Do you find you're using Hotwire more than PL?

By efindbidding,

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I'm finding that I'm using Hotwire more than Priceline now, especially since PL changed the star levels of many properties.

The main reason I'm liking Hotwire, is that I usually know what I'm going to get, based on the amenities. This is the nicest thing about Hotwire, you can almost be guaranteed of a hotel with a well known set of amenities. Even if it is 5 or 10 dollars a night more, with the right coupons or codes it can even turn out cheaper than Priceline, and you don't get stuck with something you don't really want.

What are your thoughts Hotwire vs. Priceline?

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I've always liked Hotwire better than Priceline, much for the same reasons you've mentioned, and ESPECIALLY for stays of more than one night. Even before I found this site I used Hotwire quite a bit for local stays, and more often than not, I knew exactly which hotel I was getting before I made my purchase. Through Better Bidding I am now more confident of the purchases I make for out-of-town stays, something I used to be more hesitant of doing. One more thing I like about Hotwire is the ability to choose a suite hotel and a property with a pool - we travel with our kids most of the time and those are amenities we're very partial to.

I still use Priceline occasionally for single night stays when we are leaving the kids with Grandma and just looking for a quick, inexpensive escape (when all we really need is a comfortable bed and a change of scenery!)

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Yes, I too find I am using Hotwire more often. I think in the past year almost all my bids were to Hotwire. I like knowing which amenities the hotel has.

I usually begin my search on hotwire, just to get an idea of whether there is inventory, and what price range to expect. We often stay in smaller towns/cities, so this is important for us.

And using that $30 Entertainment Coupon has brought the price down into the priceline range. It will be interesting to see if they include it in the 2006 books.


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I'm definitely a Priceline person. I travel to limited places and usually know which hotel (resorts usually) I will end up with (there are only 3 in the area I bid).

I'm getting curious about Hotwire though, especially with the coupons. I may do a closer comparison next time I book and who knows, I may actually bid Hotwire. :)

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I am definitely going to check out HW for all future hotels because:

1. HW customer service actually exists. HW will talk to you on the phone and try to fix the problem. No cryptic and inapplicable e-mails from India.

2. HW posts sometimes show better properties 0r lower rates in some high priced cities (e.g. NYC, Chicago) or resorts (Las Vegas, Hawaii, Sandusky,OH). The beachfront properties are rarer on PL

3. I have never read a post on this or TOBB that said HW cheated them vs. numerous complaints by PL customers.

4. In some cities HW zones are smaller or better for tourists.

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I've used PL and always been satisfied and saved LOTS of money, I've used HW once was NOT satisfied and saved LITTLE money

just look at the prices people are getting for PL stays vs. HW stays

plus HW star ratings ARE NOT ACCURATE AT ALL

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The differences in opinions make it nice that this site supports both PL and HW.

Seems like I'm using Hotwire more mainly because of lack of availability with PL.

I've had two customer service issues with PL (a mis-bid and a hotel of poor quality) and got very satifactory results in both instances.

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My biggest complaint about Hotwire is their ratings. I have consistently been unhappy with their ratings...in fact, I don't think I have ever bought something from Hotwire that I would have considered a correct rating. 0% to Priceline's 60% accuracy in ratings in my experiences. 60% isn't excellent either, but much better than zero!

I won't even consider buying a hotel lower than 4-1/2 stars from Hotwire, because of their rating problems. I just simply subtract 1 whole star rating from Hotwire before I consider the property. And when I do that, it seems they are not really all that competitive.

Don't get me wrong, I still check them out. But in this light, I end up booking Priceline mostly for hotels. In fact I am booking Priceline about 15:1 over Hotwire for hotels.

However, all that being said, I have found Hotwire beats out Priceline in rental cars very frequently. In fact, I have been booking Hotwire over Priceline for cars about 2:1.

I'm just looking out for the best deal every time. It's not wise to become dogmatic in the way you book travel. You'll find yourself in a hopeless pattern and miss out on new things. This is just where I am at now. I'll be all over Hotwire for hotels if something starts to change.

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I find myself using hotwire a bit more than priceline in the past few months. When using Priceline, after just two rejected bids, I get a new screen with a suggestion that since no hotel was willing to accept my bid, I should use their "non-opaque" booking service. I must close this window and open up again (windows explorer is my browser) and re-access the priceline website. While waiting for a response on a bid, I often minimize the page that I'm using to bid priceline and open up a new page because it saves me some time when I get a rejection and have to close my first browser. (I hope that this makes sense). Hotwire saves me time as well, here is the price, here are the amenities, if it seems like a deal, I will buy. I use Hotwire to gauge the prices of properties in a specific area, although Priceline and Hotwire prices don't always correlate. I also agree that many Hotwire properties are over rated.

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I started off with Hotwire a couple years ago and made several bookings through them... I think I was nervous about priceline. It seemed more like gambling to me..which I still believe it is. Then my friend started telling me about the great deals he would get with Priceline. It took me a while to come around. The first time I got the Hilton, Midtown central NYC for $101 a night, when the cheapest on Hotwire for the time I was looking was $179 a night... I was hooked! I am using pretty exclusivly priceline now unless I cannot get a room in the range and level I want. If there is one available on Hotwire in that range, I go for it.

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If you do your home work PL will beat Hotwire almost everytime. 99% of the time I can tell you what hotel I will be staying at before I bid.

My stay last weekend I saved 75% off of the hotels lowest rate when Hotwire would have saved me only about 20%.

Most of the time I bid 4* or higher and the odds of getting a dog are a lot less then at the 3* level or below.

Theres ways to keep your disapointment level low if you research your trip a few months in advance.

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Hotwire is sometimes good when you want only a specific smaller zone, rather than the larger zone Priceline sometimes provides. But of course it all depends how the areas are divvied up. Hotwire is also good for budget stays when you want a specific lower-star hotel, but not just any lower-star hotel.

My upcoming trip is like this (so far):

Priceline (SEA airport)

Direct booking (Madrid)

Direct booking (Amsterdam)

Priceline (London)

Hotwire (Seattle)

Hotwire (Seattle)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Interesting to read all the stuff about the Hotwire star ratings being overblown compared to Priceline. I will be staying at the Meridien Piccadilly in September. It has a Priceline star rating of 5 compared to a Hotwire rating of 4.5. On reading tripadvisor reviews, I am inclined to think it is probably a 'real' 4 but gets the bump-up owing to superb location. Your views ?

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In this case they are probably both wrong, and Priceline even greater so than Hotwire. I just have found that Priceline is more accurate than Hotwire in my experiences. Or should I say more aligned to my expectations? :)

That being said, I would never rate Priceline's star rating system as good, just better in comparison. And that's why BetterBidding.com is such a great site. It helps us to quantify the risks by giving us a glimpse into the market. The hotel lists are an excellent source of information to that end. To know of what I would consider to be a 2-star hotel in a 3-star zone is very useful information for me. It can help you make better bidding strategies and reduce the surprises. I have refused to bid some zones due to inferior hotels in the list.

A good example of this is the recent addition of the Holiday Inn being added to the 3-Star SFO Airport Zone. Which one does not belong?...Westin, Hyatt, Doubletree, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn....Hmmm. The ironic thing of this situation is that Crowne Plaza is Holiday Inn's Upscale brand. How can they possibly co-habitate the same star rating? :) There is such a clear difference in quality and amenities between these 2 properties.

One good thing about Hotwire's system is the 1/2 star ratings. This would be a good place to break up some of these hotels...between 3 and 3-1/2 stars. Clearly the biggest problems in ratings is at the 3-star level. However, all things being said, the star system is so subjective. It's different from person to person and region to region. I have clear expectations of what a 3-star is...but I have friends who would consider a nice 3-star to be 5-stars, because they often stay in roadside motels. And vice versa, if you often stay at the Four Seasons, you wouldn't really consider a 4-Star Hilton to be anything close to 4-stars.

So the debate will rage on! :o

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  • 2 weeks later...

with PCLN's change to their business model (the new interface that precludes direct re-bidding) I have been using hotwire more and booking directly with hotels. I just don't like the PIA-factor. A friend of mine was so disappointed with their new interface he sold all his PCLN stock!

On the rating's issue; I think hotwire has improved a lot in just the past 6 months or so. Just consider how HW rates the palmer house 3.5* while priceline insist it is a 4*.

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  • 2 months later...

I am using Hotwire more because I can get suite hotels or other special properties there that I cannot get on PL. Also, the fees are lower. Usually around $6.

Two examples from this week's trip to Dallas that covered two weekends.

I got the Hilton Lakes at DFW Airport (Grapevine) for $70. A solid 4* resort like property with woods and trails. I wanted some place nice for a 3 day stay - better than the 3* Harvey Hotel that PL has for $35-40. This Hilton is no longer available on PL probably because Hilton pulled it to avoid being identified - it was the only 4* at the airport. The HW description let me know that I was either getting this hotel or equally nice hotels at Las Colinas. I did two bookings just to make sure it was this hotel for the first night. The fees were $6.21 and $6.68. The savings off the lowest rate ($109) was 35%.

I got the 3.5* Sheraton Suites Market Center for $63. I wanted a suite in case my teen decided to stay with us instead of a relative. HW told me this was a suite. The lowest rate was $119 and that was also pre-paid on spg.com. This was almost a 50% savings. Again the fee was a low $6.10.

Priceline fees have been more unpredictable and trending much higher in the $12-15 range.

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This is a great topic. I am a bit surprised at all of the Hotwire support, but you make great points. I find that I use Priceline more because it is much less expensive. I did use hotwire a while back and took advantage of double the difference for a $1000 rebate at the Venetian in Vegas. Recently I got the JW MArriott in Cancun for $105 uS and the cheapest HW propertiy was about $170. And just Today I got the Renaissance Toronto Airport 3* for $38 Hotwire's best comparable property was about $60.

These savings more than make up for the slightly higer fees. I usually try to go for 4* and up to avoid the quality issues, but I have stayed at several 3* properties that are better than some 4*. Hyatt Charlotte and Crowne Plaza Cleveland, while the Hilton and Shweraton in downtown Toronto are no better than 3*.

I like HW for the 3.5* DT toronto usually the Sheraton.

I still use HW to check rates and to decipher the possibilities

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  • 2 weeks later...

I used to use Hotwire more but the last two times I booked I used Priceline. Priceline saved me a lot more money, but I tend to use them when I am pretty sure I am going to get a certain hotel. For instance, if there is only one known 3* in a particular zone, or two 5* but both are good to me, then I'll go for it.

So, I think it depends on my situation - where I'm going, what my needs are, etc. I will continue to use both.

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