We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

I-90 in Montana
Level Contributor
3 posts
12 reviews
Save Topic
Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

I've read another posting before to beware of HotWire, with a reply that not all gamblers win. So I guess that meant if I'm willing to take a risk and book a hotel without knowing the name of it, I should be willing to accept the end result no matter what it is. But the problem is HotWire is making claims that everyone is a winner. This might have been true in the past, but is no longer the case. Time to dump them. Here is why.

A booking was made under the Hot Rate and Best Value guarantees, specifically stating: "When brand-name hotels use us to fill rooms that would otherwise go unsold, their prices are deeply discounted. Hotels don't want to publicize rates this low, so we hide their name until after booking" and "With Best Value, you get an outstanding deal for a hotel of that star rating". The purchase price represented a savings of 87 CENTS over the price listed on the hotels' own website, which is nowhere near a deep discount. Would a hotel really be that afraid of publicizing a rate that is 87 CENTS less than what they currently have listed? Customer service initially claimed the Hotwire website had to list a specific percentage discount, otherwise they would not be able to help. The next day, they claimed that they cannot accept any emails with attachments after a copy of the hotel booking page showing the price was sent to them. They claim that they cannot provide the breakdown of the taxes/fees charge, as well as refuse to provide contact information for the finance department that calculated this charge and has the breakdown. The customer service rep claims the tax fee was over the amount charged by the hotel due to 3rd party fees. Completely misleading advertisement and unacceptable business practices.

These guys are middlemen. But they're no longer worth my money.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
Level Contributor
61,274 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

When I use Hotwire, I always research the possible hotels to see what prices they are offering on their own web sites. That way I can judge if the prices on Hotwire seem like a bargain to me. I know from experience that "sale" or "discount" prices mentioned on many web sites are not always "sale" prices to me. It is true that many sites use the word "discount" to entice you to use their services and it is probably quite misleading and disappointing to find out it is not really a "deal".

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
Level Contributor
17,021 posts
192 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

One of my pieces of advice, after reading the hint boards (like betterbidding) is to try to contact the hotel directly - before bidding - to see if I can work out a rate. Doesn't work always, but sometimes it does.

I-90 in Montana
Level Contributor
3 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

You guys are completely right that research needs to be done. But that just takes away any value they might have offered to begin with. I am paying with my own time for that tiny bit of savings. It's just not a saving anymore! At least this what I took away from it.

A C
Paramaribo, Suriname
Level Contributor
1 post
17 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

Also got ''scammed'' bu hotwire. The claims are lies. I thought i booked a 3 star hotel, I got a 2 star. the savings claimed also a lie. I sent

Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
13,425 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

"I thought i booked a 3 star hotel, I got a 2 star."

Does this mean you got what you *thought* was a 2 star hotel or that you got a hotel that Hotwire classifies as a 2 star hotel? There's a big difference.

As far as I can tell, they don't promise any specific saving but will offer a refund of the difference if the secret rate is found lower anywhere else.

Flint, mi
Level Contributor
759 posts
1,170 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

My wife and I use Priceline and Hotwire for 70% of our hotel bookings. The other 20% are Groupon type deals and 10% are lodging the "old fashioned way" going to the hotel front desk and asking rates. The "old fashined way" works best in touristy areas with lots of "mom and pop" type hotels such as Niagra Falls, Ontario, Mackinaw City, Michigan, Wisconsin Dells, etc...

When using Hotwire and Priceline, I'll first look up what the Hotwire Hot Rate listings look like, then Priceline bid at around 70% of the best Hotwire rates. If Priceline returns a better deal than Hotwire... Great! If Priceline bidding equals (or is close) to Hotwire, I'll go with Hotwire locations with a 70% or better rating (user reviews).

Stockholm, Sweden
2 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

I booked three nights in Florence through Hotwire. It was a four star hotel in the central area and it listed the original price as $785 for the hotel, but discounted to $375. When I saw the hotel revealed I knew this couldn't be true. Did some digging and every other booking site says the original price was just a few dollars over what I paid. The only reason I made my booking through them was because of the deep discount. Called customer service and spoke to three different people who said tough luck. I am heartbroken that we have to stay in this dump now.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
Level Contributor
25,056 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

I can understand the disappointment, but I do have a question.

If the discount was indeed greater, would you have been happy to stay at this 'dump' as you described, because it was cheaper?

Stockholm, Sweden
2 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

Well my thinking was that the deep discount on this hotel was an indication of a higher standard. As it turns out, I found a number for the corporate office, called them and explained my problem. The wonderful woman on the other end listened to me, understood my concerns and gave me a refund. Amazing customer service at the corporate level - not so much when you call the customer service hotline.

Milwaukee
Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
Level Contributor
10,464 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Burned by Hotwire, completely unprofessional and misleading

Yeah amazing service for such a dump of a hotel.