In a move to compete with Hotwire and Priceline, Travelocity has gotten into the deep-discount, semi-blind hotel booking business with the introduction of their new Top Secret Hotels service that promises savings of up to 45% on three and four-star hotels.
Travelocity’s service is almost identical to the one offered by Hotwire. Users pick their city, date and number of rooms. They are then presented with a list of available rooms and their respective prices.
The hotels’ general locations are given, but not exact addresses or hotel names. It’s not until after the reservations are made that the user finds out which hotel they’ll be staying at.
To compare the two services, I randomly selected a date in April to see what each had available in New York City.
Hotwire had a total of 23 rooms, ranging in price from $119 to $361, with average price of $199 and median price of $179.
Travelocity’s Top Secret Hotels list was significantly shorter — only 14 offerings — but otherwise similar. Prices ranged from $124 to $374. The average price was $190 and the median price was $174.
Priceline differs from this model in that it doesn’t provide a list of options. Users select the area of the city and star rating before putting in a bid of their own choosing. If the bid is accepted by a hotel meeting the users’ criteria, then the room is automatically booked and the information revealed.