October 13, 2008

It turned out that I will be making a trip to Boston at the end of the month for work, and decided to add a weekend on for some shopping and sightseeing. A happy coincidence means Tulipgirl might be there at the same time! But how not to blow our shopping and eating budget when Boston hotels are so expensive? I had heard about and decided to try mystery hotel booking, as offered by Hotwire.

The idea is that big name hotels can fill their empty rooms at a much discounted rate while remaining anonymous. By entering a date and a city, Hotwire comes back with a list of unnamed hotels at greatly discounted prices, their general location within a say 10 square kilometer area, star rating and some info on their amenities. The catch is that you are only told which hotel you will stay at after finalizing your reservation and paying for the room in full.

By matching the information you are given with that online, it is possible to get an idea of which hotel the ‘mystery’ one you choose might be. For those with an extra need for control or advance knowledge, an additional trick is to search Tripadvisor‘s hotel reviews for these hotels, and include the term ‘Hotwire’. You’ll quickly see which hotels work with Hotwire, and for what price.

By doing this, I suspected, and got, the Hilton at Boston Logan for $85 a night, a $100 saving over booking online at other hotel websites. I can imagine this method works less well in an area with high hotel density. I also don’t know how well this works outside of the US, but at least reserving was quick and easy on a clear, good webpage. I’ll report back if I’m relegated to a second-class room as a result!


One Response to “hotwire”

  1. Tulipgirl Says:

    I’m so happy at this wonderful coincidence that we’ll be there at the same time! I haven’t got a hotel booking yet (nor tickets for that matter) but for now I think I’ll stick with the more traditional way of doing it. I’m expensing it anyway. 🙂 But great tip for next time! See you in Boston. Hurrah!

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