January 31, 2009

Using Hotwire and Betterbidding.com for good hotel rates

I've looked at Hotwire in the past but normally I had decided against using it because I didn't like the blind nature of not knowing what specific hotel you were buying in advance. The other day though I was looking to book a weekend reservation and Hotwire said that the hotels would be like the Red Lion, Radisson or Holiday Inn and those all sounded fine to me. I got a little more curious so I did a google search for "3 star" and the name of the city in question and I found this website called Better Bidding. The Better Bidding forum is a site where users share information on which hotels are sold by Hotwire and Priceline for specific star ratings. With the Better Bidding site I was able to get some useful information on the hotels offered by Hotwire and this gave me confidence to go ahead and buy there. I ended up saving a lot in the process.

For example say you are interested in visiting Las Vegas. You go to Hotwire and they say that they have 4 star hotels on Center Strip for $76 a night. Thats a decent price for a 4 star hotel but you don't know what hotel you're getting. If you go to the Better Bidding forum for Vegas you find their sticky for Nevada and within that they list all the hotels people have reported. For center strip 4 star hotels in Vegas they list Paris, Planet Hollywood and Treasure Island. If I do a search on Orbitz for the same date I see that those hotels are much more. Treasure Island is $89, Planet Hollywood at $135 and Paris at $145. But I also see on Orbitz that Ballys is $65 and Luxor is $72. So in this case I can see that the price for the hotels offered by Hotwire is better than Orbits but I also find that there are cheaper comparable quality hotels at Hotwire. Maybe you like the prospect of TI, Planet Hollywood or Paris at a $76 rate or maybe you'd be happier paying $65 for Ballys or $72 for Luxor. Either way using Better Bidding forum gives you more information to make an informed choice.

While Hotwire isn't always a great deal I think it is usually very cheap compared to the other sites. When I made my bid I got a 3 star hotel for a 2 star price. The only hotels on Orbitz, Expedia or Yahoo Travel that were as cheap as the HOtwire rate were in the 1-2 star range.

is a great resource to use along with Hotwire.

One big thing to be aware of with Hotwire though is that purchases from their service are not refundable and you can't cancel or change them. That can be a big deal. If you think you might need to change or cancel your reservations then I'd recommend against using Hotwire. If you're fairly sure that you'll keep the travel plans then its a good way to save on rates.

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