Travel Website of the Week: Dohop

DohopIn 2010, I wrote about Dohop and its powerful flight search. Back then, it warranted a feature as a “Bonus Website of the Week.” Six years later, Dohop has grown into an even more powerful engine for flights, hotels and rental cars—so powerful that in 2014 it was crowned “The World’s Leading Flight Comparison Website” at the World Travel Awards.

What makes it different? Working in France in 2004, founder Frosti Sigurjonsson started Dohop to solve his own problem: struggling to find the best flights back to his home country of Iceland. And ever since, his small team has been working to make Dohop “an easy-to-use flight search engine” and “the most powerful flight search engine in the world.” In 2016, the Dohop product shows signs of achievement by both measures.

The flight search, which is the search the site opens with (“Hotels” and “Rental cars” are separate tabs), is a simple, one-line-across tool. You enter your departure and return cities and your dates, and, only if necessary, change “Round trip” to “One way” and update the number of passengers from one. In a sample search I ran for roundtrip fares from New York City to Panama City departing May 5 and returning May 9, I found that Dohop’s auto-fill function offered me “Panama City, Panama” as a destination that included both of its international airports (PTY and PAC). This flexibility exists in different forms in other search engines (and is missing from others), but I found it particularly helpful here (and it would be even more helpful if you don’t know that PTY is the city’s much larger, US-serving international airport).

After selecting “New York City” as my departure city, two categories of inspirational fares came up below (before I hit “Search”): “Just for the weekend” and “Get inspired.” In both were four sample fares available on the dates selected, and notably, both groups of fares were sorted by lowest price. They were not distracting, not promotional and generally welcomed. Even better is the Dohop Go! page, its “secret deal vault.” It’s more like another page for inspiration, but you can outline your exploring with parameters for days of the week, month and duration. It’s pretty fun.

There’s also a “Find Hotels” option that you can select or unselect before you search for flights. And then when you hit search, everything comes in smoothly on the next page. The way the results are organized is logical. Fares are displayed prominently, with hotel options—if you checked the “Find Hotels” box—in a colorful but in-theme column on the right. Up top, you can with one click pivot between results sorted by “Cheapest” and by “Quickest” (the best option in both, with the corresponding price or duration, is listed beside each button). You can also account for overnight layovers, filter in/out overnight flights, see fares “self-connected” that can’t be combined in a single booking, and more. It’s pretty clever considering how simple it is to use.

Most importantly of all, this search for flights (filtering over 1200 airlines and travel websites) to Panama City pulled $437 with Avianca as the cheapest fare, the same as Kayak (listed at $435) and Priceline (listed at $438.66). Google Flights and Expedia, meanwhile, pulled higher $449 United flights as cheapest. In this one example, Dohop put itself among the top performers—and then, an alert showed up in the bottom-left corner of the Dohop page. The search had found another, cheaper flight that none of the other engines found: a $432 roundtrip with United. Nice!

Flights are clearly the bread-and-butter, but the “Hotels” and “Rental cars” search functions are similarly easy and intuitive. In a search for a hotel (filtering 800,000 properties and 20 million rooms), you have one line (three items) of boxes to fill, and you can select a small box above if you don’t have specific dates yet and you want to see what’s out there. Hitting search takes you a different page, which seems to be powered by Booking.com. Sorting by price (of course there are many other factors), Expedia came up with some cheaper options, but not by much (and mostly in non-hotel categories like guesthouses for $10/night). And the user-friendly features and details of Booking.com’s tool were great to have as part of the Dohop search.

In a search for a rental car (1,300 rental agents at 30,000 locations in 174 countries), the entire search asks for the five essentials: pickup/drop-off location, pick-up date, pick-up time, drop-off date, and drop-off time (with drop-off location as a separate time if you check the box labeled, “Different drop off location?”). In a search for a car rental in Panama City for May 5-9, the best price for a car rental was $33.56 for the five days, while on Expedia it was $23. For the same days, the lowest car available in Los Angeles through Dohop was $122.36, while Expedia pulled a higher $130 total.

The underlying theme of all three searches was simplicity. Everything was easy to figure out, efficient in finding good options, and sortable, though the flight search is definitely the strongest in my opinion. I also liked the aesthetic of the flight search better than the hotel and rental car searches. Overall Dohop proved itself to be a resource worth using with when you’re booking travel—and especially flights. The hotel and rental car options are newer, so if they grow at the same rate that Dohop’s flight search has grown, you might be hearing even more about Dohop in the years to come.

Have you tried Dohop? Let me know what you think!

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Johnny Jet

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Johnny Jet

I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

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