Opaque Sites are booking channels and OTA websites where the supplier (in this case the hotel) remains hidden until after the purchase is complete. The customer sees only the product category (destination, star rating of the hotel) and the price but not the brand. After paying, the website will reveal the name of the hotel. Usually it doesn’t accept refunds, changes or cancellations.
It is basically a non-transparent discount offer. The sites are called ‘opaque’ because the supplier remains hidden during the booking process.
This segment is popular in the travel industry. It is used to sell unsold hotel rooms, airline seats etc.
The pricing strategy helps hotels to sell empty rooms without damaging their brand integrity and price positioning. It allows the hotel to reach out to a price conscious audience in addition to their usual target group. An advantage is the guaranteed revenue the hotel has, as the reservation can’t be modified after purchase.
The best known Opaque Travel Websites are Priceline and Hotwire.
Many OTAs have also introduced their own version of Opaque Pricing:
- Travelocity / Lastminute – Top Secret Hotels
- Getaroom.com – Unpublished Rates
- Booking – Hidden Hotel
- GTAHotels.com – Mystery Hotel
- Hotel.de – Hotel Roulette
- HotelsCombined.com – Hotel Roulette
- TravBuddy.com – Hotel Roulette
- Easyclicktravel.com – Off The Record
- HotelDirect.co.uk – Hidden Gem’ Hotels
- BookIt.com – Mystery Hotel
- SuperBreak.com – Mystery Hotels
- Wotif.com – Wot Hotel?