Satisfaction with Priceline Hotels

Feb 19th, 2007, 05:41 AM
  #21  
OO
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,973
Actually you are both right on the star ratings. The hotel can look at the amenity list, say they have everything necessary for 4* and become that. They can also see they are the only 4* in a certain zone, and in the interest of retaining opaque bidding, they lower their star level from 4 to 3.

Truly, it is their call. My DH decided to lower his 4* rating to 3 in Tampa, as at one time, he was the only 4* in his zone. People were bidding knowing they would get that hotel--it was a true 4* and desirable. Think what that did to his group business rates! Have a meeting there? Bid PCLN 4* and you'll get it. He was talked out of doing it by PCLN...and I think he just raised his lowest acceptable rate significantly. Then another 4* came online in his zone and his problem was solved.

With availability more often an issue these days, it is true, it's harder to get the great deals on PCLN in many many areas. And obviously, you aren't going to get the best of the rooms unless the hotel occupancy really is hurting during your time frame.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 05:57 AM
  #22  
Jed
 
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We had PL hotels in Chicago and LA, and were satisfied. However, when I investigate on Fodors and Tripadvisor, I find that occasionally people complain that the hotel they got was not the quality as expected.

I think that PL does its best to satisfy, as its business depends on repeat customers. I plan to continue to use PL.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 06:05 AM
  #23  
 
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Any star rating, including Priceline ones, depend on the location.

The only thing that can be said about a 4* hotel in XYZ is that it should not have worse amenities than a 3* one in that same zone. That's about it.

It is absolutely necessary for the bidder to check on biddingfortravel to see what hotels in that star level has been reported, and do research on those.

Just as an example. The Sheraton CDG is in a 4* zone, while the Sheraton AMS is 5*. The two hotels are comparable, both attached to the airport terminal, with similar pricing.

And in so many places you can find Westins listed as 3*. Same hotel can easily be 4* at other locations.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 07:15 AM
  #24  
JJ5
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Absolutely love it, and literally the two best hotel stays and "decores" in my life have been Priceline buys.

Some markets are much better than others, but all are better than rack rates.

Chicago, St. Louis, Ft. Lauderdale, Boston have all been tremendous Priceline buys with complete satisfaction in the last years. Some markets are getting harder in Priceline, especially for longer periods. 5 to 7 days is not giving the kind of buys that 1 to 3 day stays are, for example.

I have never been delegated to a secondary level, smaller, or less desirable room. I have been upgraded to suites and in St. Louis to a Stadium view room that was phenomenal at Westin Cupples Station.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 10:17 AM
  #25  
 
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The key point is that Priceline does not do any sort of inspection to verify anything. The hotel simple sends in info and Priceline assigns stars based on it. The info may be absolutley correct, or a little fudged - or fake. (there was a reent report of someone getting a Priceline hotel with major construction and no water at times.) And you won;t find out until you get there.

Obviously most hotels - are truthful within the meaning of the act - but if you're fussy - the stars may not mean what you think they should.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 10:37 AM
  #26  
Don
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I've probably gotten about 25-30 hotel stays via Priceline.

The only "bad" stay was at the Palmer House Hilton--the hotel was fully booked, so we got a tiny, tiny room. If I remember correctly, there was about 3'-4' of space between the bed and the opposite wall, and the bathroom door barely cleared the edge of the bed. I've heard of other Priceline customers getting more normal-sized rooms there, so I think it just depends on the occupancy level at that hotel. The rest of the hotel was certainly 4*--just not what we expected in a room on that visit.

I use Priceline every time I want to book a hotel unless circumstances don't allow it.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 10:52 AM
  #27  
 
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Posts: 579
I've used Priceline for 40-50 nights over the last 7 years or so and have had excellent results. No time did I feel like I didn't at least get the star rating I expected.

The worst experiences have been when I really wanted a 2.5* in a smaller city because of the usual free breakfasts in those hotels (i.e. Fairfield Inns, Country Inns, Hampton Inns, Holiday Inn Express etc) and they "upgraded" me to a 3* (which typically doesn't have free breakfast!) I just wish they wouldn't do that, haha!
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Feb 19th, 2007, 12:03 PM
  #28  
Dan
 
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I am 95% satisfied with my Priceline purchases (maybe 50 or so in the past few years) but I have noticed that the good "deals" of the past are few and far between. Rather than blind bidding $200 for a 4* NYC property these days, I'll usually find a hotel on travelzoo.com for the same price!
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Feb 19th, 2007, 03:27 PM
  #29  
 
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i used priceline for a hotel in oakland ca. it was a great price but i had to pay for parking at the hotel which was NOT included in the information regarding the hotel and that made the price still good but almost over my company's budget.

I admit to wanting to stay at a better hotel than my company can consider .... but i may have made a different decision on the hotel if i knew about the parking price... also, i get directly reimbursed up to a per diem, i don't just get a per diem so i have to be smart on how i spend the budget...
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Feb 19th, 2007, 03:49 PM
  #30  
 
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Priceline price never includes parking or breakfast, if those are charged separately by the hotel. One just have to look at possible hotels in that zone on biddingfortravel.com, and then check out each possible candidate.

Doesn't include spa service, laundry, etc, either.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 03:50 PM
  #31  
 
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Yes, justme22, you've learned that one must take parking into account before booking a Priceline hotel. This is part of what we have been calling "Doing your Homework." If you use a site like BiddingForTravel.com or BetterBidding.com, then you already know which of several hotels you are likely to get if you bid in a particular zone. And you can check the parking prices on those or see if parking is free, then factor that into the price of the hotel to help set your bidding limit. For example, if you decide you can spend up to $60/night (total), and parking could be $20/night, you'd probably bid about $30 to $35/night at most (factoring in taxes and Priceline's fee). If you fail bidding up to that point, then you either need to change your strategy (different area), choose a lower quality level, raise your bidding limit, or wait a little longer and try again.

Sometimes a Priceline hotel is worth it after you factor the parking in. The key is not to be surprised. Sometimes if you read the reviews you find out tricks for how to park more cheaply (different lots) or even free (on the street) at various hotels. More of the "homework."

In general, though, I always assume that if I am bidding for a hotel in an urban area that parking will be extra. Sometimes there are exceptions (Holiday Inns often have free or cheap parking).
Andrew is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 10:31 AM
  #32  
 
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My satisfaction level has been excellent, in the USA, Canada, and Europe (particularly London). But for Europe, I often find I can find as good deals elsewhere, particularly considering that Priceline draws many of the zones in Europe in such a way that you are likely to get an inconvenient location. Still, when I have used Priceline, I've always been pleased.

One thing to keep in mind is that you might be the one who gets a new hotel in the zone. Betterbidding and BiddingforTravel only know about reported hotels. So do some research to see what the hotels in the area are, even if they haven't been reported on the list.

Another trick that works sometimes is that if the zone is too big, you might be able to narrow the pool by choosing a higher star level than you normally require. For example, in Hamburg, the zone is too bid for 2-4* bidding - you're likely to end up in a very inconvenient spot. But if you stick to 5* hotels, that probably won't happen (unless some new, outlying 5* hotel shows up).

I've had some excellent 2* deals, like the Springhill Suites in Seattle, and even good 1* deals in Victoria, but I know in many instances 1* and 2* are too risky in terms of the nasty area or hotel you might get.

WillTravel is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 10:54 AM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I have used Priceline a few times and was satisfied each time but one. My friends I booked two rooms in Ft. Lauderdale the night before a cruise. Our flights down were delayed and it was about 1:00 a.m. when we got there. Both rooms were meeting rooms with a sitting area with a pull-out couch and an area with a table. The lady at the desk was very nice but she said they guarantee the room – not the bed. There was no bed in the room other than the pull-out couch! She claimed that it had nothing to do with us having reserved through Priceline and that in her experience in the hotel business, most hotels actually do just guarantee the room – not the bed.


However, I recently read an article by someone in the hotel business who said that when things are overcrowded the manager will ask if there are any discount reservations and give them the worst rooms. The lady who wrote the article also said she can’t believe that people take the first price given and don't ask for discounts. So if you do call a hotel directly, ask for the lowest price they can give.
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Feb 20th, 2007, 10:58 AM
  #34  
 
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I've had great success with Priceline and never been given a "bad" room. I have been given a handicap room a few times but that didn't bother me--the bathroom was more spacious and I don't mind not having a tub.

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Feb 20th, 2007, 11:16 AM
  #35  
Kal
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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BIG P'line fan.

Just returned from a 3 day belated V'tines Day weekend in SF where we got The Omni for $105/night.

Use them all the time for SF/Napa-Sonoma, in NYC, Chicago, NOLA, San Diego, Sacramento and if I had the nerve, Europe this Oct.

Once I get the room, I'll call the hotel and schmooze them for maybe a view/upgrade if it's a special occasion.

We got the UN Millennium in NYC for Mrs Kal's 11th anniv of her 39th b'day and the gal in reservations moved us and our traveling companions up to the 35th floor with a Manhattan vu. Very nice.

I think we got it for around $125 a night...but those days are gone in Manhattan from what I hear.

Good luck and watch when/where you click!
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Feb 20th, 2007, 11:20 AM
  #36  
yk
 
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I share the same sentiments as most other posters. I have done Priceline many times in various cities (London, Philadelphia, LA, San Diego, SF, St Louis, DC etc) and have been pleased with them.

I have low expectations and am not fussy. I always do extensive research (biddingfortravel, reading hotel reviews) before placing my bids.

On average, I save about 60% or more by bidding on Priceline vs booking the hotel directly. This way, I can actually stay at 4* hotels while paying for a 2* or 3*.
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Feb 20th, 2007, 08:41 PM
  #37  
 
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I've had incredible luck with Priceline for New York City, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans, Savannah, Baltimore, Washington DC, etc., and, especially, London (three times).

But, not without considerable research and homework, and many hours spent on BiddingforTravel and BetterBidding, well worth the effort. The quality of the hotel and where you "end up" depends on your preparation.

I have never ended up with a "dud" anywhere, and have received ridiculously low rates compared to all other booking resources.

If you know what you're doing, you can avoid disappointment.

All in all, in my experience, any minor quibbles with the hotel or its location have always been far overcome by the low rate.

Much depends upon your destination, and everything turns on your diligence.

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Feb 22nd, 2007, 06:01 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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I travel a lot for business, and when I needed to be in Fort Lauderdale for a meeting, I was astounded at the price of 4 star hotels. I did my research, and then gave Priceline a shot. They gave me a 4 star hotel (one that I would have booked, anyway) at a lot less than I would have paid through other means. Although my room was out in the boondocks, I was very pleased and would use them again.
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Mar 20th, 2007, 12:55 AM
  #39  
 
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just bookmarking
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Mar 20th, 2007, 09:14 AM
  #40  
 
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Since Rousillon's "bookmarking" brought this thread to the top, I'll add my two cents here.

As mentioned, parking charges are not added into the Priceline price, but there are parking charges only in the large cities and more towards city center. E.g., in Los Angeles, if one bids LA - Santa Monica etc, there will be a parking charge; however, the hotels in Orange County don't have parking charges. Hotels in smaller cities and towns generally don't have parking charges, even if they are in the center of town.

I've gone on road trips across the US and Canada or smaller roadtrips to certain parts of the US and Canada and have used Priceline extensively on these trips (takes a bit of planning, especially if one is planning on driving close to 1000 miles one day and end up in the middle of nowhere on the Great Plains!) I also bid Priceline hotels for plane trips in the US and Canada. I am now the "Priceline Agent" for my family whenever anyone wants to make a trip and needs to save money on hotels.

I'd say my success rate is about 95%. Generally, the biddinfortravel reviews are the best for my purposes. I also add in tripadvisor and mytravelguide reviews the majority of the time.

My criteria is that the room be clean and quiet. Spots on the carpet don't bother me so much (I bring a pair of lightweight slippers), but it's a telling sign of how much care goes into cleaning the hotel. I prefer not to have spots on the carpet, but if it's a Hyatt or a Marriott, I tend to ignor the carpet stain comments, as there are some reviewers who are really picky. The number and kinds of free toiletries are of no concern, but interesting to note. The comfort of the bed is a BIG factor. The safety of the neighborhood is also important. You may have difference criteria, so read the reviews and see which hotels match your personal criteria.

I try never to bid lower than 3* if possible. Those desirable Courtyards, Residence Inns, etc. are usually at a 2.5* level and almost impossible to get. So I skip that level and just go to the 3*.

What price to bid? I go into biddingfortravel as other Fodorites have done and look at the winning bids for that star category and in that area. If in a 4* level a Hilton is the consistent winner, then there's a good chance that I'll get the Hilton too.

Of late, Priceline itself has been a good source of information. I go into their regular discount area and check out which hotels at a certain star level are available for which area. Say, a Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt show up for 4* in XYZ city, but the Marriott shows the lowest discount price on Priceline, then I bid 60% of that lowest price, if no other information is available, such as on BFT or BB.

My good experiences way outweigh the bad experiences. My bad experiences have usually been in small towns off the beaten track, where usually only 1*/2* hotels are available. These have been in the US; the smaller Canadian hotels have all been excellent (for their class) so far.

For smaller towns, I've learnt to check out Hotwire as well. The Hotwire ratings are 1/2* higher than Priceline's. So if it's 2* on Priceline, it's 2 1/2* on Hotwire. In a few small towns I've been able to get a better rate on Hotwire than on Priceline. On Hotwire, as in the bid process on Priceline, one does not know which hotel until after accepting the offered rate, in other words, until after having bought the room. Also can't be cancelled once accepted, so use Hotwire carefully.

Lastly, on only a couple of occasions, I've been able to land a room at a particular hotel at a better rate than even the Priceline discounted rate. Say, Priceline's discounted (not the bid rate, but the listed discount rate) is $79 - usually the weekend rate - and I go to the hotel site and use the AAA rate which comes in lower at $69 or $59, then I book it straight from the hotel. This method is rare, but it gets me precisely the hotel that I want.

Mostly I'm thrilled with Priceline. The hotel room is used for sleeping and bathing, probably 8 hours at most. Being able to rest in a nice, clean room with a comfortable bed for the same/lower price as for a Motel 6 represents a huge plus for me.

Just do your homework and you'll be fine. The more bids you make, the more comfortable you'll be with the Priceline process.

I advise people who have never bid on Priceline before to follow the bidding steps but to bid only $1. You'll never get a room for $1, but, if on the off chance you do, it's only a dollar!

Good luck and happy bidding!
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