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Hotwire is a travel website platform that allows its users book hotel rooms and flights, rent cars and buy vacation packages. They have been online since 2000 functioning as an operating company of Expedia. They currently offer more than 173,000 hotel options in numerous destination points. The site finds hotels around popular travel sites and at pocket friendly rates. Their hotel options are spread throughout North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe.
They have managed to stay on top of their industry for so long owing to their incredible sales expertise. They clear out most of their supply as a result of successful implementation of the opaque sales inventory. The website’s filtering options allows users to find ideal offers by sorting by price, rating or location. During booking of hotels, the hotel names remain anonymous but the location and available features are given upfront. Their names are only revealed after payment has been completed. The price watch feature allows the site to send subscribers emails when prices for certain dates change.
Booking of airline tickets can similarly be done through Hotwire Airlines. This site shows flight options at all available airports in a specific region. The search results on flights show details like the airline, baggage fees and number of stops during the trip for domestic flights. International flights may include many stops in different airlines. A flight score is also included, which is basically the overall rating on the quality of the flight experienced by previous users.
They also offer car rental services around popular sites and hotels. Additionally, the site displays car options for various price ranges. Hotwire lists all available car rental companies for users to choose at their convenience. The total charges applicable is shown after specifying the days the car has been rented in the per-day rental costs option.
As with most travel companies, Hotwire can let you bundle many reservations into one vacation package. Many a times, this leads to discounted prices compared to reserving each one separately. Hotwire has more flexibility during combinations of various bundles as compared to other online booking sites. An example of this is the ability to combine booking of a car and a hotel without having to book a flight. This is helpful in situations where it is quicker and less costly to drive to the hotel as compared to booking a flight.
If rental cars, airline tickets and hotel rooms are not sold by the respective companies, Hotwire comes in to fill these remaining spaces. Using a sales model called ‘opaque’, Hotwire deals with participating companies anonymously until after payment has been received. This is to avoid there being direct competition from regular retail sales. This strategy is ideal in ensuring that this travel partners sell inventory which would have gone unsold without the assistance of Hotwire.
Hotwire deals exclusively with brand name travel companies. They set the prices prior to selling and reveal them upfront meaning that they do not decide their prices by using the auctioning model. Also, they include various saving plans based on rates as compared to the lowest rates in leading travel sites. The prices shown are not inclusive of taxes and other fees. All booking done by this site is final and cannot be refunded.
Hotwire has been known to be a very dominant site in the business of online booking. This is due to their aggressive approach to advertising and marketing campaigns. Having acquired the Travelocity’s website (previously owned by a rival company), the shareholders invested big on a strategic marketing deal. The deal involves Hotwire providing resources and technology for customers’ use and Travelocity focusing on brand marketing with the large kitty provided by Hotwire.
They have invested more than $1.6 billion in advertising making them among the top 30 advertisers in the US. This leads to their ads generating more conversation offline, which is in face-to-face conversations, showing the relevance of marketing strategies in these times and they are quick in utilizing them. In Hotwire’s latest brand campaign, they claim to focus on the delight shown by customers after they secure a deal. Furthermore, they also looked to focus on increasing awareness on their discounts and more clarity in how they work.
Due to opaque accounting to between 2% to 4% of all online sales, it means that with proper ad campaigns and strategies, it is advantageous to focus on a more aggressive approach and this is what Hotwire have done. Even though it has been claimed that opaque model is slowly diminishing, the shareholders of Hotwire have known that semi-opaque is more marketable and this is where they are now focusing their marketing on.
Additionally, they have released a set of video ads which feature a famous movie star and are mainly about an environment known as the ‘no pressure zone’. Its basic ideology is to bring to light the no pressure feature during booking of flights, rental cars and hotels in Hotwire. This is mainly due Hotwire being an online company hence there is less pressure to answer questions on the amenities you may desire to work with.
The Hotwire top bosses decided that connecting with their customers is a priority over focusing on selling of their services and product. This campaign provides great assistance especially in solving problems experienced in the virtual world of online booking. They are now focused on targeting the brands to communicate in a more personal way to an individual.