How does priceline work?

Mar 29th, 2007, 11:22 AM
  #1  
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How does priceline work?

Please excuse my ignorance - don't really have Priceline in South Africa

I will be in New York for 10 days in June and would like to stay near Time Square - stayed at Milford Plaza last time - great location but thats about it. Anyway, have seen Priceline mentioned a lot on this forum and I know to select 4* hotels and click Midtown West section right? But how does the price thing work? Do i put my own price and what price should I put - don't want to be silly, but your dollar makes our Rand tremble in its wallet

Thanks so much for any advice

capetownfolk is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 11:43 AM
  #2  
GoTravel
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Capetown, it will be nearly impossible to get a 10 day stay in Manhattan in one bid. You'll have to split the bid into two or three bids and take the chance that you may have to move hotels two or three times.

Go to www.BiddingforTravel.com and www.BetterBidding.com and spend a couple of hours reading.

There are NO shortcuts to getting a good deal on priceline. You must put in the time to read but you will end up saving hundreds to thousands of dollars on your stay.
 
Mar 29th, 2007, 11:55 AM
  #3  
 
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First, go to biddingfortravel.com and look up hotels that come up as 4* Midtown West; then look at recent winning bids to find out what people have been paying for.

Not that there are 12 hotels listed on biddingfortravel.com for MTW 4* as potential winning hotels. Check each one of them and see what their prices are for the nights you want, and also make sure all of them are acceptable hotels to you, by finding out more information on Tripadvisor or elsewhere.

Now, after finding out how much those hotels are asking for, what people have been getting them on Priceline, and deciding on your own budget, you need to set a maximum bid for yourself, and a realistic opening bid that you really hope to get. Also realize the final cost is higher because of tax and fees. Do a mock bidding on Priceline, but don't actually bid, and you'll see what the taxes are.

Okay, say your maximum is $180, and you really hope to get it for $150.

Now, because there are two zones in NYC that don't have 4* - Upper East Side and Upper West Side - you get two "free rebids", without having to wait 24 hours to place the same bid again. Go place a bid for MTW for $150. If you don't get it, place another bid MTW plus UES for something between $150 and $180 - say $165. If you don't get it, add UWS too - for $180. [What I described is the simple version - you can technically also bid for MTW + UWS, but you need to start the brand new bid to do it.]

Now, if you still can't get it for $180, which is your maximum, you need to wait 24 hours and do it all over again.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 11:56 AM
  #4  
 
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GoTravel is absolutely right that it's hard to get a 10-day bid. Break it up.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 12:03 PM
  #5  
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You guys are the best!

I will see how best to split it up and do the reading. I also noticed that if you type in a close date - say end March you get much cheaper quotes on their hotel list than if you enter mid June - obviously the closer to the travel date the better the bid. However, to get American visas you have to book your hotel well in advance

10pm here now so will log back on in the morning and see what has developed
capetownfolk is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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No, bidding closer to the date doesn't get you a better price. You could get the best deal the day before or 3 months before - it's hard to tell. Priceline gets new hotel inventory all the time, based on the hotels' need to fill rooms.

If you are seeing prices, then you are using Priceline's conventional travel site, not the "Name Your Own Price" service where you can save a lot of money. You aren't going to save anything using Priceline's conventional booking site - no better than Travelocity or Expedia. With "Name Your Own Price" you have to offer a price and then it is either accepted or not - and then you find out the hotel name...

And by the way, hotel prices in Mannhattan in March are likely to be way cheaper than in June - that's probably why you thought it was cheaper to bid now.
Andrew is online now  
Mar 29th, 2007, 12:52 PM
  #7  
 
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In case you don't know this already, Priceline will charge your credit card immediately when they accept your bid - before you know what you get.

There's no refund, no cancellation, and in most cases you can't dispute whether a hotel is in the right star level or not. [That's why you need to check ALL hotels that have been reported; still Priceline can add hotels to their own list, so your hotel may not have been reported on biddingfortravel.com.] If you can't go or don't like the hotel, you won't get anything back.
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Mar 30th, 2007, 06:27 AM
  #8  
Jed
 
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If I were looking for a 10 day hotel stay on PL, I would give it a try instead of assuming that a 10 day bid wouldn't work. I'm not saying that it will work, but if it doesn't, you don't lose anything.

With PL, I have sometimes been pleasantly surprised with a positive response to what I considered a low bid.

I'm sure we would all be interested to read what happened with your PL experience.
Jed is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 06:41 AM
  #9  
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Thanks everyone
I am now going to spend some time reading bidding for travel and taking a note of all your very valuable points.

So the bottom line is I do not need to wait til just before I leave to get the best price, I can get that now.

One last question - if i bid at a higher/ more reasonable price of say $220, will tah tensure I get a "better" 4* hotel or does it not make a difference - how do priceline decide what to give to whom?
capetownfolk is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 06:54 AM
  #10  
 
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Bidding higher than necessary will not get you a better hotel. Just more profit for PL and whichever hotel accepts your bid.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 07:36 AM
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Before you invest a lot of time and effort in learning the ropes and researching Priceline, make sure that you have a credit card that works with them; they can be fussy about accepting non-US credit cards.
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Mar 30th, 2007, 07:43 AM
  #12  
GoTravel
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NO! A higher bid will not get you a better hotel.

Again, this is covered at the two websites I named. You must spend time reading.

Also, do not bid if you need a room for more than two people.
 
Mar 30th, 2007, 08:08 AM
  #13  
 
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My suggestion is: do NOT bid for ten days at a higher price.

The whole point of bidding on priceline is to get a rock bottom price for a good hotel, so bidding higher defeats that purpose. You might as well shop around and find a discounted price which you can cancel, instead of bidding on priceline and paying in advance for a hotel room that you may not use. Once you win on Priceline, you cannot cancel, your money is spent the moment you win the bid, so spend your money wisely. Make sure that what you are bidding on is exactly what you want.

If you bid on priceline, you are guaranteed a certain star level of hotel, not a particular hotel in that star category. This is where research comes in, because NY MTW shows 12 different hotels at the 4* level. If you bid 4* MTW, you will get one of these hotels, but you won't know which one until you've won your bid.

At the moment, looking at 4* MTW winning bids on biddingfortravel.com, the least expensive is a $150 that won recently. I'd take that as a guideline - you could realistically get a room for $150 a night, 4* MTW. You may not get it on your first bid or even your third bid, but you have lots of time.

Last year, I was bidding 4* MTW and got the Hilton for $110.

On the other hand, 4* MTE (mid town EAST) is showing the Hyatt for a winning bid of $130 at the moment.

Rates vary with availability.

The tendency is to want to "try your hand" at priceline and to start bidding immediately. Everyone on this board has so far advised you: DON'T. Not until you've done a lot of research and know exactly what you are doing and are 100% certain of the dates and the location.

You have a good chance of getting a 4* MTW/MTE for about $150 a night. You'll probably have to divide up your ten days - 3, 3, 4 or even 2, 3, 3, 2.

Good luck! and best of research to you!
easytraveler is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 08:35 AM
  #14  
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<""At the moment, looking at 4* MTW winning bids on biddingfortravel.com, the least expensive is a $150 that won recently. I'd take that as a guideline - you could realistically get a room for $150 a night, 4* MTW. You may not get it on your first bid or even your third bid, but you have lots of time."">

easy, the above is not true for a couple of reasons; we don't know capetown's dates in June and we don't know what event may be happening over capetown's dates to drive rates up significantly.

This is why you must do your homework for priceline.

A $150 bid is a waste of time if hotel's rates are $500 per night and a waste of money if hotels are $175 per night.
 
Mar 30th, 2007, 09:17 AM
  #15  
Jed
 
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I suggested above that you should try at first for the whole 10 days. I should add that if you do, you should start at a low bid, and not go higher than the usual successful bid. You will lose nothing by trying, and can see how it works.

I have heard that the most common mistake a PL novice does is bid too high at first in his/her zeal to get a room.
Jed is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 09:44 AM
  #16  
 
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Rates don;t vary by how close you are to the date - they vary by how busy the city is. March is still fairly low season, while June is more mid season. You will have to expect to pay significantly more in June than you would in Feb/March - though not as much as Nov/Dec (when Priceline often has very little to offer since hotels are full).

Just be VERY sure that you can live with ANY of the hotels that are listed in your area - since once you bid the money is gone - not matter what you may hate about the hotel.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 10:43 AM
  #17  
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Hi all
8.30pm here and a very hot evening.
Have been home since 3pm and reading your web links pretty much since then!! Finding the bid to travel site a little frustrating as so many things I click on say site not available but if I click refresh they sometimes come up - oh well

I have learnt a lot. Here is my current thinking:
Could be a good idea to bid for a 10 day booking - got nothing to lose.
We are in NY as follows: arrive 16 June - fly to London 26 June

I have spent hours trawling the discount web sites and coming up with very average 3* hotels at $240 incl (Milford Plaza - yuck) to $270 incl (Warwick), so any 4* hotel coming in at even $200 has got to be better than I'm getting now. Maybe I should try booking 10 days at $180 and see what happens - I have checked out all the hotels and they are all fine/ better than the Milford
Good point about the credit card which I also picked up from the bid travel site - they sem to like Am Ex. Also had fun with the address bit on Priceline - I decided that Cape Town is in Florida!!
OK - going to try now and will let you all know
capetownfolk is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 10:54 AM
  #18  
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Rejected - can you believe it a nice girl like me!!
went in at $160 for 10 nights MTW - no good. Then included MTE and upped it to $180 - still no good, so left the page with my tail between my legs and ran back to you guys.
By the way, other than MTW where I want to be and MTE a compromise, what else would I have ticked as a third choice?
Think I shall wait a few weeks and try again and also try splitting up the dates
Thanks for all the input - keep the comments coming - this is proving to be an intersting posting
capetownfolk is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 11:08 AM
  #19  
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apologies rkkwan - just read your advice againa nd you did give me the excellent tip of bidding UES and EWS as my other 2 bids - thanks a lot - great advice
capetownfolk is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 11:26 AM
  #20  
JJ5
 
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I did not have any luck with getting Priceline for 7 or for 10 days in D.C. or in NYC. I don't think availability ever becomes that open for that length of time, IMHO. Just my opinion, but you can't hurt to keep trying.
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