Should I take my chances with hotwire....

Old Jun 25th, 2004, 11:48 AM
  #1  
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Should I take my chances with hotwire....

Is it safe to make reservations via hotwire or priceline. Do you have to pay before knowing were you will stay. What if you don't like the hotel? I know you get to choose how many stars the hotel will be, but I have seen big differences between alot of 4 star hotels!
Danimal is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2004, 12:18 PM
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With Priceline, you must submit your credit card number along with your bid, and if your bid is accepted your cc is charged. No refunds.

You can learn about rules, bidding strategies, and what hotels people have won at www.biddingfortravel.com

You might try searching these message boards for past discussions of Hotwire or PL, there have been several long threads.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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I recently used Priceline for Chicago and got the Hyatt on Wacker for $75/night. This is the first time I had used it but you are able to pick your areas and star ratings for the hotels. My friend has used Priceline several times and never had a bad experience. Do your research on www.biddingfortravel.com. I did and was pretty confident when we bid that we would end up at the Hyatt. Good luck!
Spikeit is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2004, 02:20 PM
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I asked myself the same question this week and I decided against it for one main reason:

Ten years from now, I won't remember that I saved a few hundred bucks, but I WILL remember the right and perfect hotel.

I need two double beds and there's no guarantee that I would receive that.

It takes time to become familiar with this method and I didn't have the time to invest.

I would
2ndtimer is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2004, 02:22 PM
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Ooops, I posted too soon.

I would surely do Priceline for business travel, but for something special and memorable, I don't want to take my chances. If I were savvy about the bidding and guessing process, I'd feel differently.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 03:17 PM
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I have used Hotwire several times for hotels and have been very pleased with the results. I stayed at The Vance in Seattle for $70/night, the Hyatt in Chicago for $100/night, and the Sheraton in NYC for $120/night.

Maybe not for those 'special occasions' when you are trying to make an impression, but otherwise a great value and very easy to use.
asalamy is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2004, 04:02 PM
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In answer to your questions:

you don't have to pay before knowing where you will stay (they tell you when your bid is accepted) but then you have no choice about whether or not you want it. It yours! If you don't like the hotel, that's too bad.

Yes there are big differences in 4 star hotels.

In a larger city, the way to avoid getting a hotel you don't want is to avoid bidding in the neighborhood and at the star level of that place. Biddingfortravel.com has a list of all the known hotels people have "won" by city, area and star level. They also have postings on what bids people used to get what places on what dates. BFT will also help you construct a bid and avoid overpaying as long as you follow their instructions. Betterbidding.com is a bit "kinder and gentler" with questions and also lists Hotwire info.

One of the safest ways to use PL is if there's only one hotel in an area at a particular star level. If you bid that, you know you'll get that hotel (99% anyway-there's always the chance of a new hotel showing up).

If you are very fussy, if you need a particular bed configuration or if you need to be able to cancel, this is not for you. (although some people report getting bed configurations they need sometimes at no extra charge, sometimes for a small upcharge).
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 04:08 PM
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I find Hotwire 'safer' for hotel bids, because you see the price beforehand and you can find out what hotel you'll probably get.

If you look at packages, you get to see the hotels they use for the area, and if you want a 4 star, check out all the 4 stars for that area. When you bid just for the hotel, you won't see the name of the hotel, but you'll get one of those hotels from the packages. Hope that made sense..
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Old Jun 26th, 2004, 01:47 AM
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A cheap private double in a hostel in Chicago is $70. A cheap private double in a B&B is $105,.
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Old Jun 26th, 2004, 03:32 AM
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Another useful website to do some Hotwire and Priceline research is www.betterbidding.com.

www.biddingfortravel.com has lots of Priceline information but nothing on Hotwire. The first site I mentioned is great for additional Hotwire information.

I have won bids with both and have always been very pleased with what I got for the price I paid. I have tended to get better deals with Priceline but have had more certainty of correctly "guessing" what hotel I'll get with Hotwire.
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Old Jun 27th, 2004, 05:23 PM
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Another vote for betterbidding.com.

It covers Hotwire AND Priceline, and I've bid using both. You also don't get in 'trouble' from the administrator if you don't word your post perfectly.

I've played it safe and done mostly Hotwire bids, as I like a lot of control over the hotel I get. Priceline will generally get you an even better buy, but you won't have much control over the hotel.

It's hard to go back to booking through expedia or other supposed discounters, after saving a bunch using Hotwire or Priceline.

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Old Jun 27th, 2004, 05:55 PM
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I just got a Doubletree in FLL for 65$ a night on Hotwire. I have done Priceline quite a few times, but I like my experiences(albeit slightly more expensive) better on Hotwire.
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Old Jun 27th, 2004, 07:48 PM
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I've used Hotwire several times and never had a problem, but of course, I *ALWAYS* pre-check things with www.betterbidding.com to see what hotels people are getting in an area and what they're paying (plus check current prices on hotels.com). No sense in accepting prices that are too high...

Have fun!
Mark
www.tiogringo.com
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Old Jun 27th, 2004, 09:16 PM
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"you don't have to pay before knowing where you will stay" is TOTALLY incorrect.

You do NOT know where you will be staying until after you've paid and agreed to a reservation which cannot be cancelled.

I've heard and read that those who proceed to "dispute" credit card charges with Hotwire and Priceline and not subsequently permitted to book online.

I've used Hotwire and Priceline for many years. I used to prefer Hotwire over Priceline, as I was more pleased with the Hotwire hotels - yet, I did receive much lower rates (once in a while for the very same hotels) with Priceline.

I, personally, am not fond of the Priceline bidding process. You MUST do your homework (and diligently shop all other resources) and familiarize yourself with the Priceline areas. BFT is an incredible, and an often, but not always, reliable resource. And, it is positively essential to shop like the dickens and book the most favorably priced room you can find/cancel, so that you can engage in the Priceline bidding process PATIENTLY.

The reason anyone would notice "big differences between a lot of 4 star hotels" is that Priceline and Hotwire have different star ratings for the very same hotels, along with those designated by various other booking resources, including the hotels themselves.

I rarely use Betterbidding.com as you really can't tell by ammenities, and few report results (compared with BFT). In addition, the Hotwire results seem to change more than the Priceline results.

Also, in my experience, Priceline tends to designate certain "most desirable" hotel one star lower - so that you bid hoping for that hotel (based upon the occasional winning bid of others), only to get a way less desirable one in that "area" which has been artistically "stretched" to include the most pedestrian of places to stay. (For example the Back Bay Hilton and the Doubletree Downtown in Boston.)

All in all, though, if you do your homework and know what you're doing, the rate you pay always compensates (and then some) for that you are "stuck" with whichever hotel.

Despite my discomfort with the Priceline bidding process, the Hotwire rates have risen enormously during the past year. And, I would suspect that rooms at the very same hotels can be booked via other resources without having to prepay and with cancellation privileges - they've risen that much!

Note also that "star" ratings of hotels are pretty much designated with regard to available ammenities - many of which will be unimportant to you - or exhorbitantly priced (24 hour room service, for example). Parking, cocktails in the bar, room service pot of coffee, are going to be "up there" in price, with the stars, though friendliness/efficiency of service, room size/decor, quality of housekeeping may or may not be.

In answer to your question, though, you DO have to pay before knowing where you will stay.

If you've done your homework and know what you're doing, you'll not likely be dissapointed with the rate you pay for the hotel you've "booked".





djkbooks is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2004, 05:11 AM
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The upside of the Priceline star rating system is that sometimes hotels are under-rated. To get 3* on PL, a hotel must have an in-house full service restaurant. So there are several very nice places rated 2.5*, such as the Courtyard by Marriott Midtown East in NYC.
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Old Jun 28th, 2004, 06:57 AM
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I received the Hyatt on Wacker in Chicago on Priceline recently for $75/night. I called the hotel directly and requested 2 double beds and our two rooms near each other. I received both of my requests. Don't know if this happens with all hotels but it worked for me at the Hyatt. I will use Priceline again.
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