Opaque Hotel Booking Websites

Old Jan 7, 2011, 2:57 pm
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Lightbulb Opaque Hotel Booking Websites

Due to the clear popularity of Priceline and Hotwire, opaque hotel booking website where the hotel booking site does not tell you the hotel before you confirm payment have grown tremendously over the past year. It appears Priceline is still the only site where you offer a price while the other sites display a price (their cost plus some variable delta profit amount) that you must pay before knowing the hotel.

Here is a blog link of major companies that offer such booking options. All provide prices up-front except Priceline. Some sites share inventory (such as Expedia and Hotwire):

http://www.xotels.com/en/revenue-man...opaque-pricing

Some of the links mentioned:

Priceline
http://www.priceline.com/

Hotwire
http://www.hotwire.com/

Bookit.com (Mystery Hotel)
http://bookit.com/hotels/

DHR Secret Hotels (used to be GTAHotels)
http://www.dhr.com/deals/hotels/secr...crethotels.php

Expedia Unpublished Rate Hotels (Hotwire inventory)
http://www.expedia.com/daily/hotels/...es/default.asp

Getaroom
http://www.getaroom.com/ (indicates better rates available via phone not online)

HotelDirect.co.uk Hidden Gems
http://www.hoteldirect.co.uk/webapp/...ms&city=London

LastMinute (part of Travelocity)
http://www.lastminute.com/site/trave...op-secret.html

LastMinuteTravel
http://www.lastminutetravel.com/info/deals.aspx

Quickbook Hotels (Secret Sale)
http://www.quikbook.com/

Superbreak Mystery Hotels (Europe)
http://www.superbreak.com/marketing/mystery-hotels

Traveocity Top Secret Hotels
http://leisure.travelocity.com/Promo...s_main,00.html

Wotif.com Wot Hotel? (Australia)
http://promo.wotif.com/Australia/WotHotel/

I am willing to update this thread with additional booking sites. I believe the sites above are large enough providers (sometimes for only certain geographic regions), but you are on your own for any or all of these sites.

Thanks,
Rasheed

Last edited by rasheed; Feb 14, 2011 at 1:16 am Reason: Updated List
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 10:07 am
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Very useful, Rasheed

Do you know if there are any "third party" sites for these services, like www.betterbidding.com and www.biddingfortravel.com for Hotwire and Priceline? That would be very helpful. Thanks for your work! ^
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 10:26 am
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Not opaque but some hotel websites are offering an advanced purchase rate which is pre-paid, not changeable with a no refund policy at a big discount. Sometimes almost as low as the PL/Hotwire rate.

Some of the opaque sites listed above aren't that opaque. A google search on the hotel description will reveal the hotel. It's opaque enough so the hotel may be able to avoid a best price guarantee claim.

Post on betterbidding. As long as you plan on using BB links for hotwire and PL the site will generally help you with identifying other opaque properties.
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Old Feb 2, 2011, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by spainflyer
Do you know if there are any "third party" sites for these services, like www.betterbidding.com and www.biddingfortravel.com for Hotwire and Priceline? That would be very helpful. Thanks for your work! ^
These are the main sites I have seen and used. There is the new Bidding Traveler tool you might like as well.

The main issue is there has to be enough data to be useful, but it also takes a lot of data input to have enough references to help tailor bids.

Rasheed
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Old Feb 3, 2011, 1:09 pm
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TY Rasheed!
Worthy of a sticky.
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Old Feb 4, 2011, 1:12 pm
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one more

www.lastminutetravel.com is another one- I believe they have several sites for different countries, but I've only been on the US and UK ones
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Old Feb 7, 2011, 7:44 pm
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Question

Does EasyClickTravel still have opaque hotels. I can't find any. Are they scattered in with the standard hotel results and/or just few and far between?

Mike...
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Old Feb 14, 2011, 1:15 am
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Originally Posted by OneDiaphanous
www.lastminutetravel.com is another one- I believe they have several sites for different countries, but I've only been on the US and UK ones
Thanks added.

Originally Posted by ihispanic
Does EasyClickTravel still have opaque hotels. I can't find any. Are they scattered in with the standard hotel results and/or just few and far between?

Mike...
I am removing it since I also no longer seeing them either.

Rasheed
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Old Feb 14, 2011, 2:09 am
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Cool.

I noticed the other day that Airfare.com also includes some secret (opaque) hotel listings.

Mike...
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Old Apr 20, 2011, 2:42 am
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Thanks for putting up this list. Very useful.

The next challenge would be to find some kind of consensus on what sites provide the best deals, if there is anything such.
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Old Apr 24, 2011, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by rasheed
Thanks added.



I am removing it since I also no longer seeing them either.

Rasheed
I don't know whether Easy Click Travel is still offering opaque specials on hotels, but when they were, the hotels were not really opaque. The descriptions that ECT used were taken directly from the hotels' websites and if you took a sentence and placed it in Google, about 99% of the time you could easily identify the hotel.

I was able to grab a number of excellent deals that way on ECT, but it was a couple of years ago.

Eric
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Old May 14, 2011, 8:26 pm
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For price, no one beats Priceline. They started all of this and they remain at the head of the pack.
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Old May 15, 2011, 1:32 am
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Originally Posted by Sheryl
For price, no one beats Priceline. They started all of this and they remain at the head of the pack.
Is that just a guesstimation or do you have some figures to back it up?
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 3:18 pm
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Originally Posted by SocialAdept
Is that just a guesstimation or do you have some figures to back it up?
The fact is, Priceline's business model guarantees it. The fact is, Hotels using fixed price opaque sites have to build some operating margin into the price (plus the booking site's fees) even though it's opaque. Because Priceline uses a variable pricing model where the customer bids on the price, they can be certain that the bids will be spread across a range of values. So long as the minimum bid that will be accepted covers a hotel's variable costs (plus the booking site's fees), then there is certainly going to be a spread range of winning bids, and the higher (i.e. less well researched) bids will serve to generate the aforementioned operating margin that is already baked into the price of the opaque sites that use fixed pricing, such as Hotwire. Of course, Priceline is only cheaper if you bid lower than you would have had to pay to get the same property on another opaque site such as Hotwire. It would have been more accurate to say that Priceline is always going to be at least as cheap or cheaper than other opaque sites IF the bidder has done their homework on what the prices on those other opaque sites are, and, ideally, what the lowest successful winning bids have been for various properties on Priceline.

Now in my case, I just knowingly paid $4 more than I would have needed to on Priceline to get a hotel near DFW airport, because I wanted to insure that the hotel I ended up with had an airport shuttle bus service and wireless internet, which I couldn't be certain of on Priceline, but I could on Hotwire, and $4 seemed a very reasonable premium to pay for that assurance.
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Old Jun 26, 2011, 1:53 am
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Originally Posted by DJGMaster1
The fact is, Priceline's business model guarantees it. The fact is, Hotels using fixed price opaque sites have to build some operating margin into the price (plus the booking site's fees) even though it's opaque. Because Priceline uses a variable pricing model where the customer bids on the price, they can be certain that the bids will be spread across a range of values. So long as the minimum bid that will be accepted covers a hotel's variable costs (plus the booking site's fees), then there is certainly going to be a spread range of winning bids, and the higher (i.e. less well researched) bids will serve to generate the aforementioned operating margin that is already baked into the price of the opaque sites that use fixed pricing, such as Hotwire. Of course, Priceline is only cheaper if you bid lower than you would have had to pay to get the same property on another opaque site such as Hotwire. It would have been more accurate to say that Priceline is always going to be at least as cheap or cheaper than other opaque sites IF the bidder has done their homework on what the prices on those other opaque sites are, and, ideally, what the lowest successful winning bids have been for various properties on Priceline.
How do you know this is exactly how the Priceline model works and that there are other opaque site that don't have an identic system?
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