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Booking and Bidding Sight Unseen: A Consumer’s Guide to Opaque Travel Web Sites

Booking travel can be complicated, but the complexities increase tremendously when a consumer books through an “opaque” travel Web site such as Hotwire or Priceline that does not reveal key aspects of the itinerary — including the name of the airline, hotel property, or car rental firm — until after the non-refundable reservation has been made. Further, that process can be even more complex if the opaque site requires the consumer to bid for the travel product, as Priceline does.