It’s David vs. Goliath. Will Rome2rio.com win in a head-to-head battle with Google Flights, Google Maps, and Google Hotel Meta-Search? Will Rome2Rio give better value using its travel search engine and save costs on your next trip in comparison with Google travel planning and booking tools? Read this Rome2rio review to find out.
Rome2rio review: TravelTech that gives users added value
Rome2rio is a great story, two brilliant ex-Microsoft software engineers, Bernhard Tschirren and Dr. Michael Cameron started their own company trying to create new value for travelers. They created a new value proposition and achieved what internet giants Google and Expedia Group (Expedia, hotels.com, trivago and booking.com, Kayak, momondo and more) had failed to, despite being active for many years.
When Rom2rio started out, they had to create new value in order to generate traction for users used to planning and booking their vacations on websites and platforms with hundreds of millions of users, providing good, reliable service (booking.com – 500,000,000 visits per month, Expedia – 70,000,000 million visit per month, Google 60,000,000,000 visits per month, results according to similarweb.com – July 2019). A decade after its launch, Rome2rio has established itself as an important platform providing valuable and unique service to millions of users. See here a screenshot from similarweb showing more than 20 million visits monthly only on their website.
What’s more, if you add users using the Rome2Rio app, we will get to a substantial number of users enjoying Rome2Rio services.
You must try Rom2Rio the next time you make travel plans
So why did no one think of this service (a multimodal transport travel search engine) that Rome2Rio thought of? I don’t know. Perhaps because Google is so big that it decided to segment its services and develop separately its maps tools, flight planning tool, and hotel meta-search engine. The other two big players, Expedia and Booking are probably too concentrated on bookings and conversions and less about creating planning tools for travelers. Rom2rio gave more thought to a comprehensive solution for the person who wants to plan a vacation.
Rome2rio is ingenious! I can assure you that. We as consumers are not always rational or logical when we have to solve a problem. Sometimes I will say, I will save $20 and sit on a bus another 4 hours because I hate plans or the last time I flew I was frustrated by the security controls. Rome2rio is the only comprehensive planning tool that lets you choose between renting cars, using trains or planes or any combination between them. But this is not what I would like to test.
The question that this Rome2rio review is trying to answer is if you choose to stay only on Rome2Rio and their partners (Skyscanner and booking.com) will you save money on your next trip when comparing results to planning and booking everything on Google – Google Flights, Google Maps and Google Hotel Meta-Search?
Introduction to Rome2Rio Travel Booking Engine
Rome2rio: Head-to-head with Google – Google Maps, Google Flights, and Google Hotel Meta-Search
So in this Rome2rio review, I put the service its biggest challenge so far: Going up against the biggest search engine in the world – Google.
Google wants a larger piece of the travel industry, not only as an advertising platform but also selling travel-related products as an affiliate.
It will be interesting to see if they give a better service than Rome2rio and save the user money.
The challenge: Berlin to Venice and back in July
I wanted to check how best to get from Berlin to Venice by plane or by train and then to find a decent hotel in Venice for a few days.
For this Rome2rio review, I went into the site and punched in Berlin to Venice and got the screenshot below.
Must say the page I got is the best overview page I ever got when planning a route. Showed everything clearly; transportation options, time of travel, and prices.
I looked up the price of the flight – a Ryanair flight, return ticket for 172 Euro.
I thought it was a good price taking into consideration that I wanted to book only one week in advance before the flight.
Went on to Google Flights and gave the same dates for a flight from Berlin to Venice and back. Google Flight search engine found me a much cheaper flight. An Easyjet flight for 119 Euro. So I would have saved more than 50 euro with Google.
>>Find the cheapest flight online
Rome2rio vs. Google Maps: The train challenge
Now I went on to check the train display page and booking option. Must say again the display page of routes, map and prices are great. Because Rome2rio has an agreement with the German railway (Deutsche Bahn) you can go directly and book the tickets.
So I went on to the booking engine of the German railroad and got a price of 189.80 Euro. According to Rome2Rio’s recommendation, the next step would have been a bus from Munich to Venice for 102 Euro. The process from choosing to booking was fairly simple and user-friendly.
Went on to check Google Maps to see how can I plan and buy my train and bus ticket to Venice.
The first display page was good and very similar to Rome2rio. This was the only page that makes it easy to see the route and plan. The following pages were a disaster.
Following the first display page showing the train and bus route, I went on to the schedule page to find the train I was looking for. I could not figure out how to plan a return ticket and could not figure out how they create a timetable that made sense to combine the train and buses. This tool doesn’t really help you.
If you would like to book tickets, Google Maps directs you to the designated companies to book there. So you have to start your search queries again.
In comparison to Rome2rio, it doesn’t really match as a user-friendly booking tool.
Next Challenge – Rome2rio (booking.com) vs. Google Hotel Meta Search
I stayed on the Rome2rio platform and was directed to booking.com. One of their main income sources is selling their users hotel rooms through booking.com, making commissions as an affiliate partner.
Found this nice hotel in Venice – Holiday Inn Mestre Marghera for 124 Euro.
I went to Google Meta-Search engine and looked for the same hotel on the same dates. As you can see below I got an offer that is 10% cheaper than booking.com. Well, the biggest search engine in the world brings all the sellers to the bidding window and makes it possible to find cheaper prices than booking.com.
>> Best Hotel Comparison Websites
Rome2Rio against GOOGLE – Conclusion
Google’s mission statement is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. My conclusion is that David beat Goliath at his own game. This Rome2rio review finds that Rome2rio is a better travel search engine than the Google products it runs against.
The conclusion of our Rome2rio review is that Rome2rio thinks about the person who is looking to make travel plans. The options, prices, and routes are presented clearly enabling the traveler to make an informed decision based on all options. On the other hand, Google Flights and Google Hotel Meta-Search beat booking.com in the hotel price and Skyscanner in the flight price. This only comes to show that Google uses its search engine capabilities to find the best deal. Its immediate presence at the top of the page will lead to growing numbers of users that will opt for Google at the expense of Booking.com and Skyscanner and Expedia.
So in a nutshell, the conclusion of our Rome2rio review: Rome2rio is a better comprehensive planning and booking tool, Google is cheaper.
Rome2rio.com is grossly misleading. For example flight time LIS to PIX is 2 hours and not 5 or even 3 hours as they claim. Also, car ferry from Madalena (PIX) to Horta (HOR) by car ferry is not €3 to €6 but for pedestrian €7 and for a car is €21.
interesting – I will have a look