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Hotwire vs. Priceline for last minute hotel--your experience

Hotwire vs. Priceline for last minute hotel--your experience

Oct 19th, 2004, 09:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,237
Hotwire vs. Priceline for last minute hotel--your experience

I've never used either. What are the pros and cons of each. Where will I find better deals? thanks.
julies is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 09:12 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Read www.biddingfortravel.com for Priceline strategies, winning bids and possible hotel lists.

Read www.betterbidding.com for Hotwire hotel lists (based on star levels, locations and amenities).

If you want the best deal, Priceline are often cheaper, but it takes a lot more preparation and time to get them. Hotwire is much easier. Look up the deals, check with betterbidding.com to see if you can figure out the hotel, and purchase.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 09:18 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Priceline is almost always cheaper than Hotwire for hotels. In my experience I have beat Hotwire's prices by around $20-$30 per night, sometimes much more, and Hotwire's fees are higher. This is easily verifiable by visiting the biddingfortravel.com website. There have been many times Hotwire's prices are more than a hotel's own website. I use Hotwire for informational purposes only and take that info into consideration when bidding on priceline. As mentioned above, the most important thing to do is to check biddingfortravel for prior winning bids and learn about the free rebidding process. Good luck.
travelinwifey is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 09:23 AM
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julies: I've only used Priceline. You must go to www.biddingfortravel.com and read how to bid for Priceline before you ever use it. It will make you a "smarter" Priceline bidder and avoid you making any first time bidding mistakes. You will also see what hotels you'll likely get with Priceline and see hotels reviews by Priceline winners so you can make a decision whether you want to risk bidding in that area.
The good: Great prices in my experience.
The so-so: You don't know what hotel you'll get, but biddingfortravel.com could actually tell you which ones you'll get or at least narrow the possibilities.
The bad: You can't change your travel dates. It's non-refundable, although you can get insurance with Priceline. (Make sure you read what the rules are for insurance refunds). You could get a crappy room in a crappy hotel (but again www.biddingfortravel.com could help you avoid that).
My advice is not to use Priceline if the hotel/room is that important to you and not to use Priceline on important trips like honeymoons or anniversaries.
If you want examples of some wins I've had, let me know. I'll be glad to share.
Hopefully someone will answer you about Hotwire.
Oct 19th, 2004, 09:37 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,344
I've only used Hotwire, and I used it on my honeymoon this past August. We got the Hyatt in Maui for $200/night when the cheapest rack rate we could find was around $365/night. We had a great experience, and had a beautiful room. I would definitely use Hotwire again, and would also like to try Priceline.
beachgirl86 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I have used both multiple times, and I'll give you an example.

We have about 8-9 people going to Dallas for a wedding 11/20. One room for two nights and three other rooms for just one night. Need a 4* in the Park Central area.

Dallas is pretty easy city to bid 4* on Priceline because of its numerous "free bid" zones, and lots of records on biddingfortravel. I know I should be able to get something close the minimum of $40 for a 4*. Perhaps $42-45. Add maybe $8-10 for tax and fees, and that's about $50 a room all-in.

However, in order to get the particular rooms I need (one for two nights, 3 for one night), so I went to Hotwire. Based on the information I get from betterbidding.com, I know that the Westin Park Central is for $51 (for one night), or $49 (for two nights, each). Tax and fees are about $9 per room, per night; for about $60 total.

So, Hotwire is about $10 more than Priceline in this case, but 1) I love Westin's bed, shower and shampoo; so I'd prefer it to other 4* anyways; and 2) I can guarantee to have the whole party at the same hotel.

But if it was for just one room, then I'd probably use Priceline and save about $8-10.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 04:18 PM
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Thanks for the comments. I think I'll play around a little with the sites before jumping.
julies is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 07:04 PM
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I've used both for many years. Until recently, I was overall happier with the Hotwire hotels but got better rates (sometimes significantly) with Priceline.

Despite what you read at BFT regarding Hotwire rates, I have always gotten a substantially lower rates with Hotwire compared to other resources.

This year, however, Hotwire rates have soared for many major cities: NYC, Boston, Baltimore...so I've been using Priceline. But, Hotwire is still fabulous for an overnight stopover en route (recently booked one night at a Radisson for $58, web rate $135).

Either way, it is absolutely essential to shop like the dickens and book a backup you can cancel (which will also give you a good idea of rates for your dates at your destination).

Note that you can often narrow down (even figure out) the Hotwire or Priceline hotel you may get by shopping the packages (though this works better with Hotwire). To do this, however, you must be able to determine in which of the "areas" each hotel is located. And, no guarantees, as you could still get another hotel.
djkbooks is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 07:06 PM
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PS - With regard to "last minute", I've found the rates are way lower booking way far in advance. This year, I booked the Sheraton (with Hotwire) and the Hilton (with Priceline) in NYC early in the year for just under $100/night, and the rates were much, much higher later on.
djkbooks is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,399
Interresting comments djbooks. Would you mind providing examples where you booked Hotwire hotels at a better rate than Priceline? In more than 40 bids I have never found that to be true. I'm just curious, just wondering. One thing that does give hotwire an advantage is that you can use the icons to discover the exact hotel in many cases.
travelinwifey is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 05:09 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 961
I agree - I'm going to DC this weekend and for Thurs. night got a 4 * for $70 (i asked for a 3* and was upgraded) and Fri/Sat/Sun got a 3* for $55. I booked it about 2-3 months ago. The past two weeks, however, show the 4* going for $90 and the 3* going for $70-75.
radiofanatic is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 07:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,998
There is a reason for that, djkbooks and radiofanatic, with PCLN anyway. Hotels have multi-tiered PCLN rates. As (or if) the hotel begins to book up, the lower tiers of rates are closed out, one by one. As occupancy continues to improve in this economy, you'll find this to be the case more and more often.

Also, what I've seen here anyway, is that the lowest tier rate is being set higher and higher, and the other tiers move up correspondingly. What used to go here for a lowest tier of $46 (after 9-11) went to low 50's in the improving economy, then upper 50's, then into the 60's, and I believe higher than that currently...another reason why you might find better rates the earlier you bid, barring, heaven forbid, an unforeseen future disaster. From the hotel's perspective, although they are not getting as many PCLN stays with the higher rate, their bottom line has improved because the average rate increased.

Generally speaking I think you can get the best deals via PCLN, but those are also the very first rates hotels lock out altogether for that very reason.
OO is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 07:54 AM
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Hotwire also has a much more liberal hotel rating system. Many people pay a higher rate for a 4*,3*,2* etc. on Hotwire only to learn the hotel is rated a 3*,2*, or 1* via Priceline. This is documented in BFT's Hotwire section.
travelinwifey is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,399
Also, under bft's General Observations section for Hotwire there are several pages where customers paid more than what was offered elsewhere, and Hotwire guarantees double the difference back. Some have been lucky enough to get the entire hotel stay free, so that should tell you to be careful when bidding Hotwire
travelinwifey is offline  
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