Both sites offer cheap bookings with a caveat — there’s something of a guessing game involved when using either one because won’t find out the name of the hotel you wind up selecting until after you pay non-refundable money.
That might be a no-go for a lot of people.
Fortunately, there are workarounds allow you to figure out what hotel you’ll likely get before you book.
Find out what hotel you’re getting on Priceline, Hotwise: Table of contents
Take the guesswork out of booking on Priceline and Hotwire
Try these tips to take a little bit of the “blind” out of blind-booking a mystery hotel!
Figuring out which hotel you’re likely to get on Priceline is going to involve a little bit of math. Here’s how you do it:
1. Select your travel dates and location
For the purposes of this illustration, we’ve selected Vatican City in Rome and gotten three search results.
Let’s say you’re interested in the five-star hotel — which at $592 (a 28% discount) is admittedly very pricey! But for the sake of argument, let’s say that’s the one.
When you click the amenities on that five-star hotel for $592, you see it offers both a swimming pool and an airport shuttle.
So right there you have a big difference — while all three hotels offer basic amenities (non-smoking rooms, restaurant, etc.), the five-star hotel for $592 is the only hotel that offers a swimming pool and airport shuttle.
Those are a couple of key differentiators that you’re going to use to search again. They’ll help you get a viable answer about which hotel that five-star really is.
2. Open another tab in your browser
In the new tab, start your Priceline search all over again, selecting the same neighborhood and the same dates of travel.
This time, you’re going to specify that you only want to see hotels in Vatican City with those two specific amenities — a swimming pool and an airport shuttle.
When you do that, you get these results:
The first one is a repeat of the original listing you just saw. It’s the second one you want to pay attention to.
This example is easy because there’s only one other choice. But note the price on that second hotel — $818. That’s the list price for the Gran Meliá Rome.
Here’s where the math comes in. When you subtract $229 (28%) from $818, what do you get? $589. While it’s not $592 down to the penny, it’s well within the margin of error.
Bingo — that’s the confirmation of the mystery hotel’s identity you’ve been looking for, since you know that the Gran Meliá is the only hotel in or near Vatican City that’s in the Priceline inventory and has an airport shuttle and a swimming pool.
It’s that easy!
Figure out which hotel you’re getting on Hotwire takes a little bit of a different approach. Here’s what to do:
1. Select your travel dates and location
Like Priceline, Hotwire will disclose the names of some hotels as you’re scrolling through your search results after entering a location and picking dates:
When you find a so-called “Hot Rate” deal, the name is never disclosed. Hotwire just lists the star rating. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a better idea of what hotel it might be.
2. Click on the Hot Rate deal that interests you
When you click the deal, you’ll see the names and profiles of up to four hotels. Your hotel is guaranteed to be one of these.
3. Open another tab in your browser
In your new tab, navigate to TripAdvisor.com.
In the profile section of your Hot Rate hotel, you’ll see the hotel’s Trip Advisor rating and the number of reviews it has.
Search the names of the potential hotels Hotwire has shown you and you should find one that has the same rating and roughly the same number of reviews as your Hot Rate hotel.
Viola! You know what your Hot Rate hotel is going to be before you book it and pay your non-refundable money.
While these are Team Clark’s favorite methods for unmasking Priceline and Hotwire’s mystery hotels, sites like BidGoggles.com promise to take the guesswork out of the equation for you. We’ve used these with varying degrees of success so your mileage may vary, as well.
We’ve found that the above methods are nearly foolproof and hope you do as well!