This combination of websites in addition to Tripadvisor.com will save you over 50% on most of your hotel bookings from now on.
Priceline offers traditional booking services for airfare, hotel, car rental, and vacation packages. Their “Name Your Own Price” feature is our key to saving money on every hotel room you book.
“Name Your Own Price” is an opaque booking site meaning you will not know for sure which hotel you will end up at. Don’t let that scare you. Combined with BiddingForTravel, BiddingTraveler and TripAdvisor, we can take the guesswork out of your bid, and get you a quality room in the location you want.
Here are steps that will give you an idea of what prices the hotels are accepting, at the quality level you demand, in the location you desire. This is a fantastic saving strategy:
Go to BiddingForTravel. Navigate to the hotel section and choose your destination city. Click on the Hotel list (at the top) for the city you are booking in. Write down each location name along with the highest star level available i.e. Airport 4 Star, Medford 3 Star etc. Remember, Resort is the highest category.
By accessing Tripadvisor you can read the reviews of hotels in the areas that are of interest to you. Choose the lowest star level from BiddingForTravel you will accept in your desired location. If there is a bad hotel in the 3 star hotels listed, then you will want your minimum bidding category to be 3.5 stars. You control the quality of the room you will receive.
Once you have noted the lowest acceptable hotel level you will accept in your desired location, write down the names of all the other locations that have a lower star level listed as their highest level. If you choose a 3.5 star in your desired location, then only write down the names of the locations that have a highest star level of 3.0 or less. These extra locations will become your free rebids if your first offer is not accepted. Let’s do a dry run.
Suppose your desired location within Anytown, USA is the airport location and you find all the hotel choices in the 3.5 star category would be acceptable to you. (No bad reviews). Looking at the other locations within the offerings, you note that downtown offers 4 star hotels, Southside offers 3.5 star hotels, Eastside offers 3.0 as the highest star level and Westside only has 2.5 as the highest level in the region. The only regions acceptable for a potential rebid would be Eastside and Westside. If you rebid Southside (they have a 3.5 start hotel), you could end up in Southside which is not acceptable to you.
Armed with your two free rebid zones go back to the BiddingForTravel page which listed acceptable bids for hotels in both the location and star category you are looking for. If you found an accepted bid in the airport zone for a 3.5 star hotel at $48, you now have an idea of what prices are being accepted. There may be more than one accepted bid to review. There may be none, but you will get an idea of what the marketplace is accepting in the location you want and at the quality level you demand. Note that weekend stays typically accept lower bids than midweek, except in Las Vegas where the reverse is true.
You are now properly armed to try your first bid on Priceline. I have never been negatively surprised with the results from Priceline. I do my homework first. Remember when you bid, if accepted, your credit card will be charged immediately with no changes allowed. You are purchasing a hotel room right now. But you have the location and quality hotel you want and have reviewed other people’s opinions of the properties. Do your homework first.
On Priceline, navigate to the hotel section and then the Name your Own Price section. Type in the dates you want, the location you want and the star level you will accept. Now put in your bid price. Start low and as far in advance of your reservation as is practical. You are choosing only your desired location and a star level you will accept. Why not try a 4 star in our example from above with a $45 starting bid.
You’ll be asked to enter your credit card information and submit your bid. Remember, if accepted you have a non-refundable hotel reservation.
Let’s assume you bid for a 4 star in your desired location and the bid was refused. You can now bid 3.5 stars (your lowest acceptable level) as a rebid. Up your bid a few bucks if you’d like. You do not have to. It is always your choice, but with each rebid you must change something about your request: different dates, add a location, or a different star level. (Changing only the price is not an acceptable change for a rebid)
Again your bid of $48 was rejected and now it is time for another rebid. Add a zone that does not have a hotel at 3.5 stars or higher (Eastside or Westside from our example) and up your bid to $52. If accepted you will end up in your original location (the only zone you are bidding on with a 3.5 star hotel). If it doesn’t work again, you still have one more free rebid, either Eastside or Westside, whichever one you did not use in your previous bid.
When you have used all your free rebids you are out of business for 24 hours before you can bid again. After 24 hours start the process over again until you score a winning bid. Typically a winning bid is about 50% of the normal hotel rate in the location you are looking for and at the quality level you demand.
Priceline does add taxes and fees to your bid, but you will see the total rate to be charged to your card before you actually hit “Buy my Hotel.”
I have saved literally thousands of dollars using the Priceline, BiddingForTravel, Bidding Traveler and TripAdvisor combination. It won’t work in rural locations but it sure comes in handy when travelling to a major city. BiddingTraveler makes the process even easier by making the bids and rebids for you using the parameters you set.
Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” option is also a valuable tool for longer-term car rentals (five days plus) and the same system is in place. The fee charged by Priceline eats up the savings on shorter car rentals, but it is well worth a try. You’ll be amazed how cheaply you can rent a car.