I normally use HostelWorld but the hostel I was accessing the internet at redirected to HostelBookers. It was my first experience with HostelBookers and it was nice not to have to pay a booking fee (on top of the 10% reservation fee that both sites take). That said, I felt the search features on HostelBookers were lacking compared to the competition.
For example, after searching for availability (which includes the number of people), prices show up in the rankings based on the cheapest private room regardless of the number of people per room. There's apparently no way to sort by the price of, say, a private double room across all hostels that provide it.
Also, while booking I was required to provide a phone number -- I rarely have a phone available while travelling. Additionally, there is no place to add a note or check-in time to the booking, which guest houses generally appreciate knowing.
Overall, the experience is geared towards individuals or large groups staying in dorms, but loses to the competition when it comes to guest houses and B&Bs. I'd love to have a (fee-free!) alternative to HostelWorld, and I hope HostelBookers can achieve that soon.
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