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Bidding for hotel rooms, information for a novice!

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Jan 10th, 2003, 12:26 AM
  #1
kerry
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Bidding for hotel rooms, information for a novice!

Can anyone give me any hints, tips or pitfalls when using a website like Priceline? I am a complete beginner. I have investigated the websites and the rates achieved are amazing compared to the hotel's own website rates.

Thank you.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 03:39 AM
  #2
gail
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The 2 main things to remember are that you do not get to select the exact hotel - merely a city or an area within a city. That also means you do not get to choose room type - suite, bedding, view; rooms are designed for 2 people, so can be problematic if traveling with kids. Sometimes hotels can honor special requests if you call hotel directly or request at check-in, but there is no requirement that they do.

The second important factor is that once you bid and it is accepted, you own the room. If you change your plans, have a family emergency, drop dead - anything - it is non-cancellable/non-refundable.

If you can live with these restrictions, you can get great deals on hotels.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 03:39 AM
  #3
Jen
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For a complete education on using Priceline, go to www.biddingfortravel.com, read their FAQ and other stuff. They even have lists of the hotels that people have won in various cities, with the dates and prices.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 04:09 AM
  #4
x
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Do you have a question about your modem and call the phone company to ask? Why not ask your questions on BFT or PL? If you've "investigated the websites" as you say, you are well aware of the appropriate place for asking questions making this is a planted post advertising BFT.

Maybe Hotwire, Expedia, travelocity, hotel.com need to come over here and clutter up the forum with their ads too? BFT must be hurting for revenue.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 05:08 AM
  #5
Mike
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How about if you are going on vacation booked several months away. Are you better off using Priceline months in advance, or better off bidding last minute? I guess I am curious to know when hotels give Priceline and other wholesalers their extra "inventory." Thanks!
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 05:22 AM
  #6
jen
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I agree, xxx. This began happening too suddenly to be coincidence. Why don't you guys peddle your wares elsewhere?
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 07:04 AM
  #7
gail
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While this does sound like an obvious plant for Priceline, it is far too polite to have come from bidding for travel - add some real condescending rudeness and I will believe it came from that company.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 07:13 AM
  #8
anon
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I won't use Priceline because most of the hotels which have to resort to using PL to lowball their rooms, aren't worth staying at on aa nice vacation.
Great for business or when on a tight budget.
But you don't find many *destination hotels* on PL.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 08:06 AM
  #9
Andrew
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I think the people who think these Priceline posts are "planted" are a little paranoid. I've been accused of being a "plant" yet I've never made a nickel from Priceline or BFT. I'm merely an enthusiastic and satisfied PL customer who has even created a website to help PL customers figure out what they paid for their PL hotel rooms.

As for last minute vs. ahead of time: I think you can get great bargains either way. But I tend to recommend people reserve a "regular" room they can cancel then try Priceline (and/or Hotwire) near the last minute, when their plans are more set in stone. That's because PL/HW reservations are non-changeable/non-cancelable.

I've stayed in numerous nice hotels with Priceline; people who whine about most of the PL being not "worth staying at" haven't used Priceline much or at all. Sure, it's biased toward people who want to save money, not people who are extremely picky, but the Priceline rooms tend to be clean and comfortable at worst, sometimes great gems at amazing prices. Some people expect they should get the best hotels in the world for a song with Priceline and are disappointed when they get a clean but dated old Hilton for $30/night. What do you expect for that price???

Andrew
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 08:24 AM
  #10
pat
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Use priceline for all my trips. I could never afford those hotels otherwise. Have always been pleased. Have bid on rooms 6 months in advance and gotten them. Then tried to bid on one in Santa Monica, but they don`t release those rooms until closer to travel time, so it depends. I use the biddingfortravel site to know what to bid.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 09:07 AM
  #11
Andrew
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Oh, great, now Juggular Jenc's paranoia is *really* kicking in! No, no one who has found great bargains is sharing them on Fodors.com to enlighten others - they're all just paid reps pretending to be "customers". Shoot, I guess I should come clean and admit I made $800Million last month on my site where people find out how much Priceline paid for their rooms. I'm writing this from a tiny island in the Pacific I bought with my proceeds. (Q: how do you make money on a site where no one is asked to pay anything? A: volume!!!).

Next please share with us your theory about how JFK was killed by Santa and the Elves. Probably true - I hear that Santa is really a crack marksman.

Andrew
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 09:16 AM
  #12
Sara
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Kerry,
Read the info at biddingfortravel.com to educate yourself, BUT don't be bullied into placing your bid via their site (can you say "kickback"?) Also, I have noticed lately that the "administrator" of the site seems to be telling people to bid awfully high. There are some very good specials for NYC rooms right now and you need to be careful to use Priceline to get a BARGAIN, don't be pushed by biddingfortravel.com into bidding $110 for a room that goes for $119! I think after research you can place a better bid on your own than you can with the administrator's "help". Good luck Kerry!
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 09:22 AM
  #13
xxx
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Anon is completely off base. Just about every hotel but four seasons corp offers 5 star hotels and resorts. That includes Starwood luxury collection, Loews and Hyatt. If you go to bidding for travel you'll see evactly what hotels you're most likely to get. You'll also see that a good amount of the hotels are among the best in the US (incl. Hawaii) and abroad.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 09:39 AM
  #14
Andrew
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Sara: can you give us a specific example of where the "administrator" of BFT (there are several administrators) suggested someone bid "awfully high"?

It's not a "kickback" to use BFT's links - they are a free service and using their links helps support them. If no one uses their links, then BFT will go away or not be free any longer.

Andrew
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 10:06 AM
  #15
jugularjenc
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xxx you are the one off base, not anon. Only one 5* in the entire country uses PL - Raffles in CA. Hyatt, Starwood and Loews don't even have any 5*'s in their chains. *'s are Mobil's system. Do not count PL's 5*'s. Hotels tell PL what star level to rate them as, not the other way around. PL never even looks. Some system, if you are a hotel, that is.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 10:32 AM
  #16
Sara
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Andrew, when a site can only survive because "using their links helps support them" that means THAT THEY ARE GETTING PAID WHEN PEOPLE BID VIA THEIR LINKS" . . . .Wake up.

As to people being told to bid too high - well, it isn't too smart to "start bidding at $95 and increase your bidding in $20 increments" for a 4* property. Use you head, do some research and snap up a deal. If I had listened to the "Administrator" I would have bid $100 on my 4* Chicago hotel room, which by the way, I got by bidding via Priceline.com for $62/night.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 10:45 AM
  #17
sam
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L'Ermitage has been won only once in all the BFT posts. It cost the bidder $225, but she said she could have paid $295 through the hotel, gotten an amenity plus a massage, and probably not a "priceline room". Priceline deal? Not in my books and not in hers.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 10:50 AM
  #18
ronald
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The ultimate revenge for the BFT lady is to use her sight for information and then bid at Priceline not using the link. It feels like legal shoplifting.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 10:59 AM
  #19
John
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I research on BFT and use Priceline all the time, sometimes with the BFT link, sometimes not.

I haven't run across Sheryl (the lead moderator) recommending anyone bid too high, although I've seen her say that getting rejected at $65 shouldn't be surprising when others are hitting at $80.

BFT is a great resource, especially if you can do a little math - look at the taxes paid on winning bids, find out what the local tax rate (%) is, then divide the tax paid by the percentage rate. That will tell you what Priceline paid for the room, regardless of what the winning bid was. Then you can bid at around that level rather than bumping around in the dark. If you're put off by Sheryl or the site, don't use it, and PL will enjoy your money.
 
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Jan 10th, 2003, 11:52 AM
  #20
xxx
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Just curious, jugularjenc, what hotels are 5 star to you? I've stayed in lots and lots of deluxe hotels all over the US as I travel on business 4 mos out of the year and agree with Priceline's rating system. Thanks.
 
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