Using Hotwire.com to Book Hotels: A Short Review of Hotwire’s Services

March 20, 2001

Though it has not quite reached the level of popularity of its competitors, Hotwire.com is growing in popularity for everything from booking cruises to arranging car rentals. It is definitely a great resource for any traveller, whether business or pleasure, who wants to save money while still staying at a quality hotel.

How Hotwire.com Works

As their website states, Hotwire works only with well-known brands so that the traveller will recognize the name of the hotel they choose. The catch, though, is this: Hotwire only discloses the name of the hotel after you the booking is confirmed. This is why Hotwire is able to offer such low rates. (However, if you need to know the name of your hotel before you book, they do offer slightly higher rates that will show you the information.)

Hotwire.com is Easy to Use

It takes only a few seconds to find low rates. After the destination and arrival and departure dates are entered, the website presents your options. Details presented about each hotel include the price per night, amenities included, and the star-rating.

The star-rating is useful because Hotwire does not only provide the rating, it also provides examples of the hotels who fall under that rating. For instance, 2-star hotels include Comfort Inn and Days Inn, while 4-star includes Delta, Hyatt, and Omni-Hotels. This makes it easier to understand the rating system than other travel websites who only describe each level.

Though they do not provide the name or exact location of the hotel until after the reservation is confirmed, Hotwire does also provide an approximate location by showing an area map. This allows you to see whether the hotel is, for example, in Downtown Toronto East, near the airport, or in North York, and whether it is near the attractions to which you plan to go.

How Does Hotwire Compare to Other Travel Sites?

It takes only a quick search to prove that Hotwire’s prices are signficantly better than those of other popular travel sites. One customer stayed at a 4-star hotel in Toronto, Ontario that would cost $589 per night to book directly through the hotel, or $121 per night through Travelocity or Expedia. Thanks to Hotwire.com, that customer paid only $85 per night, and got to enjoy the gym, pool, and many restaurants the hotel offered.

Another service that Hotwire is able to offer its customers is the guarantee that if you find a lower price than theirs at the same hotel, they will pay you back double the difference between the prices. With a guarantee like that, it may actually pay to use Hotwire!

Hotwire’s Weaknesses

Of course, Hotwire isn’t quite perfect. There is one real drawback to using the website – in order to guarantee their low prices, when a traveller confirms their booking, they pay immediately, after which no cancellations or refunds will be provided for any reason. While trip protection can be purchased for only $8.00, this only covers certain situations. Other than this, though, the website makes it very clear that they will not refund any cancelled or unused reservations. However, even if one were to book a hotel for two nights and cancel one night, there is a good chance that the cost would still be lower than booking only one night through one of the other travel websites.

For someone who does not intend to cut their trip short, though, Hotwire is definitely a good choice for booking hotels. All it takes is choosing the desired area, deciding on a star-rating, and clicking “Confirm”. And who knows, maybe the money saved on hotels can be put towards an extra day of vacation!