Whether you call this travel trend secret hotels, undercover hotels, blind booking or opaque booking, it's all the same 'educated risk' formula: price-conscious consumer books or bids on a hotel without knowing its exact location.
Popularizing Undercover Hotels Companies like Hotwire and Priceline popularized opaque booking, but recently others have jumped on the bandwagon. At the end of March, Travelocity launched 'Top Secret Hotels' in a direct move to compete with the aforementioned blind booking giants, while Last Minute Travel's Undercover Hotels* share the same goal. Both Travelocity and Last Minute Travel's 'secret hotels' recipe mirrors Hotwire's approach: travel seeker knows the hotel's area, star level, amenities and price, but not it's brand or exact location. It's only when they've committed to the listing (by entering credit card info) that they unlock the secret: the hotel and its location.
*Travel Tip: One not-to-miss feature of Lastmintuetravel.com's undercover hotels is the map located at the bottom of each individual listing. The regular map view shows a fairly large radius where the hotel in question could be located, but if you click on the "bird's eye" view, the area suddenly focuses on a small geo area allowing you to figure out what hotel you're going to get.
[photo by sepblog]