Travel Hack: Determining Hotwire.com Anonymous Hotels

If you’ve done any travelling in your life, you’ve likely heard of Hotwire.com. The website sells hotel rooms at an extremely cheap rate, with one condition. The condition is, you won’t know what hotel you’re reserving until after you’ve paid for it.

This is done purposefully, because it allows hotels to dump some of their hotel rooms that otherwise might not fill, without pissing off anyone who purchased a hotel at full price from their personal website and not a third party booking site.

So, purchasing a hotel room when you don’t know what the hotel is, sounds risky right? Well, if you like to live dangerously then it probably sounds like an added piece to the adventure. If you’re like me, and you like a deal but also want to make sure you don’t end up in a shitty hotel, you’re likely going to think ‘there’s got to be away around this’. And you would be right.

Here’s how to figure out what hotel the Hotwire Hotel Deal is for. Please note that this “hack” is only for people who have time to figure this out. If you’re in a hurry, this hack really isn’t for you.

(For the purpose of this post, I’m using some details I recently used for booking accommodations in Denver Colorado for a work event

Go to HOTWIRE.COM and select the location and dates that you’re looking to stay.

Hotwire will display a map of the city to display areas with hotels they have deals for. Select the area of the city you want to be in.

In my case, the work event is downtown Denver. So, I’m going to select that vicinity of the city in hopes that I don’t have to Uber everywhere, and hopefully can just walk.

By selecting the area of the city which I wish to stay in, the list changes to show only hotels in that area.

That $145 per night deal (showing second on the list in the above photo) looks like a good deal. It’s down from $219 per night. Let’s look at that one.

When you open up the $145 deal, there are three things you want to pay attention to: The ‘sample photo’ provided, the general review of the hotel, and the individual categories of which the hotel is reviewed for. It’s worth noting that all reviews on Hotwire.com are from Expedia. As Hotwire sells anonymously, they cannot accept reviews on their own site, or that would give away the anonymity. ALL REVIEWS come from Expedia. Pay attention to what I’ve highlighted with green boxes.

Overall hotel rating of 4.3/5 – Rating from Expedia as noted in Green Box.
Individual categorized ratings for Condition, quality, comfort and cleanliness. Also noted to be coming from Expedia.ca.

Now that you’ve seen these reviews on Hotwire, it’s time to go to Expedia! Select the same dates and locations to ensure you’ll get the same results.

Expedia will give you a long list of hotels in the vicinity with their nightly rates (not the Hotwire rate) and every hotel shows the overall hotel score. In the case of the example I showed, it was ranked 4.3/5. So, I know I’m looking for a hotel with the same general ranking. I highlighted the 4.3/5 in green in the following photo.

Now, if I pull up the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Denver, I see this:

The rooms have the same headboard as seen in the ‘sample photo’ from Hotwire.com. It also says, on Expedia, that rooms are sold out for the dates I’m looking for, which would make logical sense as to how it wound up on Hotwire, because hotels are known to dump their remaining rooms on Hotwire to try and fill their rooms at cheaper rates, rather than having empty rooms.

Hotwire says this hotel is 1 mile from Coors friend in Denver. Expedia says the Hampton Inn and Suites in Downtown Denver is 1 mile from Coors field.

Here’s the individual guest ratings from Hotwire

Here’s the individual guest ratings from Expedia

Condition of Hotel: Both say 4:4/5
Quality of Service: Both say 4.4/5
Room Cleanliness: Expedia says 4.6/5, Hotwire says 4.5/5

At this point, I’m pretty certain that I’m looking at Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Denver.

I ask my Colleagues if they’re good with this hotel for the work trip. They do a quick search on google and they said sure!

I purchased this hotel, and sure enough, it is!

I cannot show you my hotel reservation because it’s containing corporate information, as well as the dates of when my coworkers will be there. I don’t want creepy people to catch the attention.

Anyways, that’s how I booked $210+ dollar hotel rooms for my colleagues for $145.

Which, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t seem like a huge difference as a one off. But, my coworkers are staying for seven days and there’s four of them going. So, saving $260 per night (four coworkers) for seven nights, I just saved $1,820 for the hotel bookings.

This margin of prices widens when you start looking at luxury hotels. As I was writing this post, I looked up some luxury hotels in downtown Vancouver and there are some hotel rooms marked down from $550 to just $220.

If you have time, and you can do the research, it does pay to use Expedia to figure out what hotel is the deal on Hotwire.

9 thoughts on “Travel Hack: Determining Hotwire.com Anonymous Hotels

  1. I’d choose the Denver tram over Uber. I think it was less than $10 for a day. I could bring my bicycle which I can’t always with Uber without stowing it in the airplane suitcase. I have a friend there that you should probably know if you need anything really. She knows everybody. Not like that but, she’s networked there for almost a decade.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s genius! I would have never thought that there was a way to go around the system to uncover just which hotel it is, but you made it work! Hope you enjoy Colorado and all that it has to offer, even if it’s for work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I won’t be on this trip to Colorado. I have four coworkers going down in early August. I’ll be doing down in early September. I’ll be doing the same hack then, too. Even if it’s on the corporate card, a good deal is still a good deal!

      Liked by 1 person

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