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A New Tool for Bidding Help on Priceline

(Thanks, Gary!)

It’s not an airline thing, but many of us who fly a bunch are often looking for a great deal on a hotel.  Those of us who use Priceline for those deals have either happily used Betterbidding.com for help with what to bid, or suffered through the rather touchy administrator over at Biddingfortravel.com.  Now, there’s a new tool that makes a giant leap forward with how to bid on Priceline:

Check out BiddingTraveler.com – this new site has you city, zone, date and # of stars (as if you’re bidding on Priceline), and it brings back a Priceline-type map with the hotels and what people bid (both winning and losing bids), with differentiation between weekend and mid-week stays.  While Betterbidding is great, BiddingTraveler.com really does take it a step further, making it much easier to figure out what you should bid and what you’ll get.

On the other hand, they have also posted this blog entry which basically contains a dissertation about Priceline re-bidding strategies.  To each his own.

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  1. One thing that is not mentioned in that blog: remember that you can duplicate even those requests [described in the blog linked above] if you start at 5 stars then go to 4 stars, etc. Also remember that you can map out which areas have which max star rating. So, you can safely add areas that don’t have 4 or 5 star hotels in a search for 4 star hotels and you’re sure you won’t end up in that area (yet you have one more set of bids available). To map out the areas vs max star rating, use IE and select the areas one at a time and look at the check boxes at the bottom: the star ratings not available in an area are greyed out. Then choose another area, check again, etc.
    Very useful.
    But priceline can be dangerous. I did a bid at Logan airport for a 3* hotel and ended up at a hotel that really was a 2.5 star and that was a 30 minute shuttle bus away. Even worse, once at Pearson in Toronto, I thought it would be sage to bid on a 3 star hotel thinking I’d be real close. Turns out, Mississauga is big and I ended up at a hotel with no shuttle buses and a 45$ cab ride away (times 2 = 90$ round trip). We ended up renting a beat-up rental car for the night to get to our hotel and back, it was cheaper than the cab. You have to be careful with priceline… But when you’re traveling and you don’t care where you end up (any part of a new town is a good place to be) you can get really awesome deals. I often stay in Boston for 40-80$ in 4 star hotels. Hyatt grand central for 115$ a night (on the privilege floor no less!). SF union square 4* hotel for 100$. San Diego Hilton for 50$ a night! Pretty awesome deals. But the few times when you screw up your bidding, man that hurts ;-)

  2. There is also a Hotwire decoder out there called “Hotwire Revealed” which also takes some of the mystery out of their hidden hotels. These are good tools for the non-expert bidder… glad they’re out there!

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