Priceline vs Hotwire

Hotel blind booking sites are a consistent point of confusion for many travelers; they do not know what they are, how they work, or why to use them.  I often comment on what great deals I always get on these sites, and often people comment back that they cannot tell the difference between Priceline and other sites (like Expedia, Travelocity and the other “regular” hotel booking sites); this is a clear sign that we are talking apples and oranges.  Most people have no idea that there is a difference between Priceline.com and Priceline’s Name Your Own Price blind bidding.  A little background on these sites: blind booking is almost always done on either Priceline’s Name Your Own Price or Hotwire’s Hot Rates.  Blind booking is simply that: “blind.”  You have no idea what hotel you will win, until after you pay (non-refundable).  You will only know star level and general location; that is it.  Once you pay, then the site tells you the hotel you will be staying at.  As this is non-refundable, it is a bit of a gamble.  Hotels do not want their names known for dumping rooms at such drastic low rates (usually 50% of what they charge on other sites); they want to charge the highest amount possible, but at the same time fill every room.  Hence the hotels, and some savvy travelers, will gamble on rates using these blind booking sites.

$55 for my favorite Midwest hotel: The Hilton Skirvin Oklahoma City

$55 for my favorite Midwest hotel: The Hilton Skirvin Oklahoma City on Priceline’s Name Your Own Price

I have previously written about the Top 5 Reasons I use Priceline as well as a step-by-step guide on how to use blind booking sites in How to Use Priceline.  For the purposes of this post, I’ll be comparing Priceline’s Name your Own Price blind bidding to their chief competitor, Hotwire Hot Rates blind purchasing on five key criteria: Price, Predictability, Quality, Usability, and Availability.   Now onto Priceline vs Hotwire! Continue reading

Things I Love About Cincinnati

Cincinnati is one of America’s oldest and most storied cities, yet has an impressive skyline symbolizing a downtown that is cosmopolitan and modern, filled with dining, shopping, museums, hotels and sports stadiums.  The one thing that strikes me the most with Cincinnati is it’s very unique and distinct culture; much like my hometown of St. Louis, the city’s history provides it with traditions and features that are benefits of a storied past and prosperous present.

Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio

Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio

There are so many things to like about Cincy, from food, to museums, to even flying pigs!  I’ve boiled it down to 8 of the top things I love about CincinnatiContinue reading

Hotel Reviews: Why I Don’t Do Them

Hotel reviews are popular!  After all one of the world’s most popular travel websites (TripAdvisor) is based on a backbone of hotel reviews.  That said I personally rarely review hotels, even though this is a travel site.  I weekly write about things to do, see and eat all around flyover country and especially around the Midwest, but have only reviewed a handful of hotels in the three years this blog has been running. Before I started this site I did write numerous TripAdvisor reviews on hotels, but stopped once Visit Flyover Country started.

I used to writes tons of hotel reviews...but since I quit TripAdvisor years ago, I have not written many

I used to write tons of hotel reviews…

Over my years of travel I’ve learned a few things about hotels, specifically that they are all about 80% the same, and really its location that matters more than anything. When it comes to booking, I always either use a blind bidding site (such as Hotwire or Priceline) so I am unaware of what hotel I am booking anyway, or I use points. On the rare occasion I want to read hotel reviews, I’ve always found that TripAdvisor has it covered, with hundreds of reviews for every hotel. Thus I simply never saw a purpose to reviewing hotels… Continue reading