Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Review: Budget hotel booking via

I’d seen Stayzilla’s ads last year but didn’t have a need to book through them so far. Recently I did book couple of rooms via and this is my experience of booking budget hotels via this new Chennai based startup website.

There’re couple of key reason why I considered  and NOT any other site.
  • -      Conventional sites like Makemytrip, Cleartrip etc hardly list budget accommodations. The premium hotels listed there are often beyond my budget. Stayzilla lists properties with rent as low as 250-300 Rs a day in some cities.
  • -      Even for remote, less popular cities,'s collection of hotels is pretty good. Few other sites said 'No hotels found' for same city.
  • -      All hotel booking sites seem to assume that people are happy with fixed check in check out timings (12 noon to 12 noon etc) and will be even more happy to pay for another day if they’re arriving early or checking out late. I always look for hotels that facilitate 24 hour check in/Check out (count a day from the time I check in till next 24 hours). chat guys helped me identify hotels that allow 24 hour format. This helped me avoid booking unnecessary additional days and save some money. I could check in at 6AM, check out at 6AM next day, still pay for just 1 day, where as other hotels need me to book for 2 days
  • -       GoIbibo and Yatra did have some budget hotels, but didn’t have an online chat or a way to find out if it is fixed timing or flexible
  • -       You can block a room on stayzilla by paying just 10% of the rental amount. (Rest has to be paid before check-in, not at hotel during check in, but that is fine)
  • -       I spoke to Yaatra call centre, they said they don't have any hotel which gives 24 hour check-in, check out.
Also noticed that rent listed on is cheaper than or at par with the rent quoted on hotel’s website in most of the cases. I called up a hotel owner in Amritsar and checked if I could get a better deal. He refused to lower his quote and had a complicated process- I have to email him my request, he would then give me his bank account number, then I should transfer money, then he will confirm the booking. This process would take 2-3 days, whereas Stay zilla offered a fairly simplified process of credit card payments and at lower rates.

I usually prefer to avoid middlemen and deal with property owners directly. But in this case, I felt it is better to go via stayzilla than booking directly with the hotel, because of following reasons:
  • -       Not all hotel operators are reliable- some take money and then give us shabby rooms, others do not confirm rooms or site some problems upon check in putting us to inconvenience. So, when you don’t know the hotel owner well or if you don’t have a guarantee that hotel is reliable, it helps to have a 3rd party at your support. Booking via stayzilla enables you for free check in assistance service and if anything goes wrong during our stay, we’ll have some sort of support system.
  • -       Websites like Stayzila are expected to have some due diligence on the properties they list and have a well-defined process to confirm bookings. These things are likely to make booking confirmation head ache free, compared to bank transfers to owners and relying on email confirmation.
  • -       Most budget hotels have some makeshift website and their online booking is directed to some 3rd party booking sites, which take a cut. I would rather book via a trusted site like stayzilla which has better support system.
Some more comments
1.     Looks like stayzilla website is not yet bug free. Screen hanged couple of times while I was trying to view photos of the property. Similarly filters and few other functions gave problems. Site didn't work well on chrome, I used firefox.
2.     Need to select all rooms together and proceed to next section. While entering check in timings and other details, there is no provision to go back and add one more room or make some changes. Have to retry from beginning for that
3.    Stayzilla is yet to build proper review/rating mechanism for the listed properties. I had to refer to tripadvisor to check if there’re any negative comments on the hotel. One of the hotel, recommended by stayzilla online chat representative, I had to turn it down after trip advisor review indicated that lots of steep walking is required to get in and out of that hotel to city. One of the hotel I booked had bad reviews on trip advisor- but all the reviewers had only 1 review in their profile, so wasn't sure how reliable it is. Have asked Stayzilla for a second opinion. Let us see.
4.     After making 100% payment, stayzilla came back and told me that hotel is not accepting early morning check in because of peak season. Had to ask them to cancel my booking. Later in the evening made another booking in a separate hotel that allowed 24 hour check in
5.     Stayzilla retains our chat even after log out and previous chats show up when we login afresh. This is very useful.
6.    Getting a chat executive online is little tricky, as it involves prolonged waiting. While the counter gives an estimated time of waiting, as the count reaches single digit it often resets..
7.    There're some negative reviews about Stayzilla.(Check this), but everyone in service industry will have few negative reviews. I am hoping my experience won't be bad.

So far its only about booking experience. Actual stay experience I will share next month

Update: I’d raised a concern about a hotel I booked having negative reviews in tripadvisor. Stayzilla staff spoke to hotel management and confirmed that the staff who were responsible for poor service earlier have been replaced and I will get decent accommodation without any problems. This assurance has boosted my confidence in the website and hotel.

Other hotel reviews
Bad Experience at Honeymoon Inn * New tower at Sheraton park * Budget Hotel Messe, Berlin * South India hotel reviews


Manu Tyagi said...

I also booked hotel at andamaan for june 2014, at stayzilla . you cant believe it is in 514 inr for 24 hours . first i booked 4 nights and later i told to call center that i want only two night they happily done this job only by phone . What a service

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes, they have some guest houses and lodges at ultra low cost.

Happy Journey to Andaman

Indrani said...

Good service, fair review.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Indrani

Dhananjaya said...

My views on booking on stayzilla. I have booked in yatra, makemytrip and direct booking with hotels. All my overseas bookings done through and even in India. Out of all i liked the most. The main advantage no payment at the time booking only credit card details cancellation till 24 hours before check in no penalty. If no show in the hotel then 1st charge will be debited. Even in my case due to hotel parc soverign sigapore mistake , was ready to refund the amount, buti refused to accept as it is not fair to accept from I do agree stayzill will have 24 hr check in and hotels in small cities but paying 10% in booking then why 40%+50% in different dates not in hotel.What happens if hotel refused to give without payment as many wrote in stazilla review complaints. Stay zilla while we are checking for hotels it never ask how many members, while booking we need to add number of rooms and it is not very user friendly. Chat option will only come when you want to book the room when you are searching room, if you delay we keep getting calls from chennai numbers to assist. They will suggest some hotels but i am not sure how a executive will decide and suggest some hotels without looking any reviews on the hotel. In first place there is no review of hotels in

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Dhananjaya: Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Yes, few improvements are possible in Stayzilla like review facility, easier selection of rooms etc

Anonymous said...

I have a big complain against you guys as you have spoiled my trip and made very bad impression in front of my friends. As you send me the confirmation of 4 people after that I got my room 3 hours later to my check in time all because of you. And I have paid Rs 700 extra which I want refund. You guys are really pathetic and very inexperienced to handle. Kindly look into my matter if you have little bit of self respect then get back to me and sort out my query.

Order no 178267-1907-1419916419:

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hope they address your concerns. This is the first major complaint I am hearing about stayzilla

rakesh arora said...

one of the worst site ever. their choice of hotels is the worst. they book rooms which does not exist and even they do not respond at all. never ever book through them. they donot have even grievence cell. you can not complaint anywhere against them. I booked a sea view room in mumbai on reaching hotel they say that their sea view room is under renovation and you have to stay in the inferior room and for any refund please spaek to stayzilla. they are the worst of its kind, beware of stayzilla who just cheats you

rakesh arora said...

one of th e worst cheating site . never ever book on this site. they charge 10% then confirm the rooms whcih hotel denies. on making a complain they donot have redressal system. no customer care. aim is to chaet people

Shrinidhi Hande said...


That is very unfortunate. Could Stayzilla address your concern or give refund after you complained?

m said...

This is a fake website. They cheat you and will take all your money. I regret I book my resort with them. I have booked resort and cancelled it before it was confirmed to me. But till now I haven't got money or any response from them. Every time I call and they say that account department is busy and we will revert. No one has also reply to my email. I will update my reviews on social media as well. They have eaten up my money.

They neither reply on phone call nor on email.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

hmm, sad to hear such negative stories. Hope they address it soon

Anonymous said...

We had booked a room in Rajat Home stay from Stayzilla in Chandigarh for 2 nights and they did not bother to send the confirmation voucher. When we went to the home stay, there were no booking done and when we called back they gave some nonsense reasons and gave an alternate hotel Silver Bells which has pathetic, horrible place. Rooms were spitted with gutka,no wardrobes,no towels,stinking toilets,no service and it literally made us to walk out as we could not bear the smell. They made us stand in hot sun as booking was not confirmed. Stayzilla charged us the breakfast and did not provide the same. Stayzilla is cheating by providing false information and charging double without giving any service. The guy at Stayzilla who handled this was Alex and was totally ignorant and said he cannot give alternative and no refund nor cancel. I would suggest people to call hotels directly rather than get cheated by such mediators..Beware of STAYZILLA.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Sad to see your experience. Yes, there is risk that one out of 10 experience may go bad, as Stayzilla won't be physically checking every property all the time. Ideally stayzilla should facilitate refund/compensation if the experience is as bad as you have described