I love Hotwire!!! There…I said it. Hotwire.com is the biggest of the blind bidding sights. They save you big $$$$ on hotel rooms by selling excess inventory on a semi-blind basis. Hotels love it because they can sell rooms that would otherwise remain empty without having to publish the low, low price they are willing to accept for unsold inventory. I love it because not only do they have great prices, but they also give you just enough information about the “blind” hotel that you can usually figure out where you’re going to stay before you buy (FYI the moment you hit “Confirm Payment” you are committed to the sale).
For example, I needed a hotel room in downtown Chicago for Friday, March 13, 2015. On Expedia and Hotels.com everything decent was about $200 plus taxes. I searched Hotwire for a hotel in the Magnificent Mile-River North area near the fundraiser we were attending at The Drake Hotel. I selected a 4 star hotel that showed a list price of $199 a night discounted to $98 (plus $26.62 taxes and fees) on Hotwire. Hotwire revealed that the hotel had a 90% satisfaction rating with its customers. They also revealed the following hotel amenities: free internet, boutique hotel, smoke-free rooms, fitness center, restaurant (s), internet access and spa services. I can usually take that information and check out Expedia or Hotels.com and try to narrow down the potential hotels. However, there at least seven 4 star “boutique” hotel in that area: The Thomson, The Godfrey, The Tremont, Palomar Chicago, Hotel Felix, Public Hotel and The Dana Hotel.
In that case I head to BetterBidding.com to narrow down the field. BetterBidding.com tries hard to let you glimpse behind the Hotwire curtain and figure out which hotel you will win before finalizing your purchase. They have some very nice features: 1) a “calendar of wins” which is simply a list of hotels people have recently won in each city, and 2) a list of hotels which participate in Hotwire in each city (broken down by star rating and area of the city). They will also let you submit a list of the amenities of the hotel you’re thinking about grabbing (like my amenities list above) and, eventually, help you make an educated guess about which hotel you will “win” if you confirm your Hotwire purchase. That is a slow process and not ideal if you need to make a quick decision. The hotel I Hotwired turned out to be the beautiful Godfrey Hotel, 127 W. Huron Street, in Chicago. The Godfrey has beautiful rooms (although a bit on the small side), a great location and an extra cool vibe at its amazing IO Urban Rooftop. Shot and a goal!!!
Please feel free to share your Hotwire “wins” or stories with the Traveldealalert.com community.