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Anyone been disappointed in a Priceline Hotel?

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Anyone been disappointed in a Priceline Hotel?

Old Jan 9th, 2005, 07:53 PM
  #21  
 
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Patrick:
Some hotels, some of the time-
I don't think it's an "always" sort of thing. Management practices and staff
attitude vary widely, IME.
R5
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 08:37 PM
  #22  
 
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I have used Priceline many times over past six years. Yes, there have been a few disappointments - a Days Inn in Mount Pleasant SC was moldy and dirty, a Quality Inn airport in Portland, OR and the Radisson in Worthington OH were the worst of the lot, all were not clean and just plain cruddy. But for the most part we have gotten wonderful deals and I have never been treated poorly because I was a Priceline customer. Some of the most outstanding bargains were hotels in Washington DC and Alexandria, Chicago and Seattle. I always research biddingfortravel before making a bid. I also almost always ask for a 3*. Only got burned on one of those.

The only real issue I have with Priceline now is the fact that they no longer reveal their booking fee - in the past I knew it was $5.00 (or whatever it was) Now they blend it into the taxes and fees. Recent taxes and fees on a bid of $42 were about $15.

Pam
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 09:41 PM
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Yes, Pam, and Priceline's booking fee went up a few months ago. It makes single night hotel bids less attractive now.

Andrew
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 10:19 PM
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I've used priceline a few times, mostly for single night stays and have only run into 1 major problem, the hotel quality was clearly not what priceline rated it...3* was really no more than a 2, I took pictures of the room and wrote a detailed letter to Priceline with my complaints and was given a full refund. I still use priceline and with the help of BFT and betterbidding have gotten hotels I was hoping for..or at worst, was prepared to end up with. On average, have saved $50 or more than lowest rates anywhere else.
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 10:51 PM
  #25  
 
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Having had to sleep in a lot of hotel rooms while on business travel, my jaded attitude was "a hotel room is a hotel room is a hotel room" (with apologies to Gertrude Stein). The hotels that my companies paid for were usually the top-end chain hotels: Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, etc.

Now that I'm retired and having to pay for my own rooms, I discovered Priceline less than a year ago and find it a wonderful bonus.

I do extensive research on biddingfortravel and on tripadvisor before placing a bid. If, say, BFT lists a particular hotel, say a Hilton in Portland, as the three star hotel that has been receiving the last five or six bids on 3* hotels in Portland, well, duh (I says to myself) - if I bid on a 3* in Portland, chances will be close to 100% that I'll get the Hilton.

So, I read everything I can about that Hilton on BFT and on tripadvisor. If people have been having good experiences and the place is CLEAN, I make my bid as close to the prices of the winning bids as I can. This way, there's a 90% chance of getting that Hilton at that price. Very little surprise and works about 70% of the time for me.

The rest of the time there simply isn't enough information - reviews - and so it becomes a lot of guesswork.

The only time this system hasn't worked for me was the Courtyard in Omaha. Glowing reviews and yet it turned out to be just about one of the lousiest hotels I've ever stayed in. Makes me wonder if the those glowing reviews weren't written by someone working for the hotel - lo!

Doing your homework and getting it wrong 1% of the time seems like a pretty good risk factor to me.

Generally I've gotten wonderful rooms, wonderful service, and wonderful prices. The whole Priceline system floors me with wonder. Outstanding have been the Homewood Suites in Salt Lake City; Courtyard in Markham (Toronto), Canada; The HIlton Garden Inn in Beaverton, Oregon; the Doubletree in Sonoma County, California; and the Marriott in Vancouver, Canada.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 05:22 AM
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I'd had nothing but good experiences (no bad rooms or staff attitudes) with PL, but I guess that's just partly luck. I would like to add a couple of insights:

I always call the hotel a couple of days after winning, to specify my preference for bed type and a nonsmoking room. I don't know much about hotels, but perhaps this gets me in line for a better room.

The zones in PL are not only somewhat arbitrary, they are also fluid. PL changes the boundaries periodically; the skeptic in me agrees with the above suspicions that they're including less-desirable places or stretching desirable areas. But in NYC they spilt up parts of downtown as it became more popular and had more hotels.

Another caution is a reminder that biddingfortravel, while tremendously helpful, has no formal ties to PL and therefore no special insights into its offerings -- they rely entirely on reports from members and thus if PL adds a new hotel, the first they hear about it is after somebody wins it.

Likewise, BFT has no way at all of knowing that a hotel is no longer working with PL; they drop hotels from their lists only if they close! New hotels are added at the bottom of the zone/star listing, so if there's a long list, the ones at the bottom are more likely wins that the ones at the top.

As mentioned above PL requires hotels to have an on-premises restaurant (and room service, IIRC) in order to be rated 3 stars; in NYC and elsewhere, there are thus some great deals to be had in the 2.5* group.

Whenever I'm about to bid on a new city or one I haven't visited in a while, I print out BFT's list of hotels and then go to their "win" messages an annotate the list with the winning bid amounts for the past few weeks. This tells me which hotels and zones are most active, and gives me clues on which hotels to research and how much to bid. Takes about 10 minutes, which is time well spent.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 05:52 AM
  #27  
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parisandelle - Please tell us which hotel you got, in which area did PL say it was, and which area did you think it was in.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 06:16 AM
  #28  
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Reading all above, and having used Priceline maybe 12 times in about 7 cities / states- I can say that I have never been disappointed in the sense that this first poster was. But then I have never used Priceline outside of the USA. Maybe specific market area/ rating can also be a factor. If you think the hotel location designation was in error, I would follow up.

I have had numerous excellent results in the Chicago market. Maybe because I know the area locations so well and also maybe because I don't think I have ever bid for anything under 4 or 5 star level? Don't know. Also had great luck in NYC, Ft.Lauderdale, San Diego, and especially terrific luck in St.Louis. This was so fabulous for such little money that it no Priceline stay will ever probably top it. I got the Westin Couples Station with 20 foot windows and 3 rooms with marble spa bath looking into Cards' stadium. But I do not expect this to happen next time.

I have never been given a "worse" room yet. The only time I was given what I did consider a problem room and almost the exact opposite of what I requested (but kept it as it was such a hassel changing again in a full house) was when I was paying absolute top dollar at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in WDW. Sometimes, I do think it is just fates also, not Priceline. A full house is a full house. If I wanted to be in an exact certain environment and/or location I would not use Priceline or Hotwire for that reserve.

One time in Sarasota I got the hotel I absolutely wanted the most on Hotwire when it was "fully" booked and I could not reserve it direct. It's a computer world now.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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If you're thinking of using PL for your upcoming trip to NYC, I'm not sure it's a good idea. I think you're someone who cares a lot about your hotel and there are good mixed with bad. You might also wind up with a small(er) room than you'd like and you might have to pay an extra fee if you need a crib etc. for the baby. I do think the hotel areas are better defined for NYC than they are in London though. (I also think it's silly to use PL if you need to be in a specific location).


You should look at the hotel list on biddingfortravel.com I would not recommend bidding 4* midtown east b/c it includes the W New York which has tiny rooms and the Waldorf which is getting dreadful reviews. Unfortunately, the Omni Bershire, the Intercontintal Barclay and the Grand Hyatt are also in that area/star level and are good hotels.

I just don't think PL is for you. BTW, I think easyclicktravel is either owned by the biddingfortravel people or PL. It should be Ok.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 06:46 AM
  #30  
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I've never ever had a problem with priceline because I know I'm only bidding for an area and quality level not a particular hotel.

I've used priceline at least 50 times all over the US and never once been disappointed.
 
Old Jan 10th, 2005, 07:47 AM
  #31  
 
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I've only had 1 bad stay with Priceline and that was at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento. It was more of a timing issue though than a Priceline issue. The hotel was perfectly fine. We just happened to stay the same weekend as some large group of high school kids who were on a field trip visiting the capitol. They were not well supervised and were all over the hotel, making noise well into the night. Both nights I had to call the front desk a couple times to have them make the kids on our floor quiet down. It was also difficult getting around the hotel because the kids were everywhere - in the elevators, in the halls, in the lobby, etc and there were tons of them.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 08:26 AM
  #32  
 
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I have used priceline many times and for the most part have been pleased. My last stay however I really got the snooty treatment from the check-in staff. I had called the hotel directly to make certain that I had a non smoking room so at check in I asked-Is that nonsmoking? only to receive a lecture that basically said: beggars can't be choosers. Ironically at the end of the diatribe the staff person said: Here's your nonsmoking/king room. It was a great room, maybe he felt he'd extracted his pound of flesh. So I don't think in that instance the staff were overly impressed w/ my shopping savy. Although I did pay 50 dollars for a 195 room Now hopefully my 235 dollar room in Boston that I just got for 85 is a pleasant surprise as well.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 09:05 AM
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It surely makes no sense for hotel staff to have an atittude about what you paid. Hotels choose to release rooms to PL, usually because they expect that otherwise the rooms would be unsold. So even if you pay only $50 or $75 for your room, that's money that the hotel has agreed to accept, that it would't have gotten anyway. If I were treated badly, I would report this to the hotel management.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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I've used priceline in Washington, DC; Arlington, VA; Alexandria, VA; Glasgow; Manchester; and Liverpool, and have never been disappointed.
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Old Jan 12th, 2005, 07:08 PM
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Put simply,

DO NOT waste your time playing with Priceline.com IF YOU HAVE only ONE "hotel of choice" (possible exception being "The Venetian" in Las Vegas, as they're the only 5-star hotel, and you can telegraph your interest to one hotel and one only).

THAT said, Priceline has been little short of AWESOME in my lengthy experience as a customer. I've found great rates from Spokane to Halifax to San Diego and many spots in between.

On rare occasion I have found myself not as excited as I liked at the NAME of the hotel I'd be staying at, but even those evolved to be acceptable and comfortable locations, always at a great rate.

But again, specific to YOUR post here, DON'T use priceline given the case you mapped out.

Save Priceline for when your exact hotel doesn't matter, and when you'll feel best about getting a great rate!

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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 06:14 AM
  #36  
 
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In terms of the poster's original remark, about a London hotel....We will be in London later this summer, so I recently was looking over the reviews at BFT. In the 3* category (I forget which area, maybe Kensington), there were at least two hotels with really poor reviews, so I immediately made a note to myself that we would not take a chance on bidding that area (or star level). So careful reading of all reviews posted is a good starting point.

In the US, we've used Priceline extensively (and typically bid at the 2.5* level). The only really unpleasant experience we had was when I couldn't land anything in southern Virginia and so went down to a 2*. That put us in a Ramada that, overall, was quite shabby and I resolved never to bid 2* again.

In Chicago (for instance), at 2.5* we've had everything from a new, high-rise Residence Inn just off Michigan Avenue (for $45) to the somewhat tired Tremont (for, I think, the same price). I've just taken a look at BFT and the only other 2.5* listing for No. Michigan Avenue right now is the Seneca...so you have the possibility of landing one of two much older properties or the gem - the Residence Inn. I've never wanted to bid 4* for NoMichiganAve because the Hyatt Regency comes up so much and I've no desire to stay in such a huge place - also, its location, along with the Swissotel, is not all that great from my POV. But careful reading of what reviews are available at BFT are certainly the first step towards a positive PL experience.

B/t/w....what is the new booking fee at PL? I wasn't aware of a change...
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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I've had great luck with priceline hotels, the most notable being several stays below $100 for the Millineum Hilton in NYC. The key is to join the frequent guest program of whichever hotel you are visiting and the front desk help will be accomodating if they weren't in the first instance. Bidding For Travel is a brilliant site and provides you with all of the necessary tools to make a decent bid. All that being said, I will never use Priceline again for air travel as my one experience resulted in a cancelled flight for which the airline refused to rebook me, stating "you bought your ticket on priceline, sir."
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 03:52 PM
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