Trying to bid on Priceline? You might want to keep these tips in mind:
#1: Choose a Hotel that’s Convenient in Terms of Location
The word “cheap” is relative. Sometimes you get the lowest prices with hotels that are a bit hard to get to, which could just entail greater cost. If you’re traveling and your modes of transport are limited, you’re going to lose all the savings you’re getting from booking a cheap hotel by having to spend money trying to go there.
Thankfully, Priceline lists properties by zone or geographical area. That way, you can find the place that’s closer to where you’re going to be most of the time. Once your choices are narrowed down to one area, you can pick the ones that are cheapest there, since they’re all close to where you want to be.
#2: Have a Flexible Travel Schedule
Booking deals in Priceline are usually non-refundable - that’s the trade-off for getting discounted rates. So make sure you’re sure with your dates before you finalize the booking.
On the other hand, you’re also likely to get better deals if you can adjust your travel dates. Too many times travelers miss out on bigger deals because they couldn’t move their travel dates just one or two days backward or forward. Who knows, maybe spending an extra day in your destination could net you better value for your entire trip. Also, won’t hurt to just check how much you’d save if you actually changed your travel dates by a day or two.
#3: Be Price-Specific
Priceline has a function that lets you indicate a price range for hotel accommodations. This acts as an added filter to your search results, on top of the area you want to be in. Without this filter, you’re going to get search results which may go beyond your preferred budget. There’s really no point in being shows hotels that are way beyond your budget and it’s really just going to clutter your search results.
But if you plan on filtering your search by price, make sure you make a small margin for the price ceiling that you’re willing to adjust to. After all, you might find a well-located hotel that’s just a little bit above your price range, and it might be worth the financial adjustment.
#4: Be Mindful of the Star Rating
When bidding on Priceline, you’re going to be able to indicate the star level of the hotel you prefer to book. Hotels get higher star value when they have more services, but getting a good hotel for the right value means getting what you need on accommodations without having to spend too much. And while it’s great to be staying at a five-star hotel, it might not feel so good on your pocket. On the other hand, you might want to leave this preference blank so you can be exposed to hotels of all-star levels. In this case, be sure to check the reviews and descriptions per hotel so you know what you’ll be getting.
#5: Scope Out the Star levels on All Areas
This can take a bit of work, especially if you’re looking for a hotel in a big city, but looking for hotels of a star level in areas other than your preferred location could net you some big savings. This is because you can bid better if you know the star ratings of the hotels nearby your selected area. Your bidding session goes on so long as you get to make one more change in your bid, which could either be the date, zone, or the hotel’s star level. Be careful, though. Once all bids are rejected, you can’t make any more until the next 24 hours.
#6: Study Previous Bidders
Looking at what other bidders do in Priceline and whether they got the hotel they bid on or not could help you bag the hotel you’re trying to get into. You can do this by opening several windows on your browser next to the browser where Priceline is on and then using these other windows to check where they’re bidding by going to bulletin board sites like BiddingForTravel.com or BetterBidding.com. All that additional information from past bidders could help you understand why they got or didn’t get the hotel based on their bid, allowing you to make adjustments so as to not waste your own bids.
#7: Look at the Potential of the Hotels
While information about hotels you see on Priceline are meant to be helpful, they’re not always accurate. For one thing, the hotels that turn up in your search result could just be because of a number of factors, especially when you have a preference for hotels with good reviews. This is because not all bad reviews should be taken on its face - it could just be an isolated case. Bad reviews that mention the same criticisms, however, should be taken more seriously.
#8: On Placing Bids
Once you’ve got all the information you need, you can now place your bid. You can do this in two ways, depending on your circumstances. First, you can input a bid with a price that’s higher than other bids to ensure that you win the bidding process. This will cause you to end up paying more, but it will guarantee you the slot, which is good for those who are in a hurry. However, you can push for lower-priced bids if you have time to make other bids in the future.
#9: Check with the Hotel
If your bid does get accepted, make sure that you call the hotel to check if they got your prepaid reservation. If you’re getting a hotel chain, make sure that you avoid the corporate toll-free line. Find a way to directly contact the front desk of the exact hotel you’re staying at to make sure that your reservation has been confirmed.