Mar 012012
 

Was needing a hotel room near the Spokane airport here in a couple of weeks, so once again I turned to the trusty BiddingForTravel.com website. I read through other people’s ‘success stories’ on the BiddingForTravel Washington Hotel forum and saw that $50 had won a room on Priceline.com before but not often. So I figured I would start my bidding low and use BiddingForTravel’s rebid strategy to rebid twice more today and again tomorrow if needed.

What is BiddingForTravel’s ‘free rebid’ strategy? Priceline will not allow you to just increase your bid without waiting the obligatory 24 hours to try again. But, if you ‘significantly’ change your bid then you can rebid again right away. One of the acceptable changes is to add another ‘area’ to your bid. The trick is to add an area that you cannot win. In this case, Spokane Airport has hotels available from 1 to 3 stars. Liberty Lake and North Spokane only have hotels available up to 2.5 stars. So, if I am bidding $50 for a 3-star hotel in the Spokane Airport area and lose, I can add the Liberty Lake area and up my bid to say, $55. If I loose that bid, then I can add North Spokane and try $60. Failing that, I start over tomorrow at $60. If you have the time and inclination, you could use $1 or $2 increments instead, which I have done when spending a week at a hotel.

Based on previous successful bids by others on the forum and the BiddingForTravel list of Spokane Airport hotels used by Priceline, the 3-star hotel that seemed to come up most often was the Ramada Spokane Airport and Waterpark. The hotel’s website showed that I could book a room direct with them for $124/night. Priceline’s normal rate to book the hotel without bidding was also $124/night. So, I started my bid at $50 for a 3-star Spokane Airport hotel, figuring it would be rejected but I could try 2 more times today and start over tomorrow if all failed. My $50 bid was accepted! Now I am feeling foolish. Did I start too high? How much lower could I have bid?

Luckily, I still had to book the return hotel room, so this time I started at $40. It was declined. Added Liberty Lake and bumped up my bid to $45. Priceline countered, telling me they could get me a room for $58. I declined. I then added North Spokane and bumped up my bid to $50. Accepted. Now don’t feel so silly about my first $50 bid being accepted.

There are a number of other strategies to use for getting free rebids on Priceline. I think my record is having 6 different ‘areas’ I was using. I was willing to stay in 3 of the areas and used the other 3 as free rebids. Even with just the 3 areas you are willing to stay in you have a number of ways to get free rebids by combining them into multiple permutations but that should be another post at another time.

Jan 162011
 

image

How do you get a good price on a hotel room? Priceline allows you to “Name Your Own Price” but what price should you name? The best help I have found is the BiddingForTravel.com forums. I have only used it to price hotels, but I know you can use it for flights and car rentals as well.

The basic premise is that after you have made a successful bid at Priceline you post your ‘deal’ on the forum so the next guy knows where to start his bidding. They also have some advanced bidding techniques I have used to be able to bid 2 or 3 times per day instead of the usual once-per-day allowance. I have used that many times but that technique needs to be the subject of a different post.

Today was the first time I have used Priceline to bid on a room while we were on the road. Since we got a late start and were not sure how tired we would be, we were not sure how far we would want to drive and therefor did not know where we would be spending the night. At 5pm we were an hour outside Twin Falls and decided we had driven far enough for today. This would really put BiddingForTravel to the test because Twin Falls is a very small town and so there would probably only be a few postings about prices folks had received.  Sure enough. I found 3 prices over 3 years:

3* Twin Falls, ID, Red Lion Hotel Canyon Springs, $50. 09/18/2010

Started bidding at $42. Finally accepted at $50. Total with taxes and fees, $60.90. Hotel website lowest rate listed at $79. Used A-B link.

3* Canyon Springs/Twin Falls Red Lion Hotel 9/5/2010 $55

Thanks BFT…used A/B link…Sheryl COME BACK…it’s not the same place!!

3* Red Lion Hotel Canyon Springs/Twin Falls 9/14/09 $50

Bid $48 yesterday. Won today at $50. Cheapest price on their website was $67.

Congratulations, your price of $50 was accepted by Red Lion Hotel Canyon Springs/Twin Falls.

Interestingly they are all for the same 3-star hotel, the Red Lion Hotel Canyon Springs, and they show winning bids of $50 and $55. Because I would only get one chance at this, I decided to bid $50 for a 2.5-star hotel and then try $55 for a 3-star if needed. (I prefer 2.5-star hotels because they are usually newer building and always include a free continental breakfast, whereas the 3-star hotels expect you to pay for breakfast in their restaurant.) Well, after putting in my bid, Priceline informed me that my bid had been upgraded.I was going to get a 3-star hotel for my $50 bid. Dang! looks like I will be paying for breakfast.

Finally, after winning the bid I went back to BiddingForTravel and posted my success to help someone else down the road:

Twin Falls -3* Red Lion Hotel Canyon Springs $50 01/16/2011

Read the 1 bid per year listed here that Red Lion 3* for $50 in 2009 and $55 in 2010 Driving in to Twin at 6pm so couldn’t take too many chances. Bid $50 for a 2.5* (Hoping to get a free breakfast) was upgraded to 3* Wish I had more time to have started lower. Used the A/B link of course.

It is sure nice to be able to get a good deal on a hotel room, especially at the last minute!  Anyone else use Bidding For Travel or another similar service?