Expedia Jumps on the Blind-Booking Bandwagon

by  Dana Harris | Aug 10, 2010
Hotel Chicago (previously Hotel Sax) suite
Hotel Chicago (previously Hotel Sax) suite / Photo courtesy of the property

Expedia has entered the realm of blind booking – a space dominated by competitors like Priceline, Travelocity, and even its sister company, Hotwire. With the adopted “Unpublished Rates” option, Expedia will be able to save customers some $50 per night . . . if the customer is up for a little surprise (the hotel name is only revealed after the reservation is made) – only key info like location, star ratings, and hotel features (pool, business-friendly, etc) are revealed pre-booking. Still in trial phases, the new feature is powered by Hotwire and represents Expedia’s growing effort to increase customer satisfaction, along with the elimination of flight booking fees and reservation change/cancellation fees.

We’ve found that, generally, blind booking saves customers $20 to $50 per night when compared to standard rates. Expedia’s Unpublished Rates are currently only available to some of its users (myself not included) and thus, while, unable to comment on its rates, I assume they’re the same as, or at least similar to, those featured directly on Hotwire:

$89 per night (39% discount) for a four-star hotel in Philadelphia
$49 per night (11 % discount) for a four-star hotel in Orlando
$44 per night (50% discount) for a three-star hotel in Chicago

The increase in blind-booking services is a reflection of its popularity: It’s a fun and cheaper way to travel – as long as you’re willing to take a risk and let the system select your perfect hotel for you.

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