When most people travel, the biggest expense concern is usually flights. There are great flight tips, tricks, and reward systems that can help you save on your travel budget. However, it seems to me that hotel expenses continue to grow, as I am still shocked at prices when I try to book a room, and it has become one of the biggest expenses for traveling. There are plenty of awesome websites that you can use to get the best deals on hotels, such as Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, etc. If you are not using any of these, then you are definitely missing out. One of the hotel discount websites I have often used is Hotwire, which operates a little differently than the others.
Things to Know About Hotwire:
- Hotwire has a comparable format to that of Expedia, Travelocity, etc., where you can find discounted hotel and flight deals and compare prices. However, Hotwire also has a cheaper, unique, and risky format if you would like to try to get the best deal possible.
- The risk that is involved with the Hotwire hotel reservation system is that instead of knowing the hotel name when you compare prices, Hotwire has you choose by area and then pick a hotel based on ratings, price, and a few details other than the name. For example, if you are traveling to the Los Angeles area, Hotwire has a variety of areas to choose from, whether you want a hotel near the LAX airport, a hotel in Beverly Hills, or a hotel near Santa Monica Beach. Once you pick your area, a list appears where each option has a price, the number of stars the hotel has received, what percentage of Hotwire members have recommended the hotel, and a few key aspects of the hotel such as if the hotel is pet friendly or if the hotel provides an airport shuttle. You can click on a specific choice to get an extended description, and a range of details are provided except for the actual name of the hotel.
- Hotwire claims that the hotels keep their name hidden until you book so that not everyone knows that they offer their lower prices, but right before you book Hotwire provides examples of the types of hotels you might get. Sometimes, they even tell you what hotel a person that booked before you, under the same price and description, received.
- Hotwire is used globally, so you could find hotel deals in New York city or in Paris, but bigger cities and towns will have more options while less popular areas might not even show up on Hotwire.
- After using Hotwire a handful of times, my only issue has been with the type of room. On some of the transactions, there is an option to gurantee a king size bed, however when traveling with two people, I have not been able to guarantee having two beds in the room. Even when calling the hotel directly, after booking the room through Hotwire, they claim that when using Hotwire you cannot gurantee that they will provide two beds even when indicating that there is two people when booking the dates.
- Hotwire also has options to rent a car, book a flight, or choose a vacation bundle, where you are booking either a hotel and car, a hotel and flight, or all three. While Hotwire has a risk option for booking hotels without a name first, the car, flight, and bundle options all give the names of the companies first.
- When booking the bundles it appears that you can only choose a roundtrip plane ticket, however once you pick your options, call Hotwire before booking and they will allow you to pay for a one way ticket if needed.
- When booking a flight, make sure that you receive an email after booking it on Hotwire and that you follow through with the airline company, whether online or by phone, to make sure you have a seat. For example, I booked a flight for American Airlines through Hotwire and did not think to double check on the American Airlines website. While my place on the flight was reserved, I did not pick my seat right away and had to take the last seat available when I did my twenty-four hour flight check-in, even though I booked the flight a month earlier.