Hipmunk started in 2010 and is headquartered in San Francisco. Their platform pulls information from over two million hotel and rental properties including the constantly expanding Airbnb and Homeaway. Their comprehensive travel planning guide aggregates data and pricing information to help travelers find the accommodation that works for their circumstances. Travelers can search top destinations based on search queries which also maximize savings to accommodate tight budgets.
- Comparison tool
- Unique features
- Extra benefits
Hipmunk provides an outlet for travelers looking to research and book upcoming expeditions. Users can quickly compare prices across airline providers and over 1.2 million hotels and vacation rentals. With the ability to search thousands of travel websites instantly, travelers can quickly identify the best solutions for travel accommodations and make the necessary reservations without having to navigate to a number of different websites
Hipmunk offers a feature on their homepage known as "Hello Hipmunk," which is essentially an online travel agent. Travelers can book and manage their travel all with the help of Hello Hipmunk. There are a few key elements that make up the Hello Hipmunk service, which includes:
- Hello Email - users can email Hipmunk for travel advice and recommendations
- Hello Calendar - travelers can then integrate their personal calendar to get travel suggestions on out-of-town events.
- Hello Facebook - communicate through Facebook Messenger
- Hello Slack - access the personal travel agent through instant communication
While travelers can book the expected travel accommodations with Hipmunk, there are also added benefits to using the Hipmunk platform not commonly found on other travel booking sites. In addition to finding discounted flights, hotels, rental cars, or vacation packages, travelers can take advantage of the following features:
- Comprehensive travel search - rather than just searching commercial flights, Hipmunk pulls information on charter flights and trains in an attempt to truly provide a traveler with an affordable solution
- Stay options - a traveler can book the traditional hotel room at a low rate, but Hipmunk also pulls in information from Airbnb and Homeaway for alternative selections
- View schedules - when navigating through the search results, travelers can see schedules, layover information, and visual charts
- Heat maps - this feature allows travelers to find accommodations close to shopping, nightlife, restaurants, and more
The formatting of the site and how it organizes hotels makes sorting and searching easy for customers. The "agony" rating criteria made it easy for customers to pick the best hotels. Their sorting tool allows travelers to filter based on price, star-rating, amenities, proximity, and accommodation type.
- Limited offering
- Widgets and features
- Mobile app
One of the critiques regarding the Hipmunk platform would have to be the limited offerings. Their flights and hotel deals were some of the cheapest reviewed, but there is not as much available to travelers. For instance, they do not include all of the major airlines or hotel chains, leaving customers with limited options. This also restricts those who earn rewards for booking with certain brands if they cannot find that pricing information on Hipmunk.
Widgets and Features
Another missing element to the Hipmunk platform is that they do not include all of the widgets and other features commonly found on other hotel booking sites. These online services include the absence of:
- Comparison Tool - quickly compare other travel booking sites to find the lowest nightly rate
- Booking travel activities - travelers will not be able to book other forms of entertainment through Hipmunk
The mobile app does not necessarily compete with other travel sites mobile platforms. The search features on their mobile apps are not as robust as their website, so many consumers might not be able to make a room reservation as easily as other companies with their mobile platforms.