How to Know or Guess Hotels Before You Buy

When you travel, where you stay can often make or break your vacation, and your choice can sometimes break your pocketbook. So, it makes sense to find a good place to stay at a good price. is a travel website that offers discounted prices of up to 50% on hotels. The prices are hard to beat. The catch, though, is that hotel properties are not revealed until after you make your purchase. In this article, I’d like to share a trick that has helped me to save a lot of money when traveling. With a little detective work, you can know -- or at least make an educated guess about -- the hotel before you buy.

About is a travel website that offers discounted rates for hotel rooms, as well as for airfare, rental cars, and vacation packages. The company buys unsold inventory and passes the savings up to 50% on to you.

On the website, you enter your travel dates, location, and number of people and rooms needed.

The website will give you a list of properties in the area. Refine your search by choosing or filtering results according to star-rating, price, area location, customer feedback, and amenities.

Hotwire “hides” the actual property until after you make your purchase to avoid competing with its travel partners’ retail sales. Of course, you will know the general area, just not the exact location or whether the hotel is good. You can pay with a credit card over a secure system.

Figuring It Out Before You Buy - Hotwire Hotels Revealed

Three websites will help you either reveal the hotel name or at least get you as close as possible to an educated guess. The strategy is to compare the information given on each site to narrow the list of possible hotels.

1. Logo(114110)Credit:

Enter your travel information and narrow your results as appropriate. Make a note of the star-rating, price, location (a city is often divided into smaller areas), and amenities.



This site is a and forum. Scroll down to the location (state, city) of the hotel you are thinking about booking. Find the hotels with the same number of stars as on The list is not completely accurate, but it will give you a good starting point.


tripadvisor.comCredit: Trip Advisor

This is a user-generated review site. Search for hotels, filtering by location. Pay attention to the star-rating, amenities (e.g., spa, restaurants, fitness center, business center), and the number of reviews. Note that the number of star-ratings and number of reviews may not match exactly since the both Hotwire and Trip Advisor may round their numbers. Also, look at the amenities for the hotel and compare these with the amenities of the hotel of

These are little clues, that when used together can help you predict the Hotwire hotel you are thinking about purchasing.

Note: Since using the method above to book hotel rooms on several occasions, I've learned about a website ( that supposedly simplifies the Hotwire-hotel-reveal process. I haven't tried it, so I cannot vouch for its effectiveness, but at the very least, the site can add to the intel you receive from the sites above.

Caveats to Using for Booking a Hotel

Generally, you can save a lot of money by consulting a discount travel website like to find hotel accommodations.

But before you use a discount travel site, be sure the following applies to you:

  • Your travel dates are firm. Once you purchase a hotel via, you cannot change or cancel your reservations. 
  • You can handle a bit of risk. The hotel list at is a compilation of hotels by forum participants. While I have found it reliable, you might end up with a hotel not on the list or get a hotel with a different star-rating (as star-ratings do change).  You need to be flexible.
  • You need just one or two rooms. Based on my experience, the more rooms you need, the harder it might be to get rooms at the same hotel.

Also, if you are traveling mid-week or off-season, or if you belong to a discount group like AARP or AAA, call the hotel directly before booking through  You might find better room rates.


Discount travel sites such as can provide you with a nice place to stay at a reasonable cost if you have some flexibility on your next vacation. With a little smart legwork using the websites listed above, you can stay at a nice place for a lot less than you would usually pay if you booked directly with the hotel property. Imagine staying at a 4-star hotel property at near to 2-star prices!

Happy traveling!