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Soon, All The Hotels Will Be Fighting Over Your Reservation

March 19, 2012 at 10:58 AM | by | ()

A new booking website has launched with a rather interesting (and some—though not necessarily us—might call scandalous) platform: make hotels do all the hard work and bid for your reservation. Kinda has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

We haven't tried the service ourselves, but recently stumbled upon an in-depth review of BackBid on this blog, and got all excited thinking about ways we can turn the tides in our favor on future reservations. Basically: BackBid combines the lowest-price-around benefits of blind booking sites like Priceline and Hotwire with the transparency of mobile booking app HotelTonight.

And while we remain staunch supporters of HT (after all, we relish any opportunity for some spontaneous last-minute hotel booking), this new kid on the block has us a little curious. If the ring opens up to allow hotels to fight over our reservations, things could get ugly fast.

But is that necessarily a bad thing?

According to Chris Elliott, a recent traveler who had booked a stay with St Regis San Francisco posted his reservation on BackBid. Within hours, seven competing hotels contacted him offering better deals. And this is BackBid's basic MO—everyone, from the traveler to the originally-booked hotel to the competing hotels, are dealing in the open. No prices are hidden, no names are un-published. And in the end, it's the traveler who has the final word.

"Hotels may then submit bids to encourage travelers to “abandon” their current reservation — that’s the company’s word, not mine — and book with their property instead. The new reservation is nonrefundable and can’t be changed, and your card is charged immediately."

Unsurprisingly, people are way into this novel concept. It's simple enough to appeal to inexperienced travelers, yet efficient enough to get hotels on board. Though BackBid won't divulge all of its participating hotels, an exec told Elliott "the site is growing exponentially."

Would you allow your reservation to be fought over like a piece of meat? Is it worth compromising your original reservation just to save a few extra dollars? We wanna know what you think!

[Photo: HotelChatter]

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