7 Voted

Is legitimate?

If you had to make a wild guess, how many hotel booking sites would you say exist in the world? A dozen? 20? More? Well, on alone, I have 30+ listed, and that’s just the sites that I have deemed to be the best on the web. There are, of course, so many others that didn’t make the cut. Figuring out, then, which is the best hotel booking site for you can be tricky. With so many to choose from, all of which offer slightly different deals than the next and various policies, it can be nearly impossible to discern which one is the best!

There are a few steadfast rules, though, when trying to decide on a hotel booking site. There are, in other words, a few features and components that any hotel booking site worth its salt will provide. For starters, user-friendly and intuitive site design is one that comes to mind. I won’t even consider using a hotel booking site unless it looks good and makes it as easy as possible to find, compare, and book hotels at a reasonable price. Plus, in my opinion, if it doesn’t have a mobile app, it doesn’t even deserve to be in the conversation of the best hotel booking sites.

Next, of course, you have to look at a hotel booking site’s content and features. Are the hotel rooms that a given site has available truly the cheapest or the best deals available? Anyone with the capital and the connections can start a site that sells discounted unsold travel inventory. Anyone who starts such a site can claim to have the cheapest hotel rooms on the internet. Only a few of the best hotel booking sites actually fulfill this lofty promise, though.

Then you have to take into account cancelation policies, rewards schemes, extra fees, hotel quality, how much information is provided, etc. All of these less obvious, more fine-print concerns add up. These seemingly less consequential details can often be the difference between an okay hotel booking site and the best hotel booking site. Knowing to look for this kind of stuff is key.

Lastly, your hotel booking site of choice needs to be reputable, dependable, and trustworthy. This can be accomplished through being in business for many years, providing extraordinary customer service, and/or receiving many positive customer reviews. If a lot of people are saying that a hotel booking site screwed them over, well, I would be inclined to believe them. You have to be careful of whom you give your money to on the internet.

When it comes to hotel booking sites, however, few are better known, more widely used, or more dependable than In fact, I bet if I asked you to sing the jingle, you could summon that catchy little melody with little to no trouble. Come on, you know the one. Sing it with me: Hotwire … dot com! As a part of the massive (and ever-growing) online travel conglomerate, Expedia, Hotwire is backed by the biggest players in the game.

Although probably best known for their hotel booking services, Hotwire does just about everything in the digital travel space. In addition to booking cheap hotels, you can also book flights, rent cars, and buy budget vacation packages. If you are looking for a one-stop-shop for all of your traveling needs, Hotwire has you covered.

Just because Hotwire allows you to book everything you could need in one convenient location doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best hotel booking site for you, though. There are, as we just discussed, so many variables to take into account before bestowing a site with the title of “the best hotel booking site on the web.” Once again, the little things all add up and can make or break even your favorite travel site.

So, how does Hotwire stack up against the competition? Well, there is only one way to figure that out for sure. Let’s take a closer look at one of the world’s favorite hotel booking sites to see if its reputation truly does precede it. Without further ado, I bring you Hotwire … dot com! (Good luck getting that little ditty out of your head now!).

Who owns

Launched in 2000, Hotwire was founded by a team of 4 scrappy entrepreneurs: Karl Peterson, Eric Grosse, Gregg Brockway, and Spencer Rascoff. Hotwire was lucky enough to receive an impressive initial investment of $75 million from private equity firm, Texas Pacific Group. Fortunately for the company, Karl Peterson used to work at Texas Pacific Group, giving Hotwire the sort of upper hand that other startups merely dream of.

At the beginning, Hotwire offered discounted flights from 6 major airlines, all of which were also early investors in Hotwire. The airlines were Northwest (now known as Delta), American Airlines, Continental (now United), American West (now American), and US Airways (now also American). Interestingly, Hotwire was internally referred to as Purple Demon prior to its launch.

By the time September of 2003 had rolled around, Hotwire would already be acquired for the first time. IAC/InterActiveCorp purchased Hotwire for a cool $663 million … not too shabby if you ask me. The following year, an internet research firm estimated that Hotwire (along with cross-promotion with Expedia, IAC managed to reach an additional 1.5 million visitors per month to both sites respectively. began their business by selling only opaque airline tickets (meaning that customers could see departure and arrival times, but not the specifics of what airline they would get). It took them only a few months to expand their business exponentially, by selling opaque hotel bookings and rental cars as well. Vacation package offerings came around in 2003, and in 2004 Hotwire began selling retail travel products. 2007 marked a major landmark for the site, as in January of that year, Hotwire removed all booking fees for airfare.

Today, of course, Hotwire stands tall as one of the giants of the online travel booking industry. There are only a few sites out there that compete with Hotwire, and most of them are sister sites, also a part of the broader Expedia Group. Hotwire has solidified their spot among the best hotel booking sites to ever exist, without a doubt.

How useful is

One of the many things that has going for it is exceptional site design. The site functions and flows well, and it looks good while doing so. It offers an intuitive user experience and a smooth interface that, frankly, I just enjoy using. Every step of the way, makes the experience enjoyable and simple.

From the moment you land on the homepage, this will be abundantly clear. At the top of the page, you will be greeted by a simple search box. Just plug in your dates and location and begin browsing top-notch hotels immediately. There is no beating around the bush with this site – this is something that I always appreciate with the travel sites. Seriously, if you already know what you want, you could easily find and book the perfect hotel stay for you and your budget in a matter of just 5 minutes on Hotwire, no exaggeration.

Once you begin your search, the layout for browsing stays is nothing short of perfect in my opinion. You’ll find a scrollable list of affordable hotels running down the left side of the page. To the right is a browsable map of the area which allows you to quickly and conveniently browse stays by neighborhood and district. And at the top? Well, that’s where you’ll find all of the filters and sorting options. Show me a hotel booking site with a more intuitive user interface, I dare you.

How does work?

How in-depth does let you get with your search? One of the most important features to look for when looking for the best hotel booking site is the number of filters and sorting options with which you are provided. I think that you’ll find that Hotwire meets expectations once again, though, when it comes to this category. Filter stays by price range, hotel class, amenities, number of areas, guest ratings, and even health and safety ratings (which, of course, are becoming increasingly important these days). As far as sorting options are concerned, also offers a bunch, such as best match, price, class, and more.

Pair with this the fact that offers flights, car rentals, and vacation packages, and you have the makings of what could potentially be not just the best hotel booking site on the web, but one of the best travel sites out there, period. Are there any downsides to Hotwire?

There is one. With big, well-known sites like this, I usually like to see some sort of loyalty or rewards scheme – you know, a points system or something that is put into place to reward repeat customers with special discounts or something. Surprisingly, Hotwire has no such rewards system. It’s a shame, too, because I have spent a ton of money on this site over the years!

Does have an App?

The Hotwire mobile app is every bit as awesome as the desktop site. It is one of my favorite apps, and one of the travel apps that has actually made the cut and is permanently installed on

my phone. I’m not alone in loving this app either. Of the 131,000 user ratings on the Apple App Store, has an average rating of 4.8, making it one of the highest-rated hotel booking apps in the world.

What I Like about

-Filter hotels by zone or neighborhood

-Plenty of information on surrounding areas

-Stellar site and mobile app design

-Great deals on hotels

What I Dislike about

-Opaque hotel bookings (you don’t know which hotel you’re going to get until after you pay)

-No loyalty or rewards program

  • Filter hotels by zone or neighborhood
  • Plenty of information on surrounding areas
  • The stellar site and mobile app design
  • Great deals on hotels
  • Option to filter accommodation based on zone
  • Detailed information on surrounding areas
  • Opaque hotel bookings (you don’t know which hotel you’re going to get until after you pay)
  • No loyalty or rewards program
  • Cannot view the availability of hostels
  • A limited number of filters