Hotwire "Last Person Got" Experience

Old May 21, 15, 1:11 pm
  #1  
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Hotwire "Last Person Got" Experience

I'll admit I'm not an expert in Hotwire. Never found it worth the hassle and limitations and I think it's a bit like a blind date (except that with one of those, if you don't like what you get you can always walk away) but I have now used it twice, and I'm done. Only reason I used it first time is that a couple months ago they were having their unrestricted $30 off per 4-star booking deal and the numbers worked well for some inexpensive rooms I needed at a hotel in Japan. In that case, there was a "Hurry! Last Person to Book Got the ------ Hotel message". I never knew that existed and called them before booking to ask what it meant in terms of whether I would get the same hotel. Answer was "yes, in most cases". So I took my chances and got the property I wanted. Then yesterday, I found they offer $25 off first app booking so I figured I'd try again, but only if I could get an "unopaque" opaque booking where they tell you in advance. So I find one that reveals last booking as a very nice property that I want, deal works great, and I pull the trigger. I get a totally different property, much worse reviews on TA, and the normal retail price is half the other property that supposedly the last person got, and in fact the whole deal with coupon works out to about what I could get this crappy hotel for on any other website, not that I would ever book it. So I immediately call and complain and the guy listens, repeats a number of times that it is nonrefundable and it doesn't matter that the quoted value of the hotel is completely misrepresented, nor that the hotel I got is only worth half the one that the last person got, and then he hangs up on me. So I call back, take a deep breath, go through the whole thing again and manage to get the next rep to call the hotel and get them to agree to do a voluntary refund without penalty. That was great (though I wasted over an hour of my life on it) and I was surprised I was successful but I gotta say, who needs this? Unless you really don't care where you sleep, or unless price is the only factor, why go through the hassle? The deals are nowhere near worth the aggravation and chance that you will end up in a dump you would never have otherwise booked. Anyway, just wondered how unusual it is that you don't get the same hotel as the "last booked" and think it is rather deceiving of them to say that. If they can't guarantee you will get what the last person got, how can they specify it? And BTW when I called in I asked if instead of refunding me, they can give me the same hotel the last person got and they refused. So apparently the good hotel was no longer even being offered, just advertised to get you to book.
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Last edited by gil123; May 21, 15 at 1:36 pm
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Old May 22, 15, 3:43 am
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I would only use Hotwire after carefully researching and being POSITIVE that I know what hotel I am getting. I have gotten some great deals using this strategy, and never been disappointed. I would not use it for a town that I am unfamiliar with.

Personally, I do not pay much attention to the "last person got..." message as far as a deciding factor. But when it has popped up in the past, it has always been the hotel I thought it was, and the hotel I actually got. I have heard other people complain like you though, that they didn't get the one that they thought they were going to.
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Old May 22, 15, 10:05 am
  #3  
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I never pay attention to the "Last Person Got..." advertising. They make no guarantee you will get the same property... NOWHERE!

I always tell people to not use these opaque sites if they are not willing to take the gamble. The sites are under no obligation to give any refund for a change of heart.
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Old May 22, 15, 11:23 am
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Originally Posted by wharvey View Post
I always tell people to not use these opaque sites if they are not willing to take the gamble. The sites are under no obligation to give any refund for a change of heart.
Bingo.

Anyone who is not prepared to roll the dice on a hotel really needs to stay away from opaque websites.

I feel like I have gotten more than my money's worth from PL/HW over the years, but until having a child, I was not that concerned with the specifics of where I stayed. I have seldom been disappointed by PL/HW.

If someone really has strong opinions on what is/isn't acceptable outside of certain broad parameters such as general location and star rating, then PL/HW are not the sites for them.
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Old May 22, 15, 1:09 pm
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I agree that I lucked out that I got a refund, and was surprised that I did. And I agree that the getting a significantly worse property than the last person supposedly did is not grounds for expecting anything. But the normal comparison price they were quoting on the site was 55% higher than the actual current price for that property that I pointed out to them on five different sites when I called. I think that, combined with the wildly more expensive "last booked" was enough to convince them it was not accurately represented.
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Old May 22, 15, 1:11 pm
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Originally Posted by gil123 View Post
I agree that I lucked out that I got a refund, and was surprised that I did. And I agree that the getting a significantly worse property than the last person supposedly did is not grounds for expecting anything. But the normal comparison price they were quoting on the site was 55% higher than the actual current price for that property that I pointed out to them on five different sites when I called. I think that, combined with the wildly more expensive "last booked" was enough to convince them it was not accurately represented.
Yeah, fair enough... that "Last Person Got" thing is more about making the sale than it is about managing expectations... I guess HW must have done the math and they figured that dealing with someone who wants a refund every one in X sales is worth it to make the extra sales.
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Old May 22, 15, 1:34 pm
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Right- If they offered me 4-star $120 hotel room for $60 and advertised that the last person got a different 4-star $120 hotel room with similar features, I'd be annoyed- but suck it up. Instead, they gave me a $70 hotel room that I could easily get with discounts for $55 or so from a normal site. It's trickier for foreign bookings (this was Mexico) where 4-star could mean a real hole in the wall, or a really nice place. Anyway I'm done with them. This is a business model that is worthless to me, if I care at all about where I stay.
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Old Jul 31, 15, 6:23 am
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@gil123

Have to agree with you, I had exactly the same experience. I was looking for a hotel in Tokyo, Japan. On the list it also listed a massive discount (like around 50%) and "the last person got" message showed a great hotel.

I thought, ok, let's take the chances because 50% off is a good discount. The room price was still 150 USD per night, so not cheap. I booked and also got a different hotel compared to the "the last person got X" message.

This new hotel had also great ratings and good location, however, out of curiosity I searched for the price on another portal and found it to be about 10 USD cheaper, taking into account the fees Hotwire charges.

Therefore, I decided to never use Hotwire again because the discount listed is simply not true and if you add the additional Hotwire charges into the calculation, you can just as well find a good deal elsewhere AND you know exactly where you will book.
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Old Aug 1, 15, 11:18 am
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I would not rely on any "Last Person Got...." information. Most likely just marketing stunt.

I have stopped using PL and HW long time ago. The savings are no longer what they used to be and if you know a couple of good corp. codes and get free breakfast and points/miles by booking with the hotel directly, PL/HW is no longer worth the hassle. Sorry to say this, but PL and HW are a thing of the past.
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Old Aug 26, 15, 5:30 pm
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From my experience, "The Last Person Got" is right about 75% of the time. However, I've also seen reports on other forums of people furious that they didn't get what the last person received.

I've also seen hotels in Vegas that show "last person got" that I know are wrong by deduction. For example, Hotwire shows that the last person got Vdara for a hotel that has a casino (Vdara doesn't have a casino).

So I would say that the Last Person Got is not fool proof, but does work sometimes. Use it in conjunction with other sites like HotelDealsRevealed.com to figure out what hotel you're getting.

Until you actually book, it's ALWAYS a risk.
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Old Nov 24, 15, 3:55 pm
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I have been using Hotwire occasionally for almost ten years and I have generally had good experiences. I only use it when I have a good feel for the hotels that I might be getting and where they are located.

However, based on my most recent experience, I will probably stop using them

I recently booked two rooms via Hotwire at the Mandarin Oriental in Vegas for a December stay of three nights. For this reservation I did see the "Last person got the Mandarin Oriental" message, but I would not have been unhappy if I had received a different 5-star hotel in the same area (e.g. Four Seasons, Aria, Vdara, Cosmo)

On the other hand, I was not satisfied with the way Hotwire charged me for my stay.

My cc was charged as follows:

2 rooms, 3 nights Hot Rate® [email protected] $134.00/night $804.00
Tax recovery charges & fees $362.91
Subtotal $1,166.91
Hotwire Total $1,166.91

I understand that HW charges the room tax when they bill your card. Based on a daily rate of $134 X 2 rooms X 12%, that should be $96.48 for a total of $900.48.

So I asked HW via email what accounts for the extra $266.43. I asked HW specifically whether the MO charges the $32 resort fee plus tax in advance but HW would not explain the extra charge. This would not be the normal practice, but I would understand if it was the policy of the MO to do so. However, I have used HW to book 5 star hotels in Vegas before and none of them (including the Wynn, Palazzo and Venetian) charged the resort fee in advance They only charged it at checkout time.

Anyway, let's assume that the MO collects the resort fee in advance, which would amount to $32/room X 3 days X 2 rooms X 1.12 (tax) = $215.04. But even if the MO charged the resort fee in advance, I was charged $266.43 extra, not $215.04.

I'm not that concerned about the amount of money involved. I got an OK price for the MO, though after booking via HW, I discovered that I could have saved even more with a "book 2 days, get 3rd day free" offer on the MO site. My bad.

But I am concerned with HW's absolute refusal to explain how they compute the final charge.

Based on my frequent use of HW in the past, I am a "Hotwire Express VIP" customer, but I don't see any benefit to that. When I asked via email for an explanation for the charges, the response that I got was:

"Due to confidentiality obligations with our hotel suppliers, Hotwire cannot separate these amounts. Our service fee varies based on the amount and location of your reservation."

So based on the information I have right now, Hotwire charged me a mysterious fee of $266.43 on a hotel charge of $900.48. That's 30%!

Once we get to the MO, I will ask them for an explanation to see if they can clear up what accounts for the total.

In any case, along with a lot of other people who have had bad experiences with HW, I will no longer use it or recommend it to friends and colleagues.

Nevertheless I still look forward to our stay at the MO.

Last edited by BobHWS; Nov 24, 15 at 5:24 pm
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Old Nov 25, 15, 9:30 am
  #12  
 
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I believe it is common ground that HW, PL etc charge exorbitant service/booking fees (on top of taxes, resort fee etc). This is one of the reasons I have stopped using PL.

For a $ 800 rate, a total fee, taxes etc of $362 does not sound unusual with HW. The key issue is whether you will be charged the resort fee at check-out or if it is included already.
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Old Nov 25, 15, 9:41 am
  #13  
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If you're charged $266 in mystery fees that HW refuses to itemize or explain in addition to taxes and resort fee, I would file a credit card dispute since this apparently wasn't disclosed at the time of booking.
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Old Nov 25, 15, 9:49 am
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Originally Posted by SK AAR View Post
I believe it is common ground that HW, PL etc charge exorbitant service/booking fees (on top of taxes, resort fee etc). This is one of the reasons I have stopped using PL.

For a $ 800 rate, a total fee, taxes etc of $362 does not sound unusual with HW. The key issue is whether you will be charged the resort fee at check-out or if it is included already.
I had never been charged the hotel's resort fee in advance with 4 previous bookings of LV 5-star hotels. I still don't know what the fee covers. I emailed the MO about it, but they have not responded. If they don't respond, then I will discuss it with someone when I get there. I don't expect the MO to do anything about, but I would like to let them know that I think the MO allowing its rooms to be sold on HW reflects badly on it.

Also, HW had never charged such a high fee on top of the rate plus taxes. I could understand 5% but not 30%.

In any case, lesson learned. I will not use HW anymore and I would advise caveat emptor to anyone who is considering using it. Simply put, it is not worth the risk.
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Old Nov 25, 15, 3:32 pm
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I have seen Hotwire tack on ridiculously large fees so that what looks to be a good deal becomes a terrible deal, but these are always visible in advance before you confirm the booking. Did you get charged something you did not agree to?
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