How often has it happened where you have done your homework, spoken to others, researched the internet, and still, you have either paid too much for your vacation stay, or you have not received value for money? There are so many tales of travelers who have had such a bad experience, even from hotels that are part of some of the top name brand chains. If you’re tired of paying top dollar for overvalued accommodations, consider giving Hotwire’s Secret Hotel search function a try.
Imagine booking 4 or 5 star hotels for as much as half of the regular retail price. They are able to do this by partnering with a number of hotels at various vacation spots around the world. The hotels fill up their empty hotel rooms without having to divulge that rooms are empty. Keeping the name of the hotel hidden until you book the hotel allows for the hotel to offer very competitive prices below their advertised retail prices. Also, it prevents a deluge of requests for refunds or compensation from guests who may have booked their stay at the regular retail rate. Many travellers are quite savvy, and know what a 4 or 5 start hotel room can retail for normally, based on location and amenities offered.
How does Hotwire Secret Hot Rate work?
On the main website, simply type in your destination, your check in and check out dates, the number of rooms, and the number of guests. Once complete, click on the Search for your hotel button and Hotwire’s search function will do the rest.
Searching the Hotwire Secret Hotel listings will display a number of hotels based on your location, which you can then filter by price, star rating, general area and hotel facilities. These choices allow you to narrow down your search to find exactly what best suits what you are looking for. One of the great benefits of the search listings is the fact that the total price for the hotel stay is listed right on the listing; the per night price listed underneath. Also, each individual entry lists the amenities or facilities available, as well as a review rating from trip adviser.
Clicking on a listing’s Details button will provide you with an overview of the hotel along with a map of the general area where the hotel can be found. Also, at this point, you can then choose to book the hotel chosen by clicking on the Book now button. The booking screen will request the usual information such as name and address, as well as credit card information. Once you accept the terms, conditions and policies, you will chose the Confirm payment button and your credit card will be charged the full amount. At this time, once the hotel has been booked, you will then learn the name and exact location of the hotel you have booked.
It should be noted that all bookings are final and cannot be cancelled, refunded, changed, exchanged or transferred. This applies even if you don’t stay for the full amount of time booked. Also, the total price does not cover extra services such as parking or amenities fees which are paid directly to the hotel. Once you have booked your hotel and you know the name of your hotel, it is advised that you contact the hotel to inquire about any additional fees, to ensure you do not receive a shock upon check out.
There might also be additional taxes imposed by the local or national government, depending on the hotel location. This is something else that can be confirmed by speaking to the hotel once your stay has been booked. Hotel stays are not eligible for hotel reward points or club programs. This may be a detractor for some travelers, but for many travelers, it is more important to find the best value for the price paid, or even the best price available.
One of Hotwire’s most attractive guarantees, besides their guarantee to provide immediate service should you encounter any issues with your booking, is the Low Price guarantee. The Low Price guarantee states that if you find a lower rate for an identical booking, within 48 hours, Hotwire will pay you the difference between the rates, with some conditions.
For your next travel booking, be it a planned getaway or a last minute vacation, try the Hotwire.com/UK site and surprise yourself with the savings.
More About Hotwire
Hotwire is a leading discount travel website that offers low prices on air fares, hotels, rental cars, cruises and all-in holiday packages. The deals offered by the company come from unsold travel inventory obtained from providers at discounted rates.
Hotwire was founded in 2000 in San Francisco by six individuals with a background in the travel industry and the support of six major U.S. airlines. Start-up funding was provided by private equity investment. In 2003 the company was bought by IAC/InterActiveCorp, which then spun off the company in 2005 under the Expedia umbrella.
Hotwire was one of the first companies to promote opaque airline tickets, offering customers significant discounts on airfares in return for anonymity in the booking process – withholding the name of the provider until after the purchase was made. By selling tickets in this way it allowed the company to obtain heavily discounted tickets from the airlines who sought to clear unsold inventory. A few months after launching opaque air fares Hotwire expanded its opaque offering with hotel and car hire, later adding to this by selling cruises and holiday packages. A leading force in the U.S. market Hotwire today operates in 12 counties worldwide.
Hotwire has been recognised for its service performance by several organisations. This has included being ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Independent Travel Web Sites” by J.D. Power and Associates Travel Web Site Satisfaction StudySM, an award it has won on three occasions. Hotwire has also achieved top ranking for hotel travel websites several times on the Market Metrix Hospitality Index (MMHI), which is based on feedback from 35,000 U.S. based customers.
Hotwire has been featured in a number of UK publications including The Economist, Daily Mirror, The Telegraph and the Evening Standard. The Economist recommended the site, particularly for those who are familiar with the cities and knew the locations in which hotels were based. The writer for the Daily Mirror had used the site to stay in Madrid and managed to book a 4-star room at a discount of 50 percent.
Policies for changes to booking and cancellation vary according to the hotel and the type of room reserved. Hotwire allows customers to make changes or cancel bookings within a specified period of time but charges a fee accordingly. Details of these charges are given prior to the customer making the final booking and will also appear in both the booking confirmation email and customer’s account on the Hotwire website. In situations where the cancellation period has expired the company will charge the applicable room rates, tax recovery changes and service fees, in addition to the cancellation or change fees.
In the event that a customer finds themselves unable to stay on the first night of their reservation but plans to arrive after this they are advised to contact the company with the details by the first night of the reservation at the latest in order to avoid the reservation being cancelled. In addition, requests for refunds in situations where a customer has not arrived or has checked out early must be made within 60 days after check-outs.
When making a booking through Hotwire customers are offered cancellation insurance which protects against certain eventualities, such as medical issues. More complete details can be found when booking.
Hotwire is owned by Expedia, which also runs TripAdvisor, hotels.com, classicvacations.com and Egencia.
Hotwire utilises technology in a major way as part of its customer offering. Users operate bookings via a customer account and this allows Hotwire to personalise the customer’s visit so that their preferences are remembered for the length of a session (set at one year). It is this personalisation and continuity across mobiles devices and computers that enables the site to create a seamless customer experience.
Hotwire has also developed several travel tools that have been designed to help customers maximise savings and help customers make decision about multiple aspects of their trips. It incorporates deciding where to go and what to do at the destination along with suggestions on events and activities during their stay. TripStarter combines historical airfare and hotel pricing information to help customers decide the optimal time of year to visit places. It also provides information on local weather, events and attractions. Another tool, TripWatcher, gives travellers real time, customised updates on flight prices for routes they have tagged. Recently Hotwire launched a free mobile app for the UK market that allows customers to access all the website deals and to make bookings on the go. The app produces an interactive map that identifies the person’s current location (or any other chosen by the user) and displays available hotels in the surrounding area.
Hotwire regularly publishes research findings on the travel industry. This includes the Travel Value Index, which uses data from the company and third parties to rank destinations in the U.S., helping travellers to identify destinations that offer the greatest value. The company also produces the Hotwire Hotel Rate Report, a monthly publication on the top 10 U.S. cities that have seen the biggest hotel price reductions. While much of the company’s research focuses on the U.S. it has also investigated the UK market, reporting that British travellers were paying £340m per year in excess baggage charges. Linked to this research, the company produced a list of the hand luggage and excess baggage policies of the major airlines operating form the UK, including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.