Jan 162011
 

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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?