Hotwire.com: Good prices and Easy to Use!
Written: Aug 4, 2003 (Updated Nov 6, 2004)
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I needed to find a last minute hotel room in New York City for a Saturday night in August. I thought a summer weekend would provide lots of hotel availability in the City. However, on Thursday morning I checked several web sites and could not find any hotels in midtown under $100. I turned to Hotwire.com and found one listing in midtown for $93 plus tax.
WHAT IS HOTWIRE?
The following paragraph is from Hotwire.com: Hotwire's mission is to offer flexible leisure travelers a quick and easy way to get better deals on airline tickets, hotel reservations and car rentals. Through partnerships with leading travel companies, Hotwire can negotiate special prices -- Hot-Fares® and Hot-Rates® -- that can't be found anywhere else. How does it work? Our partners allow us access to their unsold inventory -- i.e., empty seats on flights, empty hotel rooms and cars sitting in the lot -- all at big savings. We pass these savings on to those travelers who can be flexible about their plans.
I don't know if the savings are as tremendous as the web site claims, but I did find a low price on a last minute booking for a hotel. Hotwire's price on my hotel room was about 10% less than other web sites that I checked for similar 3-4 star rooms in the same location.
The Hotwire site also refers quite a bit to flexibility. With hotel bookings, you have to be flexible about the actual hotel you stay in. However, the quality level, rough location and price are determined before you have to pay.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
I only wanted a hotel booking so I went to the hotel bookings part of the site. I had to enter my desired destination into the main screen. Since it was New York City, Hotwire asked me to narrow my search to different areas of the City. Once I had picked midtown, Hotwire came up with about 15 options ranging in price from $93-205. Although Hotwire tells you the number of stars the property has been rated and the basic amenities, it does not tell you the hotel name until after you pay. I chose the $93 option because it was three and a half stars and it was the cheapest in that range.
Another nice thing about Hotwire is that you can browse around and see if, for example, other parts of the city are running cheaper. It is nice to see the actual prices rather than use a site like Priceline where you still have to guess at what price would be best.
WHAT IS THE FINE PRINT?
According to Hotwire, you need a valid credit card at check-in to your hotel. This was not true for the hotel we stayed in. Hotwire also indicates that check-in time is generally 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. However, you should call the hotel to get exact information.
Hotwire requests a double-occupancy, non-smoking rooms. However, bed types and room assignments are based on hotel
availability and are at the hotel's discretion. We had no problems and got a double occupancy no-smoking room.
Extra charges? This information is from Hotwire's site: the Hotwire price includes all taxes and booking fees. However, each hotel may also have its own charges -- for example, parking (which can run $10-25 or more, depending on the city), resort fees, convention fees and energy charges. You will be required to pay any such fees
directly to the hotel (usually at check-out time). We recommend that you contact your hotel directly to inquire about any additional charges.
You can not cancel, change, exchange or get a refund on your reservation once you have paid Hotwire.
My experience was great. The web site was easy to navigate and all my questions were answered. It was very easy to select an area, view prices and pay. When we showed up at the hotel, everything went very smoothly. The only slightly negative surprise was that parking was $40 per day which was higher than the web site indicated but not entirely surprising given that we were staying in midtown New York City.
The price on Hotwire was cheaper than the price on the Hotel's web site and was decent price for midtown.
Once all my information was in, the computer revealed my hotel name. I got one email confirming my registration with the site. I got a second email confirming my hotel information. I didn't need to speak to a live person.
Although I didn't need it, customer contact information is:
Toll-free phone 24 hours a day 7 days a week:
Hotwire sells trip insurance but I didn't purchase it so I can't comment. Information is at: http://www.etravelprotection.com/hotwire.html.
I had a very positive experience using Hotwire.com and I would definitely use them again.
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Travel: Amtrak; Orbitz; Hotels.com.
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Baby Stuff: Babystyle; Babys Here Birth Announcements; Baby Universe; SoZo.
Miscellaneous: 1-800 contacts; Movie Tickets.com; Drugstore.com.
Rebate Sites: Upromise; Ebates.
What product did you purchase or try to purchase? Hotel in NYC