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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Have you heard of Hotwire?

I don't write this blog to promote different companies but as I do write about things that I have experienced and used, I will of course be mentioning companies that I personally like. Hotwire is just one of many sites that I currently use and check when planning a trip.

Hotwire is a broker with a twist. They offer the usual; flights, hotels and car hire. The difference is that they don't tell you the name of the company that you are booking with until you have paid. It is so to say a bit of a gamble.

So, apart from the adventure of not knowing anything for certain, why use this site? Well, as they say themselves; because they are not advertising the name of the flight operator, hotel or car rental, they can indeed be cheaper than other brokers.

As with anything, there are times when they are a good deal cheaper and other times when you will find better deals elsewhere. You just need to double-check with a few sites as nothing is ever given.

I have only tried to book hotels trough Hotwire and I have been very happy with the outcome. Please note though that most hotel offers come without breakfast included. Something to think about before making that booking.

Have anyone of you tried Hotwire and found it beneficial?

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  1. Hotwire and Priceline offer good hotel rates. I used these services frequently when I started frequent travel ten years ago. The rooms were generally in good quality chain brand hotels. I used these opaque online travel agencies for hotels in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

    On average I booked rooms for 40% to 60% of the published rate on the hotel site. The rooms were nice, but generally the room was on lower floors, more likely to not have the preferred hotel view. Most importantly reservations are nonrefundable and nonchangeable.

    Then I started loyalty traveling. The basic idea is to stay frequently with one hotel chain and attain elite status. Book cheap rooms when available, use hotel loyalty promotions strategically, and take hotel staycations when rates are really low around my home region. I found that I could stay in upscale hotels for about 30% more than Priceline or Hotwire.

    The difference is the added-value of the loyalty program. An elite member gets the preferred view room, often with a complimentary room upgrade, free breakfast at times, free internet at times, and hotel points which are a rebate on a future hotel room.

    I have shown in my blog how the added-value can typically be 100 to 200% on the hotel spending if you plan your travel around promotions.

    This means when I spend $500 at chain hotels there is a good possibility that my $500 investment is seeing a return of $1,000 to $1,500 in value for the upgraded hotel rooms I receive and the free nights I receive on future stays.

    I took a $2,000 hotel tour in Australia which provided $5,000 in free rooms at luxury hotels in Europe.

    Hotwire and Priceline are great for the occasional deal when there are few cheaper options. Hotel loyalty programs are great deals for frequent travelers who spend more than 30 nights per year in hotels.

  2. Thanks for great input. I agree with you. Hotwire is good for the occasional hotel deal and the loyalty programs better for frequent travellers.