Travelocity has quietly rolled out an opaque booking feature on its site. Called Top Secret Hotels, the tool mirrors the booking experience on both Priceline and Hotwire, where customers can book a hotel (at a discount) based on the price, rating, and general location, but not the name (Priceline lets you name your own price). Top Secret Hotels appears as a tab above your search results, so you must enter a search to get there (and it's not available for all cities yet).
Travelocity's feature isn't fully launched yet. I did a search for San Francisco hotels and received 24 options on the opaque side, but over 270 choices through the traditional booking method. Nevertheless, Travelocity President Tracey Weber told USAToday that a full launch is coming, and said certain booking functions will improve as the product grows (for example, hotels' locations are currently vague, but will narrow down as more hotels come aboard). She also claimed customers will be able to save up to 45 percent with the opaque feature.
Readers, would you book using Top Secret Hotels? Or do you prefer booking the old-fashioned way? Does this give Travelocity a leg up on Priceline and Hotwire? How about Expedia and Orbitz? Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Thanks!
(Editor's Note: SmarterTravel is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Hotwire.)