How To Determine Hotwire's Hidden Hotels Before You Book
August 31, 2009 at 9:44 AM
Expedia Inc. has been on a bit of convergence spree recently. A few weeks ago our sister blog Jaunted reported on how the travel mega-company integrated Expedia and SeatGuru, and in the meantime they've also integrated TripAdvisor and Hotwire. That last part integration has the potential to be particuarly yummy, though not for the reasons Expedia intended (they thought customers would benefit from seeing TripAdvisor reviews on Hotwire - not so much).
Instead we're excited because the TripAdvisor/Hotwire integration may help Hotwire bidders crack the opaque site's hidden hotels. Hotwire has an interest in minimizing what a customer knows about the hotel being considered, lest they decide that they're not getting a deal and move on.
Customers have the opposite interest and try to figure out as much about the hotel as possible. The new TripAdvisor/Hotwire arrangement exposes so much data that many customers will be able to figure out exactly what hotel Hotwire is offering them, and will be able to accept or decline accordingly.
We got the idea from My Money Blog, which has step-by-step instructions and screenshots for the entire process. The investigation begins with checking out the Betterbidding.com hotel map for your region, something we've advised you to do time and again. The map should usually narrow your guesses down to two or three hotels.
Here's where the TripAdvisor integration comes in. Hotwire shows three data points from TripAdvisor: rating, number of reviews, and date of last review. The number of reviews are rounded off to the next-lowest 20 (35 reviews are listed as 20+, 41 reviews are listed as 40+, and so on). If you check the hotel list from Betterbidding.com on TripAdvisor, one of them will almost certainly match the hidden hotel from Hotwire.
It's an Internet maxim that information wants to be free. We can only imagine that this counts double for information about really sweet hotel deals.
What are your tricks for decoding the mystery hotels of Hotwire? Or do you just throw caution to the wind? Let us know in comments below.
[Photo: Julo / Wiki Commons]