How to save money on hotel bookings with 'unpublished rates'
Tuesday 26 October 2010
Expedia claims it's offering travelers money by selling rooms at "unpublished rates," but what does this actually mean and how can travelers take advantage of it?
"Unpublished rates" are the minimum prices that hotels will sell a room at if they haven't been able to sell it at the standard rate - in effect, a room at a bargain basement price.
The travel giant announced October 25 that it would dramatically expand its unpublished rate inventory to include 25,000 hotels around the world, claiming that travelers could book hotels at up to 50 percent off the standard online price.
Given that in the first half of 2010 nearly half the hotel rooms on any given night were vacant, it might seem that Expedia is onto a winner for both travelers and hoteliers.
The company's Tim MacDonald said in a statement that travelers were "trading up" - booking at the same prices they normally would but getting more for their money in terms of star rating.
However, much like competing programs from Travelocity and Priceline, the program is "opaque," which means travelers don't know what they're booking until after they've confirmed.
While the site says that it uses brand-name hotel partners, some travelers have reported that this isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be, with one poster to the TripAdvisor forums saying "The 3 star London hotel I got was far from 'brand name' and furthermore was so poorly rated on Expedia's own site that not one single guest recommended it."
While it's true that opaque deals can be thrifty and risky at the same time, there are a couple of ways to minimize the risk.
Shopping around on different sites can reveal a wealth of hotels all in the same area, so don't just stick to Expedia, Priceline or Travelocity because they're your favorite.
Finally, some travelers report success in simply ringing a hotel and asking if there are any bargain deals available - although the internet always has the most offers, it doesn't necessarily have the best.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
Are plastic planes the future of flight? Heathrow expansion reopens debate over aviation's effects on the environment
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The 50 Best European beach breaks
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The most powerful passports in the world
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...
£22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...