Why Now is the Time to Use Priceline and Hotwire
Because the discounts on offer in late 2009 are likely to be bigger than ever.
Both of these sites are so-called "opaque" web sites, where you purchase a hotel room without knowing the name of the hotel. The payoff is often a sharply discounted room.
Priceline's “Name Your Own Price” lets you decide how much you want to bid. You choose a star rating and neighborhood, but the hotel's name isn't revealed until after you've made the purchase.
Hotwire does it a bit different, offering Hotwire Limited Rate properties. They name a price, the star class and the neighborhood upfront but not the hotel name, which you only learn after your purchase.
But smart bidders can visit BiddingForTravel, where Priceline users reveal their winning and losing bids. Or go to BetterBidding, which tracks Hotwire hotels as well. To make sure you don't overbid, visit Expedia or Travelocity first to compare posted hotel prices.