Cendant customers can book discounted room rates via Hotwire's "opaque" pricing system. Opaque pricing requires customers to be flexible about where they stay. Travelers decide the time of their stay then Hotwire searches through a range of hotels for the lowest price. Travelers find out which hotel they're staying at only after they reserve the rooms.
Online travel has proven to be one of the most profitable e-commerce segments, and competition is fierce among companies such as Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire and Priceline. These companies have a huge head-start on Cendant in terms of introducing their names to consumers and striking deals with travel suppliers.
New York-based Cendant, which also owns rental car company Avis, last year acquired computerized reservation system Galileo, Web travel sites Trip.com and Cheap Tickets. Industry analysts are eyeing Cendant closely for indications of how the company will package its Internet travel holdings.
Cendant operates more than 2,000 hotels, including Ramada, Howard Johnson and Travelodge. The company has struck distribution deals with retail travel sites such as Expedia and Travelocity.