Recently Hotwire has been running an ad campaign where they claim you can save up to 60% on hotels you don’t know the name of. Some unseen interviewer always asks an ordinary looking person if he or she would book a hotel without knowing the name, which is usually no. But what if the hotel is 60% off? Figurative dollar signs pop up in their eyes as they think about saving that much money for a 4 star hotel. It’s a good advertisement in convincing people to give the mystery box hotel a shot as long as they’re guaranteed incredible savings! But the savings are not always guaranteed and 60% is the rare exception not the rule.
First you have to know there are traps on Hotwire: Hotels that have “hidden” rates barely a few dollars from what you could book them for on a regular site like expedia or booking.com. For example the following is a secret hotel listing on Hotwire for the Las Vegas Area.
A 4 star hotel for $46 doesn’t look that bad! But because I already identified many of these hotels on my own website I know that this “secret” hotel is actually the South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa. A nice hotel, but on regular booking sites you can get a room on the same day for $49. Let’s replay that earlier commercial and instead ask if the ordinary person would book a hotel without knowing the name if they could save only $3 or 6%. The answer would be “no” for everyone but the most neurotic money saver.
The best way to know if you are getting close to the 60% savings is to know what the hotel is! Then you can look up for yourself the open market rates and how much you will save by going through Hotwire. The commercial says you can get up to 60% savings on a 4 star hotel without knowing the name, but I am saying you can get close to 60% savings on a hotel and know what hotel it is and exactly how much you are saving before booking. Follow the tools and guidance on this website and the next time you see a Hotwire commercial on the Television you can let out a chortle since you can outsmart that typical Hotwire user to get the best deal available.