New York – Online booking site Expedia is partnering with Hotwire to offer a “blind-booking” option to travelers looking for bargains on hotel room rates.
The companies say the partnership, officially announced Monday, will allow travelers to choose hotel rooms in more than 25,000 hotels worldwide for as much as 50 percent off comparable online rates. Customers won’t see the name of the property before they book.
During the recession blind-booking sites like Hotwire gained popularity for finding cheap rates, Hotwire president Clem Bason said in an interview with The Associated Press. That trend is continuing now, he said, as deals become fewer and farther between and hotel room rates begin to rise.
Blind-booking options also funnel more travelers into hotel rooms that would otherwise stay empty. About half of all hotel rooms went unfilled last year, according to Smith Travel Research.
Expedia customers can sort hotels by travel dates, star rating and location. Hotwire will manage the display, pricing and back-end booking with the hotel.
Expedia’s website has been testing an “Unpublished Rates” offer since late summer. The company is based in Bellevue, Wash.