I'm about to do some travel, and I don't really care precisely where I stay as long as it's reasonable; here's some notes on that process.
When you go to get a hotel on Hotwire, it doesn't tell you exactly which property you're going to stay at. That's mostly OK except when the hotel inventory includes some stinker places you'd really rather never go to again. Here's one part of how to figure out what they're selling you.
Better Bidding is a forum for Priceline and Hotwire users to exchange information about which hotel they're getting when they bit through those services. The Better Bidding Pittsburgh page lists star ratings, locations, and amenities of featured sites, plus for Priceline how much people paid.
To look at general hotel reviews, one source is Tripadvisor. The Tripadvisor Pittsburgh page gives lists of what things other travelers (or perhaps paid shills, who can tell) have said about places. You can't trust any individual review any more than any random Amazon review, but in the aggregate they're a good display of alternatives.
I have yet to find a travel site that does good pricing and availability for travel along a route, the question we run into every year where we want a room somewhere between the Bridge and West Branch that's nice and pretty cheap. If you know where you're going to stay, and it's a big city, and you're willing to dig a little, there are some deals.