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Old Apr 1, 10, 6:29 pm   #1
 
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Travelocity Top Secret Hotels

Just wondering if anyone has tried this new feature of Travelocity.

http://leisure.travelocity.com/Promo...s_main,00.html

It seems very similar to Hotwire - you pick a city and it shows you hotels, their star ratings and area. The areas seem to be much bigger than Hotwire. For example, San Diego has downtown and beach and that was about it near San Diego.

I did notice that if you click on the reviews, you can match the ratings to those on Travelocity to determine the hotel in some cases. For example, if the number of boxes filled in for Staff & Service, Room Quality, Bed Comfort,... matches a hotel during a regular Travelocity booking, it seems like a good indicator of what hotel you would win.

Also note the promo: Book a 2+ night hotel stay using any American Express® Card, and save $20
Use Promo Code: AMXSECRET20
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Old Apr 3, 10, 1:22 pm   #2
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I glanced at it but none of my cities on next weeks trip are on it. The list is small, the description list is skimpy and, as noted, the areas are quite large. They lose to PL on every criteria.

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Old Apr 4, 10, 7:29 pm   #3
 
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The one I looked at had small print stating the hotel requires you pay a resort fee of $50 at departure. This made the great deal not so special.
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Old Apr 11, 10, 12:32 pm   #4
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Travelocity Introduces "Top Secret Hotels"

Looks similar to me to the Hotwire model, they show you a star level, a few amenities, an approximate area where your hotel will be located, and a price, and you find out where you're staying once you've booked.

Quote:
Shhh, These rates are so low that our hotel partners don't want to put their names to them. In order for us to bring you these exclusive deals, the name of the hotel will be hidden from you until booking is complete.
When do I find out where I'm staying?
Don't worry, as soon as the booking has been made we will send you an email confirming all of your booking details including the name and address of the hotel.
Something that worries me about this product... I searched for a hotel in Boston, and when I clicked on the "maps" tab for the hotel I was interested in, it gave me a shaded area that included almost the entire Boston metroplex inside the Route 128 beltway, as far north as Reading, as far south as Weymouth, and as far west as between Newton and Framingham. I would rather have a lot smaller area to narrow down where the hotel is going to be. Perhaps this will change as time goes on. But at first when they give you a list of hotels to choose from, they do say what area the hotel will be in (my selected hotel came up as "Boston: Downtown and Waterfront"

Also, the hotel I clicked on listed "Additional Mandatory Hotel Charges" of $3.00, which they define as follows:

Quote:
This hotel charges guests one or more mandatory hotel charges. By way of example, these could include one or more of the following: resort fees, resort service charges, energy fees or surcharges, safe fees, safe warranty charges, or transportation fees.
Any mandatory hotel charges are in addition to the total price that you pay to us and are payable by you directly to the hotel upon checkout. Such mandatory hotel charges may also be subject to state and local taxes. The details of what these charges cover can be obtained from the hotel.
All information on applicable mandatory hotel charges is based upon information provided to us by the hotel and is subject to change by the hotel.
So this is where "Resort" fees will appear, and using this information and others, I've narrowed down that the hotel I found was the Seaport Hotel at the World Trade Center. To confirm this, I clicked on the "Traveler Ratings" tab, then found the Seaport Hotel in their non-opaque list and went to the "Traveler Ratings" tab there, and found that the ratings for various items (Staff/Service, Room Quality, etc.) were exactly the same.

It will be interesting to see if this product at all competes with PL and HW, but it looks like they have some work to do to get close to those other ones.
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Old Jul 5, 10, 11:15 pm   #5
 
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I made my first purchase through Travelocity Top Secret Hotels this week. It worked out as I got the hotel I was expecting at a better rate than I found anyplace else, including Hotwire, which was offering the same hotel.

I got the Menlo Park Inn in Menlo Park, CA for $59.51 plus tax/fee.

TTSH doesn't offer as many hotels as Hotwire but what they have can be ID'ed with a high degree of confidence. TTSH rates each secret hotel 1-5 on eleven criteria (bed comfort, cleanliness, pool, etc). Those TTSH ratings come direct from Travelocity's regular listings, where the hotel's name is disclosed.

To ID a Travelocity Top Secret just note the eleven subratings, then look for a match in Travelocity retail. Travelocity makes it easy by displaying Retail and Secret listings under two tabs on the same page. That's much simpler than trying to ID Hotwire hotels where the "clues" come from TripAdvisor stats and IDs require toggling back and forth between two different websites.

TTSH transaction fees were lower than Hotwire's too, at least for my purchase. Don't know if that's always the case.

Travelocity: $59.51 + $6.67 tax/fee = $66.18

Hotwire: $59.00 + $12.86 tax/fee = $71.86

A $59 purchase on Priceline would have had tax/fee of $14.81 = $73.81. That's not an apples to apples comparison though, as the Menlo Park Inn might have been available for a lower bid price than $59, offsetting some or all of Priceline's usually higher transaction fee.

Last edited by Colfax; Jul 6, 10 at 1:34 am.
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Old Jul 6, 10, 8:20 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colfax View Post
A $59 purchase on Priceline would have had tax/fee of $14.81 = $73.81. That's not an apples to apples comparison though, as the Menlo Park Inn might have been available for a lower bid price than $59, offsetting some or all of Priceline's usually higher transaction fee.
My general rule of thumb is that Priceline will come in approx 70-75% of Hotwire. Then again, perhaps Priceline doesn't offer the Menlo Park Inn.

Perhaps it's just me but I've also started to form the opinion that Hotwire's "deals" aren't so good these days. Been a long time since I've found something on Hotwire that I thought represented a substantial savings at a quality hotel.
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Old Jul 7, 10, 9:01 am   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diplomatico View Post
My general rule of thumb is that Priceline will come in approx 70-75% of Hotwire.
This will bear true for hotels that are listed on both sites. Hotwire contractually obligates its vendors to provide Hotwire the same or better rates that it provides Priceline or other opaque vendors.

Priceline makes its profit via a modest booking fee for each reservation plus any overbid. Hotwire simply marks up the opaque rate provided by about 25%. The two models are similar, but you will generally be able to obtain lower rates at PL by employing a proper bidding strategy.
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Old Aug 9, 11, 4:34 pm   #8
 
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travelocity secret hotels

I used the Travelocity secret hotel service for downtown Minneapolis. I had lived in downtown Minneapolis for 12 years so I was very familiar with the layout of this relatively small area. I would have been happy with any of the 3+ star hotels downtown. However, the secret hotel turned out to be quite a ways from downtown - somewhat in the vicinity, but not what a normal person would think of as downtown. It was in fact much closer (over twice as close) to the University of Minnesota as it was to the heart of downtown - and the University is not even remotely in downtown Minneapolis.

I was very angry about this, as my aging mother really looked forward to being able to walk around the coffee shops and the downtown destinations. But now she is 1.2 miles from that area. I complained to Travelocity on the phone but the person basically said it was non-refundable. I complained on their website and they responded that the hotel advertised itself as being downtown so therefore it was downtown. I am still very angry about this issue and will not use Travelocity again.
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Old Aug 9, 11, 6:13 pm   #9
 
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I used the TTSH to book a hotel in Buenos Aires - it was pretty clear through the booking process by judicious use of the Star/Satisfaction ratings and the Hotel Amenities that the Secret Hotel was the Nogaro and the rate was $63/night compared to a lowest rate that I could find elsewhere of $98/night - I was happy.
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Old Aug 12, 11, 3:02 am   #10
 
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Travelocity Top Secret had a lot of promise when it first came out and I used it a few times with good results. I was able to ID a couple hotels I like with near 100% confidence, and they were hotels that don't show up on Priceline or Hotwire. Plus TTS had significantly lower transaction fees than PL or HW.

But TTS has made some changes and now it's nearly impossible (at least for me) to ID the hotels, so I've quit using it. It sounds like 3544quebec has had better luck.

When Top Secret was new they directly borrowed Guest Review Ratings from Travelocity Retail. If a Top Secret Hotel displayed, for example, Room Comfort 4, Bed Comfort 5, Pool 3, you could search Travelocity retail for a hotel with matching numbers.

Now TTS and Travelocity Retail use different rating systems, with Travelocity Retail scoring to the 0.1 decimal (like 3.7, 4.3), while TTS rounds to the nearest whole numbers (3,4,5). The two sides no longer match.

Add the mapping issue that Jerdicus mentioned--zones with names but no maps--and I've pretty much dropped Travelocity Top Secret from my toolbox.
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Old Aug 12, 11, 9:25 am   #11
 
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Also used to like TTS a lot more when it was easier to ID the hotels. Not sure why they try to make it so hard when 99% of people who use it probably don't try to figure out the hotel or know you can.
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