How to save money on hotel bookings with 'unpublished rates'

Expedia claims it's offering travelers money by selling rooms at "unpublished rates," but what does this actually mean and how can travelers take advantage of it?

"Unpublished rates" are the minimum prices that hotels will sell a room at if they haven't been able to sell it at the standard rate - in effect, a room at a bargain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The travel giant announced October 25 that it would dramatically expand its unpublished rate inventory to include 25,000 hotels around the world, claiming that travelers could book hotels at up to 50 percent off the standard online price.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.

Some consumers are attempting to take the upper hand by identifying opaque hotels on websites such as Betterbidding.com, BiddingforTravel.com and Hotel Deals Revealed.

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.

http://www.expedia.com

http://www.priceline.com

http://www.travelocity.com

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing