LO-BA-NY Test Explained

The LO-BA-NY Test is a simple method to rank travel booking apps and websites, when we look for cheap flights and accommodations. We couldn’t find any other “objective” methodology, so we decided to develop our own.

Basic Information

Origin: Athens, a great but poorly ranked city in terms of quality of living.

Destinations: London, Bangkok and New York, the most popular cities for travelers in Europe, Asia and the Americas, according to MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. The name of the test reflects this combination.

Flight search and booking apps and websites tested: Adioso, Cheapflights, Expedia, Hipmunk, Hopper, KAYAK, Kiwi.com, momondo, Skyscanner.

Accommodation search and booking apps and websites tested: Agoda, Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, FlipKey, HomeAway, HomeToGo, Hotels.com, Wimdu.

Most recent test: April 12, 2017
Overall test duration: 3.5 hours
Number of tests so far: 3

How It Works

This test simulates the booking of a flight and a room/apartment in London, Bangkok and New York, supposing we are based in Athens, with the need for a retreat. The bookings are made for a couple (2 weeks trip; economy, max. 1 stop and time convenient flights only; 3 stars hotel value price or equivalent vacation rentals and accommodations), in 2 different periods of the year (spring and fall).

Each travel app or website gets a score, represented by a mix of quantitative and qualitative components:

  • Flight booking – 85% quantitative (the simple average of the six bookings’ results) and 15% qualitative (price transparency, speed, UX, and additional features)
  • Accommodation booking – 65% quantitative (the simple average of the six bookings’ results) and 35% qualitative (quality of the offer, price transparency, speed, UX, and additional features)

Final Remarks

The best performers are listed in our essential travel apps and websites and the test is repeated every six months, to ensure its relevance and take into account market developments. New contenders have the same chance to be included.

The LO-BA-NY Test has no scientific backing and it may be challenged, but it works for us, and we think that, in any case, it’s better than pure chit-chatting and paid reviews. If you know of any other better method, please let us know.