Lowball the hotels downtown and snatch a room at half the price – this is the principle of Priceline. It sounds simple; however, many customers still do not fully understand how this works. It is a lot easier if you understand initially what the successful bids are for a particular zone. Unfortunately, Priceline does not reveal successful bids. The way Priceline deals with its vendors is based on anonymity, making this complicated. Fortunately, the Internet boasts of many sites dedicated to sharing such information with you.
What You Need to Know About Priceline
Even before you place your bid, Priceline takes your credit card number. If it finds a hotel room at the rate equivalent to your bid, the transaction is automatically billed to your account: no buts, no refunds! This means that you do not get to choose a hotel because it all boils down to where Priceline can successfully match your bid.
If you are unsuccessful on your first bid, you must revise your bid amount and choose other possibilities on your next attempt. If you are not allowed to do so, you have to wait three days before trying again. With your bid, one thing is for sure: you will get a room. You may get two beds or a non-smoking room, but aside from that, the anonymous hotel has no obligation to provide you with anything beyond a bed in a room.
Web sites reveal successful bids and vendors provide free services; however, they request many details in return: amenities, price, travel dates, and other items that can help future bidders bid for similar services.
The rule of thumb for good salesmanship is to keep the lowest price a secret. This is the basis of Priceline’s great success since its establishment in 1998. Posh hotels will not let you know they are charging you $50 per night when they normally receive three times that rate. Why does Priceline.com tolerate these Web sites revealing such secrets? This is why Priceline has constantly grown while other dot coms continuously struggle or have stopped existing. How can you take advantage of Priceline? Here are a few strategies:
1. Make a checklist. You can start by checking the hotel rates on other travel sites such as Travelocity and Expedia. You can also conduct a survey on several four-star hotels, then move down to the lowest star ratings.
2. Keep in mind that you can place only one bid per itinerary (same city, price, star level, and check-in and check-out dates) in a 24-hour period. Because of this, you have to make sure that your first offer is the best.
3. As best as you can, try to be flexible on your travel dates, areas, and hotel star levels. In case Priceline rejects your first offer, you can still change your trip details while re-bidding.
4. You can save the greatest amount on Priceline hotels when you bid on three- and four-star hotels.
Remember that you can place a bid only once every 72 hours. However, if you are flexible enough to change your preferred area, star level, or check-in and check-out dates, then Priceline will allow you to re-bid on another hotel. This is the main reason why developing a bidding strategy for saving on Priceline hotels is very important.