Travelocity Versus Hotwire

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Travelocity formed in 1996 as a meta search engine that locates prices for flights, car rentals, hotel rooms, cruises and tourist activities. The company joined forces with AOL in 1999, although the joint venture was short lived. Travelocity then merged with Preview Travel in 2000.

In 2013, Travelocity announced it would start using Expedia to power its website. By 2015, Expedia had purchased Travelocity. Although Expedia owns Travelocity, they operate as independent companies. If you visit both websites, though, you will find numerous similarities. In fact, the homepage used by Travelocity looks almost exactly like the Expedia homepage. Expedia also owns or works with Hotwire Group, trivago,, Orbitz and several other travel brands.

How Does Travelocity Work?

Travelocity has a simple user interface that makes it easy for you to find low prices on the travel services and accommodations you need. When you visit the Travelocity website, you get to choose the type of service that interests you. You can search for flights, hotel rooms, car rentals and cruises. You can also choose packages that lower the overall cost of buying two or more services. For instance, you can save up to $588 by booking your flight and hotel room at the same time.

If you’re searching for flights, you enter your origin and destination cities, your departing and returning dates, and how many people will travel with you. The search gives you a comprehensive list of flight options that includes each one’s cost, number of stops, number of layovers and total travel time.

Searching for a hotel works in much the same way, except you do not have to enter your origin city. When you get your list of hotels, you can organize them by price, location and ranking. You can find more information about the rooms and hotels by clicking on them. Clicking an item will show you the hotel’s amenities, location, services and other features of importance, which will help you choose a place to stay.

Once you find options you like, you add them to your cart. Navigate to the cart, provide your payment information, and receive a confirmation email for the services purchased.

What Makes Travelocity Stand Out?

Travelocity helps you plan multi-city trips. For instance, if you have an upcoming trip that will take you to Dallas, San Diego and Las Vegas, you can schedule flights to each city in succession. You can also find hotel rooms in each city. Instead of treating each leg of the trip like an independent journey, Travelocity understands how to schedule long trips with several sections.

Since Travelocity has so much in common with other brands owned by Expedia, you may not feel like the website has many stand-out features. It’s true that Travelocity and Expedia feel similar, but you can still find unique benefits by using Travelocity. For instance, you get $25 off your first hotel booking when you download the Travelocity app.

Common Reviews of Travelocity

For the most part, people appreciate what Travelocity does. Scheduling business trips and vacations was much more difficult in the early 1990s: you either had to deal directly with airlines or use a travel agent. As you can probably imagine, these options didn’t make travel cheaper. Instead, travelers had to search hard for the smallest discounts.

Travelocity makes it easy to compare the cost and quality of travel services. Most people understand that Travelocity’s convenience makes it a great company to use. Others don’t seem to understand that Travelocity provides a useful, but limited service.

Negative reviews about Travelocity often say the company has poor customer service. Customer service matters a lot to people while they’re traveling. If you run into a problem, experiencing bad customer service could mean you don’t have a place in which to spend the night. Due to this, it’s easy to understand why some travelers give Travelocity such bad reviews.

If travelers stopped to think about what Travelocity does, though, many of them would realize that their complaints don’t hold water. Travelocity does some things very well. It can help you get a great deal on a flight or a hotel room. It can even book the accommodations for you. Travelocity cannot, however, control what other companies do.

If you have a bad experience with American Airlines, it doesn’t make sense to blame Travelocity because you purchased your ticket through the website.

There are legitimate complaints about Travelocity, but most of the negative reviews sound like problems outside of the company’s control.

Can I Get Deals on the Travelocity Site?

Travelocity is designed to help you find good deals. The Travelocity homepage even has a tab for Travel Deals. Here, you’ll find daily and weekly travel deals that include options like “flight and hotel deals under $400,” “kids stay or eat free” when you buy select travel packages and “save up to 45% on summer hotel deals.”

You can also find trip deals to specific cities like Atlanta, Las Vegas and Orlando. If you check this section of the website regularly, you will find spectacular deals that help you save money on travel. You don’t have to look for good deals to get them, though. You automatically save 10% when you become a Travelocity member.

Deals can come and go quickly, so you need to check Travelocity’s website regularly to catch the best deals. With enough effort, you could save 50% or more on a flight and hotel room in a city you’ve always wanted to visit.

About the Author

Elizabeth Schroeter

Elizabeth Schroeter is co-founder of Versus Reviews. Elizabeth earned her BA in psychology from San Francisco State University, later going on to earn her doctorate in clinical psychology. As a parent of 4 year old twin boys she understands the need for accessible, straightforward, quality content. Elizabeth resides in San Francisco, California with her family.

Hotwire was founded in 2000 by a small group of people and six major airlines. Unlike online travel agencies that allow bidding on hotel rooms and flights, Hotwire takes an opaque method to listing prices and selling services. The opaque method also means that you may not know what company you’re using until after you pay for your reservation. Hotwire keeps the company names secret to limit competition between its travel partners. Since Hotwire only works with brand-name travel companies, the opaque method can get you an extremely low price with a well-known airline.

Hotwire operated independently until it was acquired by Expedia for $663 million in 2003. Expedia purchased several online travel agencies during this time. Most of the companies were transformed into replicas of Expedia. Although the companies have unique brands, their websites work and feel like Expedia’s site. Hotwire has remained more independent.

How Does Hotwire Work?

Hotwire makes it extremely easy for you to browse, compare and purchase travel services. When you navigate to Hotwire website, choose whether you want to search for hotel rooms, rental cars or flights. You can also bundle flights and hotel rooms, hotel rooms and rental cars, flights and rental cars and flights, hotel rooms and rental cars. The more you combine, the more money you can save.

If you’re renting a hotel room, you ask Hotwire to search your destination city for openings during your travel time. You can provide a check-in date, check-out date and how many people will join you. The website searches your destination city and gives you a list of options available during your preferred time period. You can click on each hotel to learn more about its accommodations, location and other details.

If you’re searching for a flight, you must tell Hotwire your departure city, arrival city, departure date and return date. The website searches your options to give you a comprehensive list of flights heading to your destination city. You can organize the list by factors such as price, number of stops and total travel time. Organizing the flights by factors that matter to you will make it easier to find a flight you enjoy.

Hotwire works similar with rental cars. You choose where and when you want to rent a car. The site gives you options. You tell Hotwire which one you like most.

No matter what type of service you buy, you can pay for it online without leaving the Hotwire website.

What Makes Hotwire Stand Out?

A couple of small features make Hotwire stand out from other online travel agencies. For instance, when you search for hotel rooms in a certain city, Hotwire will show you a map of the area and where each hotel is located. Few websites do that. Instead, you have to get the address and look up the location on another site. Hotwire gives you all of the information that you need to know how convenient a hotel is for your plans.

Hotwire also stands out for refusing to enter the bidding market. Bidding on hotel rooms and flights might help you save money, but you rarely know what you’re getting until after the auction finishes. Hotwire’s opaque pricing strategy also keeps some information from you, but you know that you will always get a reservation with brand name hotel or airline. There isn’t a chance that you will end up in a hotel you’ve never heard of. That’s entirely possible with bidding sites.

Common Reviews of Hotwire

Hotwire gets a mixture of positive and negative reviews from its customers. Negative reviews often focus on what some people refer to as “false advertising.” These reviewers read about specific hotels on Hotwire, reserved rooms and discovered that the hotels didn’t offer the advertised accommodations. Obviously, this could infuriate anyone after a full day of travel.

In reality, Hotwire doesn’t have much control over what hotels and other companies say about themselves. A hotel that wants to rent more rooms may say that it has accommodations and services that it doesn’t offer. Hotwire won’t know about the ruse until customers start to complain.

Companies that post inaccurate information could get removed from Hotwire’s system. Still, it will take a while before offenders get caught and reported.

A few customers complain that Hotwire has overcharged them for services. Even when Hotwire finds the mistake, it can take several weeks to receive a refund, according to a couple of unhappy reviews, at least.

Happy customers love Hotwire because the company saves them money on travel services. They also like using Hotwire because the company often has last-minute deals that help people save money on emergency travel. When it comes down to it, people using online travel agencies just want to find good deals. Hotwire delivers, so it has plenty of grateful customers.

Can I Get Deals on the Hotwire Site?

Hotwire gives you several opportunities to save money on hotel rooms, flights and rental cars. When you visit the site, click on the Deals section to see the latest deals from Hotwire. You can choose to hunt for deals in specific cities or you can browse by themes like “4-star hotels under $59” and “sunny destinations from $45.” Some themes even focus on recreational activities like skiing and golfing.

You’ll get the best offers from Hotwire after you become a subscriber. The company will send you emails so you can review the latest deals. If you find something that appeals to you, take the discount and enjoy your travels. You won’t see something tempting every day, but you will find good deals often.

About the Author

Elizabeth Schroeter

Elizabeth Schroeter is co-founder of Versus Reviews. Elizabeth earned her BA in psychology from San Francisco State University, later going on to earn her doctorate in clinical psychology. As a parent of 4 year old twin boys she understands the need for accessible, straightforward, quality content. Elizabeth resides in San Francisco, California with her family.