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Founded 2000
Headquarters San Francisco, CA
Parent Expedia, Inc.

Hotwire is a discount travel website that offers low prices on airfare, hotel, rental cars, and vacation packages by selling off unsold travel inventory at discounted prices.

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Hotwire, Inc. is an operating company of Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQEXPE). Expedia also operates,, and Egencia.


Hotwire was launched in 2000 by Karl Peterson, Eric Grosse, Gregg Brockway, and Spencer Rascoff and by six major airlines: American, Northwest, Continental, America West (now US Airways), and United. They were funded by a leading private equity firm, Texas Pacific Group (TPG) with an initial $75 million investment.[1] Prior to its formal launch, it was codenamed Purple Demon.[2]

In September 2003, IAC/InterActiveCorp announced its acquisition of for $663 million. (Expedia spun off from IAC in 2005.) Hotwire's co-partners under IAC included Citysearch, Evite, HSN, Ticketmaster, LendingTree,,, and[3]

In 2007, J.D. Power and Associates Independent Travel Web Site Satisfaction StudySM recognized Hotwire for ranking "Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Independent Travel Web Sites" for the second year in a row.[4] In 2009, they were given the 2008 award for the third time in a row.

Hotwire first launched with opaque airline tickets. They started selling opaque hotel and rental cars a few months later. Package offerings started in 2003. In 2004, Hotwire began to offer select retail travel products. In June 2007, Hotwire removed all airfare booking fees.

Method of operation[edit]

When hotel rooms, airline seats, or rental cars go unsold, travel companies use Hotwire to fill them. Hotwire does not identify the participating companies until after the purchaser has paid so as not to directly compete with regular retail sales of the travel partners. This sales model is known as "opaque". According to the Hotwire web site, they deal with brand-name travel companies exclusively. This strategy allows Hotwire partners to clear out their supply and sell inventory that would otherwise go unsold. Hotwire reveals the prices and the travel dates of all their products upfront and does not sell via a "bidding" or "auction" model. Hotwire also offers a set of open travel APIs that can be used in travel applications.

You can not check into a room if it NOT in your correct name?? supposed manager who I got hung up on 4 times after waiting 45 minutes each time to call back & go through waiting process over again to just hv them say they will call me back with in 3-5 days, OHH is JOKE!!!! 6 hrs on the phone on Saturday, 6.25 hours on the phone Sunday & thought my problem was resolved as they said they were having "COMPUTER ISSUES"  at least Alex was nice enough to tell the truth as these ppl that work for the CO. are VERY nice but seem very scared of losing there job as well!! tODAY i HAD TO CALL AGAIN AFTER CALLING MY 3.5 STAR HOTEL, to check on my reservation in Chicago & OMG, was shocked at what they told me?! The place I am supposed to be in a 3.5 star Hotel is lower level, on a road with so much traffic, (everyone's complaint) as well as as soon as you walk in this Hotel you smell mold that my husband is highly allergic too, so much so that he can't even take any cillins like penicillin, amoxicillin when sick, so let something go bad as they hv my room above the pool (WOW,, I think you're about to be & I had to go trough HELL to even get this room & it did me no Justice as Yelp reviews commented I did exactly what they said & CALLED the Hotel to check my reservation if done through HOTWIRE.COM,not any other agent just hotwire!! Had I known this would be such a nightmare as I just used Travelocity 2 weeks ago, paid the same price & got a HYatt Hotel with fresh omelets made in front of you, as well as a hot & cold buffet,  Travelocity & Expedia I will NEVER take your prices & your Co. for granted as HOTWIRE.COM kept popping up on my search, saying pay LOW for HIGH QUALITY ROOMS?  I have not used since 2007 but when I did B4 it was AMAZING, I got actually a extend a stay America in SanFrancisco California as I was there looking at land it was  delightful, paid minimum money but stayed in a 3.5 star Hotel that was on a the Pacific Ocean, Ocean view room, to top it off it had a full Kitchen like the Hyatt did in Chicago I stayed in 2 weeks ago it was AMAZING but now, IDK who ownes this Co. anymore but need to themselves go out & check there computer system reps because you DO NOT GET WHAT THEY SAY YOU ARE GETTING OR LET ME REPHRASE THAT, THEY SAY A 3.5 STAR HOTEL AT A 2 STAR PRICE??!!!  UHHH NOO, YOU WILL GET THAT 2 STAR ROOM, THE CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS TRY THERE HARDEST AS THE MANAGERS DO BUT THEIR HANDS ARE TIED DO TO THEM BASICALLY LOSING THEIR JOBS WHO WORK FOR MIN WAGE!! is JOKE, SCAM, & I am INSULTED, lets see if this CEO will go on undercover boss or stay at the HOTELS he or she's is sending ppl too blind folded with HIS or HER FAMLIES until the name is released & it has names listed on the bottom of the page saying Hotels like Embessey Suites, HILTON, Hyatt Suites, Radison but in tiny letters it says, or may be comprabible to those places, if it was then it would not be FALSE advertisement but uhhhh NO, not at all!!  I have had reps tell me to actually ask the Hotel if I could use THEIR fridge since they did serve a breakfast as we are going to Chicago for a hard show to get on that we need water, power drinks, snacks, etc etc...??  Are you serious??  I have never gone through this & I am taking this to the TOP of the chaine BELIEVE THAT!  Now 17 hrs total on the phone & still no REFUND, have to wait 3-5 days?!!!  Believe me when I say this Company messed with the wrong women, I will fight & even pay to fly to corp area but will be reimbursed every cent of my money! Even my reservation is in my maiden name, I was married in 2007 but my payment is under my married last name, just an other mistake as I told the rep & is recorded my last name has changed??!! If they know professionalism & NOT want a story in the paper, they need to refund my money ASAP!!  I am over the TOP mad & want to meet the CEO or owners of HOTWIRE.COM & have them join me at my 3.5 star HOTEL in JULY?!!  Undercover Boss were are you??  You are probably there but they are so good at scamming ppl that they would NEVER be on your show as the owners of this business must not care to have SO MANY complaints!! I will keep every site updated on my call back that was PROMISED after all the hours on the phone!!  I as well being savvy made sure to record everything & document every single thing so I would as well have back up as well as my computer HISTORY, love home computers, AMEN for that!!


Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Hotwire, Inc. functions as an operating company of Expedia, Inc. (Expedia also operates,, and Venere and Egencia.)

Karl Peterson, one of Hotwire's four founding members, served as Hotwire's first CEO. In 2006, Hotwire was overseen by Hotwire's 2004-2006 CFO Eric Grosse, another one of Hotwire's four founding members. In January 2009, Eric Grosse became the President of Expedia Worldwide and Clem Bason took over as President of the Hotwire Group.[5][6]

Hotwire operates with one General Manager and six Vice Presidents on its management team. Hotwire began with 4 employees, and then grew to 80 within months. Currently, Hotwire has over 300 employees.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hotwire Launch to Provide Yet Another Way to Offload Cheap Inventory". World Airline News. 2000. Retrieved 2000-09-08.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ "Can Purple Demon avoid Orbitz errors?". Retrieved 2000-07-05.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ "InterActiveCorp grabs onto Hotwire". Retrieved 2003-09-22. 
  4. ^ "J.D. Power and Associates Ranks Top Travel Site for Second Consecutive Year". MSN Money. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  5. ^ "Clem Bason press release".  In 2013 Clem left the company and Henrik Kjellberg became President of, after joining from Expedia Affiliate Network, also as President.
  6. ^ "Hotwire Management". 

External links[edit]