Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

beware of Agoda, Halolao Bacpackers LPB has moved.

Posted by Pjotra on 25/12/2013 at 05:06

Apart from the fact that Agoda steals 100% of your down payment to secure a room somewhere ( better buy a simcard and phone yourself in advance) it can also happen that, without notification, your reserved guesthouse does not exist anymore, and your rservation has been taken over by someone else.
Happened to us around Newyears Eve 2012/2013, when we thought to have booked for 4 nights at Halolao Bacpackers in Luang Prabang.
Upon arrival it appeared they had moved to another spot, rising their prices from 18$ to 50 $.
The reservation was taken over by Inthasak Guesthouse around the corner. Very amiable guy, but no garden sit, and we were the only customers. Why not send a simple message, Agoda, then you client can decide for himself where he wants to stay??
December 2013

#1 Pjotra has been a member since 17/7/2009. Posts: 39

Posted by MADMAC on 25/12/2013 at 07:54

I've used Agoda a number of times with excellent results and savings. Too bad you had a "bad" experience, but in the aggregate it's Agoda can be very useful, especially for top end places.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957


Posted by busylizzy on 25/12/2013 at 09:26

I agree with MM in that I've used Agoda many times in NZ, Australia, SE Asia and in the US over the last 5-6 years or so without issue.

To accuse Agoda of 'stealing' your down payment is just wrong. You aren't paying a 'down payment'', you are paying for the full cost of the room for your entire stay. Agoda then passes on the amount to the guesthouse (presumably less some commission or fee although I don't know exactly how that side of it works to be fair). If the guesthouse is making changes behind the scene, how would Agoda know unless they are advised by the guesthouse? It is the guesthouse owner's responsibility to update details with Agoda

Your complaint should be with the guesthouse, not Agoda.

#3 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
 Where has busylizzy been? 

Posted by tyler on 25/12/2013 at 16:27

I've used Agoda in North America and SEA for the past 5 years.
Zero negative experiences.

#4 tyler has been a member since 7/12/2010. Location: Canada. Posts: 257
 Where has tyler been? 

Posted by freiburger on 26/12/2013 at 10:33

No problem with Agoda so far.

Actually I do prefer the fact that you have to pay 100% right at booking. In some regions, it is really difficult to pay with credit card or carry enough cash sometimes. So booking with Agoda, I can pay my room with credit card and don't have to deal with reception. This can be sometimes very handy.

So, you always have to think about wether you do your booking via Agoda or directly via Email or Phone.

#5 freiburger has been a member since 27/12/2012. Posts: 125

Posted by Pjotra on 27/12/2013 at 23:55

How about the following: The room we booked was charged at 144.000lak,
and in advance by c.c.
The real price for the room was 100.000lak. That means a profit of 40%, plus 4 months interest for Agoda.
Are you all a bit retarded? It sounds to me you' re the real adventurers, Real Flashpackers, traveling by creditcard.
I stay in the far east 4 to 5 months each year, the only reason I used Agoda this time, was to secure a room around Newyears Eve, when normally LPB is fully booked. ( However not now, as The Lao gateway Bangkok has got a negative traveladvice by 23 western countries)
Simply buy a simcard upon arrival and you can phone your guesthouse, the poor guy running it gets 100% of his money, and is not the slave of Agoda. ( they force two year contracts upon GH owners) Some are getting wiser now, I know of one in Luang Namtha, who just refused to renew his contract, as he discovered he not really needs them, guests find him anyway through this glorious site.
I understand it is a problem for some to deal with the reception? Lack of English? I speak 4 languages fluent, one always fits.
And further on: ever used a French creditcard? Know what these filthy bankers in France charge you for using it? you know the charges for a simple ATM withdrawel, apart from the f.i. in Thailand 150THB you pay on every withdrawel?
That is why moneybelts are invented. But then I donot stay in 5 star establishments, I d rather go for te advice of fellow travellers.

#6 Pjotra has been a member since 17/7/2009. Posts: 39

Posted by busylizzy on 28/12/2013 at 03:14

"The real price for the room was 100.000lak. That means a profit of 40%, plus 4 months interest for Agoda. Are you all a bit retarded?"

Steady on - no need for insults. You have always have choices. If you want to book 4 months out, and use a booking website then that's your choice. You can find out what the normal rate is by contacting the hotel. Sometimes, by booking on Agoda you will pay less than the walk-in rate. Sometimes much less. Othertimes, you will pay more. Sometimes much more. It's not just for 5-star places; I've booked 2-star places here too. Either way, YOU make the decision as to whether to book or not.

I use Agoda when I am arriving in a big city and/or late at night and don't want the hassle of walking around to find accom. I used it a few times on a recent trip where I preferred to use credit card rather than have to go to an ATM when I was a few days away from leaving a country. And sometimes, I use it because I just found a bloody good deal that would never would have been found by doing a walk-in. More bang for my buck.

Just out of curiosity, why have you decided to bag Agoda now - one year after your booking? This is a strange post...

#7 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
 Where has busylizzy been? 

Posted by somtam2000 on 28/12/2013 at 06:08 admin

Pjotra,

As per Busylizzy, no need for insults.

Also as per most of the above I use Agoda all the time and have had no problems. I know a year or so ago another Travelfish researcher booked a room at a hotel that turned out to have been demolished, but in that case they got a refund.

Unfortunately we don't list either of the places you mention on Travelfish, and I'm assuming you mean New Years Eve this year rather than last year :-)

As far as your concerns are, here are a coupla quick thoughts:

* The hotel room rate you see on Agoda is set by the hotel -- not Agoda. Obviously Agoda makes a commission on sending business to hotels and guesthouses, (which isn't unreasonable in my opinion). Some hotels choose to increase the rate they list on Agoda so that they don't end up out of pocket and it sounds like that is the case with the guesthouse you're talking about. 40% is not the baseline Agoda commission.

* It's true that Agoda sits on your money for four months gathering interest -- but likewise you slept soundly knowing you had a confirmed room in Luang Prabang -- works both ways. Though in this case it hasn't unfortunately.

* Regarding the change of hotel, which, to be honest I'm still a little bit confused about, if you would like me to get in contact with my contact at Agoda regarding your situation, please private message me your name, the booking dates and your reservation number and I'd be happy to drop them a line to see what the story is.

Cheers & have a good time in Luang Prabang!

#8 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,577
 Where has somtam2000 been?   Website   Twitter   Facebook    Flickr    Google+   Instagram   Pinterest 

Posted by MADMAC on 28/12/2013 at 08:08

"It sounds to me you' re the real adventurers, Real Flashpackers, traveling by creditcard. I stay in the far east 4 to 5 months each year..."

Ahhh I got it, you're a "real" traveller right? You're going to tell the rest of us how it's done. Right.

I live here cowboy. I use Agoda sometimes and my wife will call and compare. As often as not, the Agoda price is cheaper. Vendors contract with it because they get more volume, which translates to more profit if your occupancy rate tends to the low side and you need to increase it.

"Are you all a bit retarded?"

No. Are you an *******? Cause it sounds like it.

"And further on: ever used a French creditcard? Know what these filthy bankers in France charge you for using it?"

Then don't use the credit card. Are the filthy bankers sending strongmen to your house who are beating you if you don't use one? Christ.

"I understand it is a problem for some to deal with the reception? Lack of English? I speak 4 languages fluent, one always fits."

Obviously English isn't one of those languages, because your grammar sucks.

#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Pjotra on 28/12/2013 at 08:32

Indeed a mistake, 2013/2014 ofcourse. Have arranged something with the nice guy that owns the new place. The difference paid and delivered appears to be even larger. Paid in advance 13,60€‚¬/ day, room price appears to be 70.000 LAK, or less then 6€,¬. How about margins?
Only reason for arranging in advance was Newyears Eve in LPB normally packed. ( not now, however)
About grammar: have you ever tried to type on an Ipad screen- it sucks. Next one will be a net/notbook again.
About creditcards I use one of my Dutch cards, where they don 't steal 15€‚¬ per ATM withdrawel, like the French do.
About contacting a Tripadvisor/Agoda adress: ever found a telephone nr. or mailadress?
No. reason is that. as soon as Agoda takes the contract. all other means of communication are severed- which seems logical from their p.o.v.

#10 Pjotra has been a member since 17/7/2009. Posts: 39

Posted by busylizzy on 28/12/2013 at 09:39

"About contacting a Tripadvisor/Agoda adress: ever found a telephone nr. or mailadress? No. reason is that. as soon as Agoda takes the contract. all other means of communication are severed"

And that's why we have Google. If they are on Agoda, you can often track them down on the internet somewhere to get a phone number or email address. Or check to see if they are listed here on TF. Or in a LP guidebook - or any other guidebook.

Since you didn't mention it, I presume that you didn't contact Agoda directly to get it sorted or possibly cancel the reservation. That would have been my first step - they have a Support centre (contact details are at the bottom of the confirmation email).

I walked into a hotel once, 2 months after my previous visit (which was booked online). I asked the rate and it was nearly double what I paid previously. They wouldn't negotiate but said that I was welcome to use their WiFi to book via Agoda. It took me 5 minutes and it was sorted. I got an upgraded room as a last minute deal for the same price that I paid previously - and MUCH cheaper than the walkin rate.

Agoda certainly has it's advantages at times. But if you don't like the way they operate, don't use them. Simple. But if you're going to post negative comments about a company, you should at least be sure that are directing them at the appropriate business. At this point, I still don't see what Agoda did wrong.

#11 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
 Where has busylizzy been? 

Posted by tyler on 28/12/2013 at 11:05

Troll woke up cranky. Move along...nothing more to see..

#12 tyler has been a member since 7/12/2010. Location: Canada. Posts: 257
 Where has tyler been? 

Posted by MADMAC on 28/12/2013 at 12:16

"Agoda certainly has it's advantages at times. But if you don't like the way they operate, don't use them. Simple."

Bingo.

#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by tezza on 28/12/2013 at 18:41

Similar thing happened to me in Bali last year - booked a place in the rice fields with Agoda, only to arrive and find the joint had given up dealing with them several months before. Why Agoda didn't send an email telling us that I'm not sure- took a few hours tramping around the area to finalise somewhere to stay. Worse, the joint was still on their booking site for at least a month after.

Despite this, I still book with Agoda. I like the (usual) ease of use, the fact they charge me in my local currency so my rip-off bank can't ticket-clip its ridiculous 3% foreign currency charge and the fact that these days they have a bunch of backpacker type joints on their site. So I still use them a lot.

Another point bookers should be aware of: several times I've found Agoda's location map is dodgy. It pays to check the joint's own website if it has one and other booking sites.

#14 tezza has been a member since 13/4/2006. Posts: 1,339
 Website 

Posted by somtam2000 on 28/12/2013 at 19:01 admin

@tezza - how did you go getting a refund on the Bali joint?

#15 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,577
 Where has somtam2000 been?   Website   Twitter   Facebook    Flickr    Google+   Instagram   Pinterest 

Posted by Geer1 on 28/12/2013 at 19:52

I prefer to search Agoda and hostel websites to find a place but then I try and find their website and email them. In SEA you can usually make a booking this way without having to put any down payment or get horrible conversion rates/visa fees etc.

Obviously this doesn't work in more developed nations where they require a down payment but in SEA and even lately in Guatemala this works quite often.

#16 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
 Where has Geer1 been? 

Posted by Pjotra on 28/12/2013 at 21:08

When you arrive late in the evening at a busstation, grab a tuktuk, only to find out the joint does not exist anymore.....
I always use Travelfish for accomodation, however, more and more, the contact details are disappearing, the only thing left is their adress.
I got this wise by talking to the owners of a GH in Luang Namtha, being unable to even phone a GH in Muang Sing. They tracked them down, and found out they had to change their phonenr. by Agoda. In this way you are being forced to go through Agoda.
However these Lao get wiser by the day, the LNT GH simply has not renewed their contract, they found out they don' t need a bookingsite.

Geer1 : I normally do the same, but in the above case, their was no way to contact them directly.
Anyway, has anyone experience with Booking.com?

#17 Pjotra has been a member since 17/7/2009. Posts: 39

Posted by DLuek on 28/12/2013 at 22:06 TF writer

I always use Travelfish for accomodation, however, more and more, the contact details are disappearing

All available contact details are included in every listing I write. I'm fairly certain other writers do the same. Occasionally, a bungalow joint on some really remote island will not have a phone #, but that's very unusual. Curious to know which listings you're talking about.

Re Agoda, I also happen to be in Luang Prabang right now and witnessed a traveler having a problem last night with an Agoda booking at the place I'm staying, Pranh Tha Son Guesthouse. Apparently, he booked for 3 nights through Agoda, but when he arrived, the staff told him that they no longer work with Agoda. Not sure about the details beyond that. The staff told him that he could stay, but he had to pay cash and sort out the situation with Agoda on his own. The guy made a big stink. He finally contacted Agoda and it sounded like they refunded him. He then trudged off to find a different place to stay, which I imagine wasn't easy as it was late and most places were full. But he could have just paid cash and stayed. In any case, sounds like either Agoda didn't take off the guesthouse's listing after they asked, or the guesthouse didn't fully clarify their intentions to cut their guesthouse from Agoda.

I've also used Agoda many times and had almost no problems. On one occasion, I booked a guesthouse on Phuket a couple of hours before arriving. When I got there, the owner shook his head and said that Agoda had screwed him, the place was full and I couldn't stay. Not sure if it was he or Agoda that screwed up. He recommended another place, which turned out to be fine, and I had no problems getting a refund from Agoda after contacting them by phone. Other than that, I've booked with Agoda dozens of times and never had a problem.

So, for the most part, I've found Agoda to be pretty good. It's worth mentioning that I once booked a hotel in Portland, Oregon through Expedia weeks in advance but was turned away when I showed up. Any big booking website is going to make mistakes from time to time.

On the other hand, don't get me started on Tripadvisor...

#18 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,178
 Website   Twitter 

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 29/12/2013 at 23:37

I like booking.com and wotif. Booking doesnt take money up front - u pay the hotel direct at the agreed rate which is much lower than walk in.
Wotif u pay up front but good customer service. I got a partial refund when a hotel provided a sub standard room.

Agoda is sneeky. They hide the fees until final page so comparisons r not obvious.

#19 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by Pjotra on 30/12/2013 at 03:12

Thanks, LeonardC
will try that in future.

P.

#20 Pjotra has been a member since 17/7/2009. Posts: 39

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 30/12/2013 at 05:33

"On the other hand, don't get me started on Tripadvisor.."

They just provide a search engine for booking sites and reviews. I usually find the reviews helpful.

#21 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148


Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.