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Hotwire Hotel: 2.5* Williamsburg (Colonial-Busch Gardens) Comfort Inn Central


brentwoodgirl
By brentwoodgirl,
in

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We have used PRICELINE often and loved it. Decided to take a chance on HOTWIRE. I booked a 2.5 star on Hotwire last night for $79.00. Got the confirmation and turned out to be the Comfort Inn Central- a 2 star hotel by almost every other travel sites ratings. So I was already a bit upset that the rating seemed artificially raised. Then I go to the hotel's website and see the "Internet User's Rate" of $76.49 for the hotel. With tax, that rate ends up being $11.00 LESS than what I am paying on HOTWIRE!

I am so frustrated! I contacted HOTWIRE and they won't even honor there "Best Rate Guarantee" on the $2.50 rate difference.

So we are stuck paying more than we should be and staying in a 2 star hotel.

Caveat Emptor- Buyer beware!

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We used Hotwire for the first time last night for a 2.5* in Williamsburg, VA- paid $79.00 rate, $97.04 including tax and fees. Got the confirmation and it was for the Comfort Inn Central- a 2* hotel by pretty much every other travel sites ratings.

We go to the hotel's website and see a "Internet Users Rate" which is $76.49 for the same night, same room. With taxes & fees- $86.14.

So we are paying $11 MORE to stay in this hotel because we booked through Hotwire.

I contacted Hotwire and they are not willing to honor their "Best Price Guarantee", even for the rate difference of $2.50.

So we are stuck paying $11 more than if we had booked it ourselved and we are staying in a 2* hotel after buying a 2.5*.

We are going on a 13 night trip and were planning to use Hotwire to book most of it. But after our first experience, we will not ever use Hotwire again. Buyer beware- Hotwire doesn't always offer better deals and doesn't always honor its Best Price Guarantee when their price is higher.

We will direct book and use PRICELINE for the rest of our trip. (Using the search on the top here.)

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A few thoughts...

1) "Best Price Guarantees" are marketing tools that usually come with many strings attached. The point is that it sounds good, but the company rarely has to honor it. So you don't want to trust such a guarantee, no matter who gave it.

2) At a 2.5* rating, I'd be wary of using Priceline because the quality of the hotels in this category can vary quite a bit. At a minimum, I'd check this site's Priceline hotel list for the zones you are bidding on and make sure that ALL the hotels you might end up in are of acceptable quality and in a good and safe enough location.

3) If quality varies, you might be better off using Hotwire because you can usually narrow down which hotel you are going to get. So the risk decreases.

4) Regardless of whether you use Priceline or Hotwire, you want to get rates for all hotels that you might end up in as well as comparable hotels (e.g. from Expedia) and make sure not to bid more (or accept a higher price) than the lowest price for any of the eligible hotels on Expedia (after taking taxes and fees into account).

5) Due to the uncertainty about where you end up with PL or HW (you could always be the first to get a hotel not yet reported to this board) and because in case of trouble it is easier to deal with the hotel itself than with PL or HW, I would only use PL / HW if I can get a significantly lower price there than for any eligible hotel on Expedia. If you can't get a significantly lower price using an opaque product, might as well know what you get before you buy. There is more room for large discounts (dollar wise as opposed to percentage wise) at higher rated hotels, so PL / HW seem more attractive to me for these higher rated properties.

6) Although Expedia is my benchmark, I hardly ever book through them because you usually get the same rate when booking through the hotel's website directly. Again, in case of trouble a resolution is easier when less parties are involved.

So bottom line: don't trust best price guarantees and do your own homework.

I hope your future experiences with opaque products will be more pleasant.

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Welcome to BetterBidding!

I understand your frustration... sorry to hear you're not happy with this purchase or HOTWIRE's response. I'll try to shed some light on what i believe to be their viewpoint....

Got the confirmation and it was for the Comfort Inn Central- a 2* hotel by pretty much every other travel sites ratings.
For the most part, HOTWIRE averages the star ratings from Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity. This typically works fine unless one service is significantly different (more than a half a star) from the others. At each of these sites this property is rates 2*, 2* and 3* respectively, which averages to 2.33, and therefore they assign a 2.5* rating to this property. I don't have any firsthand knowledge of this property so i'm not saying this is the right/wrong star rating, but this is likely how HOTWIRE arrived at their rating. (so perhaps the underlying problem is with Travelocity rating this property 3*, but of course Travelocity has nothing to do with this purchase, only indirectly, so not much you can do in this regard)
I contacted Hotwire and they are not willing to honor their "Best Price Guarantee",
HOTWIRE's BPG only applies to the room rate, not taxes and fees, so while frustrating, this claim does not meet the terms of their double the difference guarantee. HOTWIRE is actually very good about honoring claims which meet the terms of their Best Rate Guarantee.

In regards to this trip, can you please add a reply to this thread with the dates of your stay (so this thread will appear in the Priceline and Hotwire Calendar of Wins) as well as the amenities shown before your purchase (so we can add this information to the Hotwire Hotel List for this area... you can still view this information by going to HOTWIRE and clicking the MY ACCOUNT link near the top right of their home page.

Please use the PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links on the board to begin your travel purchases.

Hope your stay goes better than you expect and surprises on the upside.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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Thanks for the replies. We did do research before booking. The 2.5* seemed to be averaging about $135 a night, so $79 seemed like a good deal.

We also checked the list here, and it only showed one 2.5* star and it had great reviews and was about $140 a night. But I totally understood before booking that the list here wasn't complete and we could get a different hotel. I'm sure they are constantly adding and removing hotels.

We have done 2.5* on Priceline many times and been very happy. We almost always have gotten something in the Marriott chain (usually a Residence Inn). I go to Midtown ATL several times a year and we always Priceline that and get one of 2 very charming Residence Inns there.

I also understand that their guarantee only applies to the room rate. So in our case $2.51 difference. Doubled would only be $5.00 and we woudl still be paying $6 more. But I still expect them to follow their own guarantee for the $5.00.

We travel very often and aren't newbies to discount travel sites. But this was my first Hotwire experience and will be my last.

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In regards to this trip, can you please add a reply to this thread with the dates of your stay (so this thread will appear in the Priceline and Hotwire Calendar of Wins) as well as the amenities shown before your purchase (so we can add this information to the Hotwire Hotel List for this area... you can still view this information by going to HOTWIRE and clicking the MY ACCOUNT link near the top right of their home page.
2x
But I still expect them to follow their own guarantee for the $5.00.
Are they not honoring the $5? If not, what is their explanation?
We travel very often and aren't newbies to discount travel sites. But this was my first Hotwire experience and will be my last.
We hope you share your wins with the board in the future.
We did do research before booking... We also checked the list here...
It would be appreciated if you used the requested PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links on the board for your purchases.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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  • 1 month later...

I just wanted to follow up on this. I filed a Better Business Bureau Report against Hotwire for not honoring their Best Price Guarantee. The BBB reviewed the case and filed an official complaint against them. Hotwire has offered $25 in hot dollars or whatever they call them. Basically a Hotwire credit. We have turned down the credit (as it is not enough to book anything and we don't intend to pay them any more money.) So the BBB is now requesting they give us the credit back on our credit card instead. We will see what Hotwire does.

The hotel was awful- peeling wallpaper in the hall, rooms, and bathroom. Mold growing in the bathroom. Water stains all down the wall by the air conditioner, Trash in the hallways. We stayed in 2 other Comfort properties on our trip that were lovely. This one was truly a pit. It was hard to believe they were all the same brand.

We sent the information about how bad the hotel was to Hotwire during the course of the BBB compaint process and they responded that they had "inspected this property this summer and were confident in their rating." So be very, very wary of Hotwire's rankings.

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Until you provide the information we requested, namely the dates and amenities of this stay, as well as HOTWIRE's explanation for not honoring their double the difference guarantee, we're really only hearing one side of the story and your lack of a reply doesn't add much to the credibility. Most companies have their faults, HOTWIRE included, but not honoring their best price guarantee isn't one of them, imo.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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We stayed at this hotel Friday July 16th for one night. I don't remember the amenities listed for the hotel room when we booked, we stayed in 8 different hotels during our 2 week trip. I checked the confirmation e-mail from Hotwire and don't see the amentities listed.

Hotwire said they couldn't find the lower price on-line, even after I read them the URL. Then I sent it to them as requested, and they never responded.

I understand that trying to undermine my credibility helps you because of your site. But this is the first time I have ever filed a BBB report against anyone. On the time vs. money scale, the $5 was not nearly worth it. I own my own business and have 3 children. But I felt like Hotwire misrepresented their services and guarantee, so I took the time to file the BBB complaint.

We used Priceline 3 times during our trip and got great deals on nice hotels- an Embassy Suites, a Radisson, and a Residence Inn, all for $55 or less. We love getting great deals on travel and appreciate this site. But it's also fair to warn other people when Hotwire is charging more than the hotel directly for hotels that are worse than represented and not honoring their guarantees. Isn't this site about giving people information so they can make the best decisions regarding their discount travel?

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I am happy to post our Priceline wins and dates to the correct threads. We booked them during our trip, so I didn't have time to put them here. We appreciate the information here as it helps people bid smarter.

The money we saved on our Priceline stays help offset the $300+ night hotels we had in DC and NYC for 6 nights. I do think this is a great service and didn't mean for my last post to sound harsh. Our expereince with Hotwire was truly awful, and I think it's fair to let other people know so they can consider that when planning. I am assuming most people have better experiences or Hotwire would no longer be in business.

Had Hotwire honored their guarantee and refunded the $5 at the beginning, that would have been the end of it. We would have still been paying more then the hotel rate and the hotel would still have been awful, but I would have felt like they honored their guarantee. I would have considered it a lesson about what Hotwire considers a 2.5* star. End of story. Maybe we got bad customer service reps at Hotwire, I don't know. But the frustration of paying more, the hotel being so bad, and them not honoring their guarantee for $5 made me decide to file with the BBB to warn other consumers. And I posted here to warn other people to be careful when booking with Hotwire.

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