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Using PriceLine to Bid for Hotel- success stories& help

Using PriceLine to Bid for Hotel- success stories& help

Old Jan 11th, 2014, 12:18 AM
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Using PriceLine to Bid for Hotel- success stories& help

I will be in NYC in June with my husband & trying to book a hotel for that week is challenging because it is soooo expensive.
as it is just the 2 of us this time (no kids) I thought I would use PriceLIne to bid for a hotel.

I went on the website last night & made a selection of 4* & 41/2* & 5* properties. The average price of the hotels is $300. What would be a fair bid. How close to the date should I bid??

I would like to know if anyone has used this & how successful was the outcome??
Does anyone have any tips/suggestions that they could give me?
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 02:36 AM
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Priceline can be a great option and sometimes save you a lot but sometimes very little.

For example, we're are travelling to Atlanta in early Febuary to visit our daugther and also a concert by Kings of Leon.

In Atlanta we're staying for 3 nights and I Pricelined a hotel within reasonable distance of the concert venue and got a Doubletree hotel for $53 a night plus about $5.50 in fees so about $58.50 per night. Taxes are extra but as we all know taxes have to be paid regardless of how we reserve. The best rate I found on the hotel site for the same dates, 3 nights, is $118, prepaid, non refundable rate plus taxes. In this case it's about 50% savings.

Up north in Georgia where our daughter lives we also Pricelined a hotel. We got Courtyard by Marriott for $40 a night plus ~$3.50 in fees so about $43.50 plus tax. When I checked the hotel site, same dates, it priced a room for $51, regular rate, plus taxes. We saved few bucks but it wasn't a great deal.

As a priceline regular for many of my/our trips I found that you can save a great deal or at the very least about 20%, but you really do have to do some research and make sure you can live with the result if succesful with your bid. Once your bid is accepted and your CC charged, there are no refunds.

One great site to look at is www.biddingfortravel.com You can at least get an idea of what hotels work with Priceline and what were succesful bids for certain hotels in your desired areas. No guarantees that you will get the same but at the very least you will know what's possible.

Good luck!
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 02:54 AM
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Good information from AAF.

Also look at www.betterbidding.com.

These sites are similar but not identical.

You will learn the basics of bidding, how to identify appropriate hotels and initial bids, how to up your bid by adding zones or stars, and a lot of information about what people got.

Price varies by location and calendar. Most big city rooms are cheaper on weekends because they are filled during the week by business travelers. How much would you have to save to make it worth moving on Friday?

There are few bargains during big events like college graduation, marathons and other big sporting events, conventions, and so forth. Outer zones might seem to offer better bargains, but what will it cost you to travel to your destinations, etc.
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 04:46 AM
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I have had good luck bidding several times, and use biddingfortravel.com to get an idea of how much to bid, based on others' posted winning bids. It is a good idea to reserve a hotel as a backup that can be cancelled. I think the best deals on bids are grabbed very close to the arrival date, when hotels truly need to fill rooms. My best win was $45 for an upscale downtown Houston hotel where I was actually attending an event.

Bidding takes patience and some nerve, so study up before you go for it.
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 05:07 AM
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I went on the website last night & made a selection of 4* & 41/2* & 5* properties. The average price of the hotels is $300. What would be a fair bid. How close to the date should I bid??
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 05:46 AM
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We've saved different amounts, but I only bid up to what I think is a very good deal. I research hotels in the area so I know what's the best deal I could find for a non-Priceline rate.

Two years ago, we got the Marriott Marquis in NYC for $175 for s weekend when I couldn't find anything I wanted for less than $250.

In Atlanta, we stayed (near the Perimeter Mall) at an all suites hotel for $26 when the best I could find was $85.

I agree with reading all you can at betterbidding and bidding to travel to learn how to bid, what prices people have been getting, how to use free re-bids, etc.
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 06:24 AM
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You have to consider the rates being charged directly by the hotels. And prices for 4* hotels are going to be very different from those for 5* - which even in June in NYC can be $600/$700 per night and up.

If you can live with 4* (mostly business style) hotels versus 5* that will save you a couple of hundred $ per night right there.

So I suggest you make that decision up front - unless you MUST have specific 5* amenities.

Also - don;t neglect to look at other discount sites - to see if they have any very special deals for your dates.
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 07:10 AM
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You might want to make fully cancellable reservations first; I usually bid pretty close to the date, as that's when hotels will release/lower the price on unsold rooms.
Be wary of added on charges that Priceline doesn't include in their pricing ("resort" fees, etc. are often charged by hotels that are not resorts).
Sign up for PL now, and play with the process (try a bid of $69 for a 4* Manhattan hotel) so that you're familiar with the site.
Check Hotwire also; they don't list names, but amenities are there; if you've sussed out the hotel, you can undercut the hotwire price when you bid on PL; hotels.com is a good place to find out what's available, too (they have somewhat better prices, but you can often call hotels directly and say "will you meet/beat" a price).
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 07:14 AM
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BTW, don't ever accept the "if you can raise your bid to $XXX right now" priceline offer.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 02:53 AM
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thanks everyone for your great suggestions & advice. I will check out the better bidding sites.

I will decide closer to our dates if I have the courage to bid. I have booked a cancelable hotel as a back up.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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Hi again Millie. That is exactly my plan with a late March trip to Palm Springs. I booked a place I can live with that is cancellable, and will try my bidding luck starting about two weeks prior to arrival. I will check biddingfortravel posts showing what people are getting in Palm Springs, and base my bids on that. My thoughts on Priceline are if I can get a really good deal, it is worth the effort. Otherwise, I will just go with the known factor.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 10:29 AM
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IF you get stuck with a bid win on either Priceline or Hotwire or any other prepaid hotel room there is now a website that helps you resell your room. I read about it in the NY Times. It is also worth a look see if you need a room to buy.

http://roomtraveler.com/
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 04:17 PM
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Excellent DebitNM...i will definately check that out.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 04:28 PM
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First of all, you're not trying to truly save money when using Priceline. If instead you go into it with a realistic plan to upgrade your digs for something near to the price you would have paid had you done it alone, then it makes more sense.

(that last part can include landing yourself in a Manhattan neighborhood you wouldn't likely have been able to otherwise afford) (Maximizing your value for your hotel dollar)

The fact that it is just the two of you gives you lots of (bidding) freedom you really don't have with a larger group/family.

Also, while you can pick the general (broad) area in which your room will be, it is crazy to use Priceline's bidding system when you need to be in a pinpointed neighborhood.

With that said, I love Priceline, and have landed rooms with Priceline bids dozens upon dozens of times (most for friends, using their credit card data).

The lady who runs biddingfortravel.com is just terrible... but there is some useful written understanding there (along with some reviews from 2002). There is nothing at all which justifies registering to that site to interact with the (lady). Just take advantage of the minimal amount of useful info the site can offer, and then don't give her anything in return.

Ultimately, your task requires patience, and discipline, along with mastering the free rebid art.

Scan one of the aforementioned travel websites for lists of actual rooms scored on Priceline for the area you're going to be in, and from that you can gen-er-al-ly sense in what price range you're likely to land.

Show the patience to start low and then inch-up your bids, using the free rebids applicable to your area of interest.

Sometimes this involves charting what you've done, and then running out of options on one bidding day, before waiting 24 hours to bid again with a clean slate and likely inching-up your bidding amounts relative to what you've already tried and missed on.

All you need to do is get a "yes" once, from having done the procedure correctly, so don't get impatient, and don't bid more money than necessary.

You could start bidding anytime, but the sooner you begin, the more patience and discipline make sense.

Read-up on how Priceline gets its rooms... (from projections done by hotel managers, who try to anticipate how full they will be on certain dates) (perhaps not too many hotels in some areas are contemplating June enough yet to make a bold investment in anticipating correctly - where others may have a different strategy, and may indeed have rooms available to Priceline customers already).

If, say, for a room needed on June 15... the hotel management begins to have a strong sense for reservations by May 1, then they might already release X number of rooms to Priceline.

You too, are betting a little bit, that the whole area won't be reserved full, and thus will have zero rooms available for Priceline.

Indeed it doesn't cost you anything but time for a patient exercise in attempting to know great value for your hotel dollar.

I have on many dozen occasions bid for Priceline rooms on the very day I (or somebody else) needed one, and have been very content with what I got about 80% of the time.

(in all honesty, I have never had a Priceline horror story, but that comes more from knowing the ropes than anything else)

I've never even encountered a situation where the bid I offered was more or the same as the cost would have otherwise been. (some situations find you not saving as much as others)

(crazy statement: IF, say, all of the best rooms in a certain area had the same $300 rack rate and I were bidding for the middle of June in NYC... I would generally HOPE to land something for a $180 base rate (per night) on Priceline. Now it may be true that I wouldn't have a prayer of that... depending upon how full the area is at the designated time, but when looking forward 5 months out, that would be my initial hope {meaning: IF I could book for $180 per night right now - I'd accept it and the certainty I could know with it} )
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 05:55 PM
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I have had quite a bit of luck with Priceline and know I have saved quite a bit!!! Sometimes it does not make sense....as in when there is a chance anything can change......it can be a bit confusing with the free re-bids, etc.....I am not so into it that I have much patience to figure all that out so recently, I have been using www.biddingtraveler.com and it made it soooo much simpler. It submits a range of bids for you, tells you what others have bid and been rejected or accepted and when. It figures out your free re bid zones...suggests recommended low ball bid and also the top limit you should bid.

Very very helpful.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 07:24 PM
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PL success in NYC at busy times like June is most likely for just a few mights. I dont see you mention how many nights you're here, but that will likely affect your success. Hotwire can sometimes give you an idea of what you might get on PL (betterbidding.com has hotel lists for both).
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 02:13 AM
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Wow NorthWestMale - that was very comprehensive & helped me to understand the bidding process a bit better.

we are wanting to stay for 7 nights. so maybe that could work against us.

thank you everyone for your help.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 03:57 AM
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You can change hotels mid- trip.

Bid on one hotel for everything from the Cloisters to mid-town, bid on another for downtown, the Village, WTC, Statue of Liberty.

As mentioned above, you are more likely to get a good rate on short stays, and if you find yourself in a hotel, room or neighborhood you don't like, you are only there for a few nights.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 07:09 AM
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I wouldnt say 'shorter' stays, as it depends on the hotel. Ive locked up 4*s in STL for 10 days for sub $55, so its timong. A good example of short stay deals, business hotels will often accept bids 75% below rack for weekends. So breaking up Fri Sat Sun at prime districts and extra days in an outer district might be an option. Use the Priceline Express numbers has barometers. Use the reverse at resort locals. Say you land in So Florida Saturday night for the week, hotwire or PL a 3* first night then move over to your $300 midweek night resort and avoid the $450 the first night
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 07:17 AM
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Frank, you cant compare NYC to any other city re PL, although it is true that separing weekend and weekday could yield better results. Hotels in the financial district in NYC are often good buys on weekends. The other option is staying a short subway ride outside Manhattan. Long Island City and downtown Brooklyn have become good alternatives. Millie, what are your dat and target nightly budget?
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