search is far from perfect. Ok, so now I know and can continue as before. This time Airbnb listings were showing in the $11-$40 range. There's no option to select ‘entire apartment' in AlltheRooms.com like you can in Airbnb so inspecting the description and figuring out if it's a shared or private accommodation is required.
Airbnb and VRBO held most of the first 30 or so spots in the cheapest range of Apartments/Homes. Booking.com showed up with a couple of listings also. VRBO was further down the list but this seems consistent with VRBO which has more expensive apartments listed in general. It's great to be able to see both sites side by side. When I clicked on the ‘visit deal' button for Airbnb sites the dates were transferred over which is very helpful time saver. But like housetrip.com, when the site transfers to VRBO's site the dates need to be entered again. I decided to test European destinations to see if GowithOh.com appeared. GowithOh.com is a new apartment rental site for Europe only, but one that's gaining traction quickly. It has a nice clean interface and great looking apartments. Their system is based on more rigorous vetting of landlords than Airbnb, for example. GowithOh doesn't appear to be included yet but over 1500 options were available in London for the first two weeks in July (high season) within my price range ($13-$100).
There were 21 ‘Amazing' deals, all of which were tempting. The Strand Palace Hotel (1 star) had a huge discount listed ($147/night down to $41) so I had to have a look.
As it turns out this price was available and the dates were automatically listed in the site I was redirected to, easytobook.com. Unfortunately, it was a dorm room which wasn't clear to me on the listing. Maybe the 1-star and the price should have given it away. I'd like to see Alltherooms.com make it clear the type of room available in the ‘Amazing' options. One little annoyance is the fact that the site times out after a short period so if you decide to move to a different tab in your browser and come back after a few minutes you need to start again. One for the development team to look at I'd say.
The site co-founder contacted me by email within a few minutes of my chat going through and explained that they were ironing out some issues and that there would be improvement soon. Overall though this is an excellent resource and despite some initial quirks I am happy to continue using it. The site is new but they seem to have done a lot in a short period of time. It's definitely one to watch and one I will be keeping an eye on. If it continues to improve upon the interface I can see it as the go-to site for accommodation booking. Let's see what happens! www.alltherooms.com