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Everything posted by KC-Matt

  1. The 3*'s in the downtown zone were downgraded a few months back. Both the Hilton and the Doubletree are now at the 2.5* level. The Embassy Suites still lists at the 3* level but has not shown up on the NYOP side of priceline for some time which I would assume is why they now only allow bidding up to the 2.5* level in the downtown zone. Either that or they moved the ES into the west zone...but they would need to adjust the map for the west zone if that was the case.
  2. In the past, PL has edited some reviews to remove mention of the situations many here refer to as being "pricelined". These are often apparent by the gaping hole they leave in the review by just cutting that portion out leaving the rest, no matter how badly the edit skewers the flow. This situation is somewhat different and I am curious if what I have noticed is happening to any other properties & zones. The last review showing on PL for the Radisson Hotel & Suites Kansas City DT is dated 11/16/2005. I myself have submitted two subsequent reviews on this property (all my reviews for other properties have appeared, usually about 1 month behind) and I have confirmed with others roughly 7 other submitted reviews, all negative, yet none of them appear and these are from early, mid and late 2006 as well as some in 2007. So my question is, why are reviews for this sub-standard property being held back? A little further digging reveals that in this particular zone, there have been no reported 3* wins (checking both BB & TOBB) in the DT/Crown zone for properties other than this Radisson since July 2005 and that was for the Hyatt CC before it was upgraded to a 4*. Note that this property (Radisson) is a former DT and the last winning bid reported under the DT flag was mid 2005. In this particular zone, there are only the following 3*: Radisson Hotel & Suites DT Marriott DT (last reported win in Jan 2005) (note that on the non-opaque side, several other properties show in the Downtown-Country Club Area, but the name your own price side splits this into Downtown-Crown Center and Country Club Plaza zones leaving the properties above) It is curious that PL stopped adding reviews for this property shortly after the conversion from DT to Radisson and that no one has reported winning the Marriott since Jan 05 (and the low # of reviews for this property on PL would seem to confirm the rare win at this property). Given that, it seems very odd that the Radisson has had no new reviews added since Nov 2005, especially the large number of wins reported for that property since. To add to that, I asked the Radisson directly (a close friend works there and deals directly with reservations as part of their duties) about their number of PL bookings and they are often a significant % of their occupancy. So is PL intentionally keeping the reviews for this property hidden so that they can continue to offer it as a 3* in this zone since they cannot have just one property at a given star level? Given the awful condition of the property and the crap reviews it has received virtually everywhere, it would make sense that it would have to be removed from the 3* level if all of the reviews were to be posted. They were already at a 7 rating when the reviews stopped and the property has been dropping in quality since although the sleep number beds were a nice addittion, remarkably little else has been done and the elevators still contain the "pardon our mess while we upgrade" message that was there a year ago with no change in the actual condition of them. Add that to the numerous non-sleep number bed rooms that hotel policy puts PL customers into unless they complain and ask to be moved and a pattern is certainly evident. Now that the Aladdin (by Holiday Inn) has re-opened, this may place another 3* in this zone (unless they make it a 4* which I doubt), it will be interesting to see if this changes the dynamic of this zone. Just curious if something like this is happening in other zones or peoples thoughts on this situation.
  3. FYI, this property will reopen on 5/7/07 as the Aladdin by Holiday Inn. There has been a substantial renovation but the property already has a "Quality Excellence" award....quite suprising since it is not even open yet. Of course the blurb for this award reads "These hotels have received our highest level of guest endorsement, based on scores from our guest satisfaction surveys". That award certainly wasn't from the previous incarnation before they closed this property down (which has occured several times according to a recent KC Star article) so I wonder how it has already received a guest satisfaction award when guests cannot even stay there yet :)
  4. I understand what you are saying, but experience tells me that the message is not based on actual data. For example, if I were to bid for a 4* downtown KC @ $40, I do not get the "your bid is too low" message. I had to drop to $33 to get it and that rate is so far below what the 4* KC Downtown goes for, I would not start there. Considering that recent 4* results have been $44 (Hotel Phillips and on Sundays usually) and usually $49 or higher for the Hyatt, I would likely start my bids at $40 and work up. Given that this is the only zone in KC with 4*'s, I have plenty of free rebids to raise it....but that changes if you are bidding in a city with limited rebid zones where you would need to be more cautious about your starting and increment bids. Another example, Crown Center 3*...the same $33 threshold prompted the message of being too low, but it is rare to see a 3* in that zone for under $70 so I would likely start around $50 for that one. To start lower would be a waste of rebid zones, in my opinion, for this example. My point is only that the message has no real basis in my experience. Perhaps other areas with higher rates or a more active region might provide a different experience than I get when I bid for stays mainly in the midwest (KC, St Louis, Des Moines, Omaha, etc) so you may be seeing different results than I am.
  5. Personally, I ignore that message as well as the "Add $x to try your request again right now". I have had bids accepted after clicking through the "your price is too low" stop-over screens as well as by raising less than the "add $x" messages suggest. For example, you can usually get the Four Points KCI Airport (3*) for $40. If you bid $39, it has asked to raise $9 when $1 will get the win. The messages are only there to try and get you to raise your bid higher.
  6. Started in Downtown zone with 4* @ $45 raising increments of $2/$3 and landed at the Renaissance Grand @ $55 ($70.79 after fees & taxes). Direct price on Marriott was $189 so a $134 savings. Glad to get the Renaissance as I have stayed at the Hyatt and was not too impressed with it. Had also been trying 3* downtown up to $50 but no wins....however the Millenium has been showing up again recently so I didn't want to push my luck and risk landing there in my quest for a 3* downtown.
  7. After seeing Gruntlumber's win at the Phillips for $44 on Sunday, 4/8...decided to try my own luck for next Sunday as I always seem to get the Hyatt at the 4* in this zone and have heard nothing but great things about the Hotel Phillips. Was accepted @ $44 for Sunday 4/15 (started @ $40 raising $2 increments with rebid zones, Downtown/CC is only 4* zone in KC) and hit at the $44. Called hotel a few minutes later to put in request for non-smoking, agent already recognized my name (she had just entered the reservation in the system) and confirmed a king-non smoking. Offered my IPrefer number and was automatically upgraded to an Executive King. Direct room rate was $149 for standard room, $164 for the executive.
  8. Started with downtown 3*, added airport & Clayton zones along with a few rebids to the $42 (started @ $35) that was accepted at the airport Marriott.
  9. Word of warning about this property: As mentioned, the pool and fitness center are currently closed for renovation, but that is unfortunatley not all. The entire atrium is also under construction along with the climate control systems and several floors...three details that were left out of the website. The property currently has no A/C and no idea of when they will get it back (look at past reviews and you will see this property has a long history of this). They say it is being replaced, but considering this problem has existed for several years now, I wouldn't hold my breath. Construction in the atrium and on the 3rd-5th floors was present when I checked in, with loud work happening from 9-5 each day so don't plan on sleeping in. Had I been warned about the 9-5 construction and the lack of AC, things would have been different, but they only mention the pool/fitness center closure on the website and the employees made no mention of the three unlisted issues when I had called prior. Gratefully priceline agreed that this was not acceptable and refunded me for both nights and I found an alternate property to stay at (although directly, not through p/l). All that said, if they do finally fix the A/C and finish the rest of the property, it will be a very nice place to stay. The room I received had already been remodeled and looked great...new carpet, lights, paint, some of the furniture was new with a new fridge (although mini). Had the A/C worked, I would have been happy to stay here as I would have been out by the 9am construction start anyway. Unfortunatley the room temp was already in the high 70's and the high that day was to be around 80 and there is no window to open, only the balcony door which gives room access to everyone else on the floor since the balcony is shared and the front door, which again eliminates any privacy or security. Of course now it is cold again so it may not be an issue for your stay, but just be prepared if you end up getting this property before they are finished with the remodeling.
  10. Do you need to stay at Crown Center or can you stay downtown or MCI area (KCI Airport)? You can often get the 4* Hyatt downtown for around $50/night (stayed there myself last night for $49 and my previous stay a few months ago was also $49). You can usually get the 3* Radisson downtown for $40-$50/night (not the greatest property but ok if you just need a place to crash at night). 3* KCI Airport (also referred to as MCI) has been getting the Four Points recently at $40/night (I've won twice at $40 but did see someone else @ $55). The Hilton KCI used to win around $45 but has not been seen since 4 points has started under-bidding them @ $40. Hilton is a much better property, but the Four Points is recently remodeled and not too bad considering the price. They have free parking, internet and bottled water at the 4-points compared to $9.95 or so internet at the Hilton & Hyatt. Parking is also free at Hilton but Hyatt is $13.50 self park (valet available for more) and Radisson was @ $7 parking the last time I was there...but the Radisson also had free internet. Courtyard KC South is also a good win, but may be too far depending on your needs. They usually show up in the 2.5* KC south zone for around $50 as well. Checking your dates, there doesn't seem to be any unusual spikes in rates for the area that weekend booking directly. If you wanted to try HOTWIRE, they have 3* on the Plaza for your dates @ $71/night. Amenities match to the Holiday Inn at the Plaza (not the Express). 2.5* Plaza is $56 and looks to be the Holiday Inn Express (amenities match). If you could stay up by KCI and wanted to use hotwire, the 3.5* is the Embassy Suites KCI and is showing $61/night for your dates. Downtown/Crown Center is obviously closer to the Plaza (only a few minutes away) and may land you a better deal, or at least a decent property for the amount you are wanting to spend. Hope this helps!
  11. Started @ $35 increasing $1 in the non 3* zones landing @ $40.
  12. Started @ $40 raising $1 increments through the non 4* rebid zones and landed on $49.
  13. As usual, got this great property for $36 bidding 3* in the West-Chesterfield zone
  14. Screwed myself on this one...was trying for a 2.5* downtown or Council Bluffs and added the central/northwest zone (Residence Inn prev awarded but rare now) and forgot about the "upgrade" to the next star level. Since my initial win for this property is for 4/1 @ $35, I should have figured it would bite me there but wasn't even thinking about it kicking me up to a 3*. Oh well, live and learn I suppose. Hopefully the recent renovations have improved this property slightly considering the past reviews it has received.
  15. Accepted first bid @ $35 for 4/1 - 3* at Doubletree Guest Suites Only problem, quick visit to Doubletrees own site reveals that the pool & whirlpool will be closed for renovation through 4/15 with the fitness center after that. Now I know why the bid was accepted so low :) Haven't seen a 3* under $40 since 2004. On a somewhat related note...the Hilton has been downgraded to a 2.5*....suprising for such a new and well regarded property. It still has it's four diamond rating and has most of the amenities of the 3*'s like pool, room service, fitness center, concierge, etc...I wonder why they have dropped to the 2.5? Reported wins with them still at the 3* in late February.
  16. Strategy: 3* Des Moines Zone (aka Downtown) @ $44 - declined Added West zone @ $46 - declined Added Merle Hay/Urbandale (no 3*) @ $47 - accepted @ Renaissance Savery Direct rate of $119 lowest available
  17. Des Moines West 3* Strategy: Start by selecting the West Des Moines zone and the 3* level. Given recent history in that zone, I would start at $45 and make $5 increments. You will only have two rebid zones for the 3*, Airport & Merle Hay/Urbandale (Des Moines zone AKA downtown has several 3* properties so unless you are willing to accept one of those, don't use that zone as a rebid). So you would have this: Start in West Des Moines zone 3* @ $45. If declined... Add one of the rebid zones without a 3*, Merle or Airport @ $50. If declined... Add the other rebid zone not used in the last step @ $55. If still declined, you will have to wait 24 hours to start again. If you want to try for the 2.5 at this point, close the browser, re-access priceline and do the following: Start in West Des Moines zone 2.5* @ $35. If declined... Add Merle Hay/Urbandale zone @ $40. If declined... Add airport zone (no current 2.5*'s forr your dates) @ $45. If declined... Add Des Moines zone (aka Downtown to some...also shows no current 2.5* for your dates) @ $50. Be sure to recheck the zones listed before bidding as new properties may be added or inventory released that cause a particular star level to become active. On a related note, be careful about the 2.5* in the Merle Hay/Urbandale zone as it could get you the Ramada Northwest Des Moines which is a very poor property in my opinion.
  18. Bid history: 3* West-Chesterfield Zone @ $30 - declined added Hazelwood zone @ $32 - declined added St Charles/St Peters zone @ $34 - declined added St Louis South zone @ $35 - declined added St Louis Airport zone @ $36 - Success! @ Marriott West Chesterfield Considering this is the exact property I was shooting for, I am very happy although a 3* in the airport zone (the only rebid zone listed above with another 3*) would have been fine too. Marriott website lowest price was $189 so quite a savings!
  19. To start, I think the reason for the declines is that your bids are too low (in my experience) for that zone and star level. Recent 2.5* & 3* wins for this zone have been (all properties listed below are in the Country Club Plaza zone): 3* Marriott - 2/26 - $65 Intercontinental - 11/17 - $90 Marriott - 8/1 - $55 Sheraton Suites - 9/12 - $77 2.5* Courtyard - 3/2-3/4 - $50 Courtyard - 3/10 - $50 Those are just a few...range seems to be $50-$100 on average. Due to that, I would start at $35 or so with $5 raises for rebid zones. The good part is that you have quite a few zones that do not contain a 3*...but there are more with a 2.5* property so you need to be very careful when bidding for the 2.5 so that you don't get one during the rebid process that is outside the desired zone. Bidding for the 3* Start with the Country Club Plaza zone @35. If declined... Add Independence zone @ $40. If declined... Add Kansas City North zone @ $45. If declined... Add Kansas City South zone @ $50. If declined... Add Kansas City West Zone @55. If declined... Add Leavenworth zone @60. If declined... Add Lees Summit/Blue Springs zone @ $65. If declined... Add Liberty zone @ $70. If declined... Add Olathe zone @$75. If declined... At this point there are still 2 more zones without a 3*, Shawnee Mission & Stadium so your can use those as well or mix up the list above. If you have not received a hotel by the end of this, you can go for a 2.5*, but DO NOT add the 2.5* level while you are bidding on the *3. Close your browser and start over again with the Country Club Plaza zone $35 and work your way up through the zones (DO NOT use the zones I listed under 3*, use the ones below). Again, be very careful on the 2.5* or else you may get a property far away from where you want. The following zones currently do not have a 2.5*: Kansas City North Kansas City West Leavenworth Liberty Olathe Shawnee Mission Stadium VERY IMPORTANT: You MUST double check any of the zones listed in both ranges above as they may change do to new properties added, zone area changes, hotel availability, etc. On the name your own price page, select and un-select each zone to see what star levels are currently offered there and then use those without your desired star level as the basis of your rebidding. Failure to do this may result in you getting a property well outside the desired area. Proceed at your own risk should you choose not to double check the zone and star levels accordingly.
  20. Finally, another 3-star in the MCI zone to generate some competition with the Hilton & Marriott. Started with Airport zone - 3* @ $35 - rejected Added Liberty zone (no 3* there) @$40 - Accepted @ Four Points by Sheraton MCI Airport Not a bad property, has been a Holiday Inn and a Clarion in the past. Recent renovation added the Four Points bedding, new carpet/paint/etc. Lowest rate on sheraton website for this date was $120 prepaid so I saved roughly 66%
  21. Just curious, both Priceline and Hotwire will show the total (including taxes & fees) before committing to purchase, although priceline combines the taxes & it's own booking fee in a line. That said, the end total is still the same and would show an accurate price comparison between PL & HW. Since the total cost is evident on both before you commit, how are they being deceptive? I do see your point in that they do not list the priceline commission seperatley, but that is their choice to do so and do the same on hotel bookings. I know when I book a hotel, the hotel is not getting the full amount, priceline is keeping their cut of the bid, although it is not listed seperatley. I guess I am not seeing where you were tricked in this instance. The total amount for both HW & PL including all fees is listed before you commit (and as you stated, you ignored what priceline provided on the bid page and you can still stop at that page before committing). Now if those changed after you placed your bid (including after they provided the tax/fee totals as again, you can still stop at that point), that would be a different scenario. Please let me know if I am just missing something.
  22. The Hyatt has been coming up the most on bid results lately (got it for myself in March for $47/night). Since you are looking only for 4*, I would start with $40 or so and then use the rebid zones to up that. Recent 4* Downtown results: 3/14-3/19: $45/night 3/18: $47/night 1/29: $54/night 4/13-4/15: $51/night All are Hyatt wins I haven't seen a Renaissance Grand win since November 06. Checking July wins last year, they were nearly all in the $45-$60/night range (for both Hyatt & Renaissance Grand).
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