Priceline vs. Hotwire Hotel Ratings

The match is set:  Hotwire vs Priceline.  Who has better hotel ratings?

Anyone who travels has probably stayed at a hotel that didn’t quite meet their expectations.  You book a hotel online based on some photos but when you get there, the hotel looks better in photos than in real life.  When people purchase hotels on Hotwire or Priceline, there is a tendency to blame Hotwire or Priceline, and therefore assume one of these companies inflates their ratings.  Anecdotally, I hear this more often about Hotwire than Priceline and I wanted to find out.  Does Hotwire or Priceline tend to be a little more generous in their ratings of hotels?  Since I capture Hotwire and Priceline winning bids on the Hotwire & Priceline Forum, I thought it would be interesting to do a comparison:  Hotwire vs. Priceline.  I wanted this to be as unbiased and non-anecdotal as possible, so I crunched some number to find out.


When people report Hotwire or Priceline winning bids, I post this data to the forum, but I also capture it in a database.  Each time someone reports a win, I review it for accuracy and try my best to match it to a hotel listed on TripAdvisor.  I also record the TripAdvisor URL of their main page for each hotel.  Since I started this process, I was able to extract from my database 420 hotels that were reported as showing up on both Priceline and Hotwire.

It is worth noting that Priceline has a class of hotels called “Resorts”.  A resort hotel is based on more than just the quality of the hotel, but Priceline looks at the facilities and amenities at the hotel.  E.g., a hotel with a spa, fitness centre, multiple food and beverage choices would be considered a ‘resort’.  A resort could be lower end or higher end.  Since Hotwire doesn’t have resorts, I removed these from the dataset.  This left me with 399 hotels to analyze.

Findings – Hotwire vs Priceline Hotel Ratings

The first thing I wanted to do was look at how many of the hotels were rated the same, how many had higher ratings on Hotwire and how many on Priceline.

  • The vast majority – 303 hotels (75.9%) – had the same star rating on both sites
  • 71 hotels (17.8%) had a higher rating on Hotwire
  • 25 hotels (6.3%) had a higher rating on Priceline

I also looked at averages:

  • Hotwire’s average hotel rating was 3.68 stars
  • Priceline’s average hotel rating was 3.615 stars

How much of a variance:  This is an important one.  Is there a big gap between ratings or not?  Most times, the variance was only 1/2 star but in some cases the gap was much wider

  • 71 hotels (17.8%) had a higher rating on Hotwire than Priceline.  Of these, 59 of them were only a half star higher but 12 were rated a full star higher on Hotwire than Priceline.
  • 25 hotels (6.3%) had a higher rating on Priceline that Hotwire.  Of these, 23 of them were only a half star higher, and just 2 were rated a full star higher on Priceline that Hotwire.


Most of the time, ratings are the same on Hotwire and Priceline, but it does appear that Hotwire has a slightly more generous rating system than Priceline.  Afterall, 17.8% of hotels had a higher rating on Hotwire than Priceline.  The gap between ratings is not huge — 1/2 star in all but 3% of hotels where the gap was a full star different.

it is worth noting that the numbers above are based on data from users, and in all likelihood, there are errors in the data.  This isn’t by any means intended to be a statistical research study on hotel ratings.  Just me pulling a few numbers off a database, mostly to satisfy my own curiosity about Hotwire vs. Priceline’s hotel ratings.