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How To Determine Hotwire's Hidden Hotels Before You Book

August 31, 2009 at 9:44 AM | by | ()

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]

Archived Comments:


I can narrow it down between two hotels and then just leave it up to chance. But really, if you book four or five-star hotels you won't be disappointed. Of course, sometimes the location is not always perfect but Hotwire is still a great way to get a deal.

ID a Hotwire Hotel

I agree with Juliana that booking a 4 or 5-star hotel will help to avoid disappointment but sometimes you want to know the name/location.  I'm thinking of Las Vegas, for example, or when I need to be close to public transit.  I personally use www.HotelDealsRevealed.com to help me identify a hotwire hotel by matching up the amenities.


A client wanted a West Hawaii hotel on the ocean.  I was familiar with most of the hotels on the "Gold Coast" of Kona, Hawaii (Waikoloa), but the prices were in season, and extremely high.

Contacting Hotwire, I found several with very good prices, and 4 or 5 stars.  Choosing one I thought would be perfect for the client, the print-out was a hotel in Waikoloa, but in the VILLAGE, not on the coast.  The write-ups were in error, as they mentioned the "coast", "near" the beaches, etc.  The Village of Waikoloa is 20 miles away...a far walk to the beach.

Calling Hotwire to explain their mapping and description mistakes, they insisted the coast and the Village were the same!  At this point, I insisted on speaking with a Supervisor, who reluctantly changed my hotel to a coastal 5-star.  

My suggestion to Hotwire, and any other Blind-Bidding companies, is to have their employees at least familiar with the areas they work with. As I inadvertantly found out, no one at Hotwire had ever been to the Big Island. They didn't know there were two "Waikoloa's"!

That's simple just don't book with HotWire

I've booked the hotel with hotwire, payed more than hotel website at the same time.
Hotwire refused to return money saying that they only guarantee pre-tax, pre-fees prices. Guess what, the website  reduces the hotel price and bumps the fees. Be aware - you might pay more with hotwire and you never can cancel your reservation.

Don't book with HotWire

Recently booked a auto rental for a price that appeared rational, however when got to the pick up and extra extra cash was asked. I've not had any confusion no customer service can be inferior than this. They make people waste money and time. This is the way Hotwire is making money with all purchasers that book something that isn't authentic. I would rather suggest to go for <a href="http://www.theholidayhotels.com">http://www.theholidayhotels.com</a> At least I was never turned down by that one!