We hear a lot of talk about Opaque Pricing and Opaque Travel Websites, but what is it really? It is in short a non-transparent value offer. What??? This needs to be explained in a bit more detail, right? Another arrow in the quiver when it comes to addressing many of the issues we are asked about in our hotel revenue management consulting company.

A non-transparent value offer, or pricing opacity, basically means that you can’t see the brand of the product type you are buying. It allows hotels to offer discounts, varying with great range from their public prices, without affecting their price positioning.

Wikipedia defines Opaque Inventory as follows: a term used to describe the market of selling unsold travel inventory at a discounted price (click here for more).

It is called ‘opaque’ because the supplier, in this case the hotel, remains hidden until after the reservations (purchase) is complete.

It allows hotels to reach more prices conscious consumers apart from their direct target markets. This type of hotel guest is less concerned with the specifics of the hotels facilities and services. Instead he is driven mainly by price.

The best known Opaque Travel Websites are Priceline and Hotwire:


I love William Shatner by the way. Best co-branding and marketing campaigns ever…


They do not show the name of the hotel to the client until the reservation is confirmed and payment is taken.

Priceline is a bidding website where the consumer names his price and the website matches anonymous hotel offers. Hotwire however works with a fixed price for a hotel. It is a travel search site where the consumer can compare hotel location, facilities, services and star rating; just the hotel name is hidden.

This segment is an important one and offers a substantial amount of demand to help fill your unsold rooms. Potential of such importance that many online travel agency websites have since introduced their own variant 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  • Getaroom.com – Unpublished Rates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?
There are even some communities or info board websites with tips and discussions by consumers on how to get the best deals on these opaque hotel websites;

If you still have doubts about how to apply opaque pricing to your revenue management strategy, don’t hesitate to ask our hotel revenue management consulting experts.

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