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Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

Level Contributor
747 posts
54 reviews
Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

I made reservation through Agoda in Kyoto. Here is what I learned:

1. It is impossible to find out ahead of time the room size (not posted anywhere w. the rooms) or the difference between same type of rooms in the "main building" or "south", on the "standard floor" or "premium floor". I called them. After an 1 hour wait, the support staff put me on hold for another 15 min to check w. the hotel, then came back pro promise to call me back w. an answer. they never did.

2. The room/night cost is somewhat misleading as it doesn't show up-front the HUGE service fees. and taxes, much bigger than on any other site for the same room type, same hotel.

3. While info is posted about the date until cancellation is free, there is no info prior to an actual reservation about the penalty for cancelling after that date. Only when I got the confirmation, I noticed that if a cancellation is made within 10 days of the check-in date, there is NO refund. This has big implications to the travel policy I bought.

You might want to keep this in mind before you decide to use Agoda.

13 replies to this topic
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
12,219 posts
25 reviews
1. Re: Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

Your warning is common on many 3rd party hotel websites.

They often lump all kinds of rooms into one generic category.

As always the final price for the room is the important part.

Really don't understand your point 3. You seem to be saying Agoda gave you the date that you can cancel for free. I would generally assume after that point has passed no money back.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
5,319 posts
24 reviews
2. Re: Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

You can sometimes get information about room sizes by looking at the hotel's own website or several third-party online hotel booking sites.

In general, you will have fewer problems if you book hotels in Japan directly with the hotel's website or through a large Japanese online travel agency like Rakuten Travel.

Level Contributor
747 posts
54 reviews
3. Re: Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

To clarify point 3: I have other reservations directly through hotels or reservation websites, other than Agoda. All of them charge 1 night, not the whole amount (10 days before the check-in like Agoda), something not posted by Agoda before one makes an actual reservation. Booking.com and Expedia are upfront about all the information one needs to make a decision and do not surprise you later. That's just my experience.

BTW, as I am still learning, I can see that the hotel's website (where I made the reservation through Agoda) displays the room types and sizes. The cancellation policy of the hotel for which I made the reservation through Agoda is: "1 day before: 20% of the accommodation fee, On the day: 80% of the accommodation fee, No show: 100% of the accommodation fee" (not like Agoda's policy which is 100% non-refundable within 10 days of the check-in date). So Agoda not only that adds considerable fees but also imposes a much more strict cancellation policy than the hotels. Lessons learned....

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
12,219 posts
25 reviews
4. Re: Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

Yep, important you check all factors. I prefer booking.com to Agoda but they too have some hotels where if you cancel you lose all your money, not just one night. It's more controlled behind the scenes by the hotel, not by the booking site.

Of course, if the Agoda price is a lot cheaper than the hotels own website then you are getting a good price albeit with more restrictive cancellation privileges. Not really unusual.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
62,285 posts
171 reviews
5. Re: Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

First, let me clarify that I dislike using Agoda idue to their occasional issues with cancellations and prepayment/system issues. In fact, I never use them due to horror stories I know, including ones from personal friends. But...

What property did you book? Whenever I looked on Agoda, they do tell you specifically what type of room you are getting. You can even see that in the price difference. Sometimes, the nomenclature of the rooms between Agoda and the hotel's own website could be slightly different. In that case, you should cross check.

>>>It is impossible to find out ahead of time the room size (not posted anywhere w. the rooms) or the difference between same type of rooms in the "main building" or "south", on the "standard floor" or "premium floor". I called them. After an 1 hour wait, the support staff put me on hold for another 15 min to check w. the hotel, then came back pro promise to call me back w. an answer. they never did.

Your statement is partially correct only. The initial room rate does not include the fees. When you get to the final screen, it tells you the exact price you are expected to pay with all fees included. For better or worse, many 3rd party websites (Expedia, Hotels.com) and even some airlines (Cathay Pacific) follow this same practice. They always show the final price before you have to commit to booking or prepaying.

>>>The room/night cost is somewhat misleading as it doesn't show up-front the HUGE service fees. and taxes, much bigger than on any other site for the same room type, same hotel.

Most hotels charge 100% (at least the first night) if you miss the cancellation deadline. That's pretty universal. Japan is actually somewhat different but you normally won't see their cancellation policies on a 3rd party, English website.

>>>While info is posted about the date until cancellation is free, there is no info prior to an actual reservation about the penalty for cancelling after that date. Only when I got the confirmation, I noticed that if a cancellation is made within 10 days of the check-in date, there is NO refund. This has big implications to the travel policy I bought.

Overall, sites like Booking.com show prices up front. The other issues are pretty much consistent across the board. If you aren't happy with Agoda or 3rd party sites though, consider booking direct with the hotels in the future.

Level Contributor
747 posts
54 reviews
6. Re: Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

What I described is my experience. I never used (and will never use) Agoda, I was not aware of others' bad experiences with them. Should you want to check what I have seen (or not), the hotel is New Miyako Hotel Kyoto. Agoda does not show the size of the room, which in Japan can make a major difference, particularly for an 11 day stay. It is not the hotel, it is the lack of transparency when using Agoda (learning about the very severe penalties if one cancels within 10 days prior to check-in only after making the reservation), their huge fees and very bad cancellation policies that they impose (the hotel's are MUCH better). However, if someone wants to use them, by all means they should do it. I will not argue about it.

Edited: 02 August 2018, 08:34
Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
62,285 posts
171 reviews
7. Re: Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

I just checked. The Agoda booking page shows the various room categories with different pricing. They did lump some rooms sizes together so you could have a valid point. If I were using Agoda in this instance, then i would have to refer to the Miyako website to know what room size it is.

However, the cancellation policy is very clear. If you click on the "Free cancellation before XXX date", a blurb will open and tell you exactly how cancellation is charged. For normal flexible rates, it looks like cancellation up to 1 day before arrival is free. Otherwise, the first night is charged at 100%. I don't know how much clearer it can get.

Like I said, I don't like using Agoda either. However, some of what they do (cancellation, prepayment, final price only shown on the last screen before booking) are standard practice when you use many of the foreign booking sites. Agoda is no better or worse from that perspective. One should always book direct anyway unless there is a pricing difference.

>>>Should you want to check what I have seen (or not), the hotel is New Miyako Hotel Kyoto. Agoda does not show the size of the room, which in Japan can make a major difference, particularly for an 11 day stay.

Edited: 02 August 2018, 08:58
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
Level Contributor
28,550 posts
66 reviews
8. Re: Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

>>>1...or the difference between same type of rooms in the "main building" or "south", on the "standard floor" or "premium floor"<<<

Difference between the Standard Floor and Premium Floor would be displayed as different room types.

The overwhelming majority of hotels will not specify differences in the various aspects of the *same room type*. This is typically universal as it creates a lack of flexibility in allocations, and worse, it opens a can of worms for those wanting specific aspects over another. If the difference - in the hotels mind - is significant enough, they will list them as seperate room types.

>>>It is not the hotel, it is the lack of transparency when using Agoda<<<

It is the hotel. It’s not Agoda that loads the room types or the descriptor or the policies. It’s the hotel themselves responsible for the transparency

It’s not as if the hotel list it and Agoda deletes it

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
62,285 posts
171 reviews
9. Re: Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

I did notice that on Miyako's website, the room type and size is shown to the exact. On Agoda, the room type is shown but the size is given as a range. However, if you cross reference between the two, you should be able to figure out the exact room size Agoda is showing.

That said, why go through Agoda at all--unless you can get a discount through them that you can get elsewhere.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
Level Contributor
28,550 posts
66 reviews
10. Re: Warning re. cancellation policies, etc.

>>>That said, why go through Agoda at all--unless you can get a discount through them that you can get elsewhere<<<

100% with SammyF1oyd

Edited: 02 August 2018, 10:00
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