BEAV

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Everything posted by BEAV

  1. Yeah, it's a mess now that you can't use the Vacation package to help identify hotels. Here's a link to the discussion. Hotwire Vacation Packages
  2. Welcome to BetterBidding! I'm glad this worked out well for you. If your travel dates are other than the original poster's (Oct 5-Oct 8), would you mind posting your HOTWIRE purchase on a separate (new) thread? That way it will be seen by more people who may benefit from it if they're looking for the same travel dates as you just purchased. Enjoy your stay!
  3. HOTWIRE is once again including the number of TripAdvisor reviews in their hotel-only product. In addition to that, they are also including a link to reviews from past Hotwire guests of the property. You have to surf through a lot of reviews (some people only leave ratings, while others include comments), however there are tidbits of info that can help to identify hotels. This reminds me of the days where Hotwire used to have "customer favorite" properties and included morsles of information which could often help to idenfity a hotel.
  4. Yesterday I noticed Hotwire is once again including the number of TripAdvisor reviews in their hotel-only product. In addition to that, they are also including a link to reviews from past Hotwire guests of the property. You have to surf through a lot of reviews (some people only leave ratings, while others include comments), however there are tidbits of info that can help to identify hotels. This reminds me of the days where Hotwire used to have "customer favorite" properties and included morsles of information which could often help to idenfity a hotel. So while using the vacation package is still a "no go" for identifying hotels, this new addition should prove helpful.
  5. My guess would be the San Francisco Intercontinental without the pool icon that has displayed in the past. HOTWIRE is once again including TripAdvisor ratings as well as the number of reviews. And in addition to that, you can now surf through hundreds of comments from Hotwire customers. Some of the clues I read which point to the Intercontintal were as follows: "The pool and jacuzzi were clean & wonderful" "I usually stay in a hotel north of Market St, but this hotel was south of Market." I also read a few comments about conventioneers staying at the hotel, which just happens to be next door to the Moscone Convention Center. Good luck and please keep us posted on your progress for this stay.
  6. I'm glad this worked out and you don't have to mess with it for another month! Looks like dropping down to 3 stars did the trick. Enjoy your weekend in the wine country.
  7. Looks like it was $291 on a $160 4-star Napa bid. The counteroffer of $291 isn't too encouraging. It's pretty obvious by that you're travling over a high-occupancy weekend. Fall is high season in the wine country and weekends are a challenge, to say the least.
  8. During any of your 4 bid attempts today at 4 and 3.5 levels, did Priceline ever come back with a counteroffer? If you're not familiar with counteroffers, Priceline occasionally responds to one of your bids suggesting that if you bid a certain amount (often for something around $20) more than the amount you had just bid) they can get you a hotel. These counteroffers more or less mean "you're getting close". So I'm just wondering if you've received any counteroffers in your latest bids?
  9. I hear you. It's really the pits now trying to ID HOTWIRE opaque hotels. Aside from ID purposes, there are both pros and cons to the new Hotwire vacation package. Pros: Scads more hotels to choose from than the old product. A few great deals such as those I mentioned earlier. I have done further research in other ciites like San Diego, San Francisco, etc and there are generally always deals that come close to HOTWIRE / PRICELINE-type rates. Cons: Basically a retail product now, with the exception of those "deals" mentioned above. I'd say 90% retail, 10% deals.
  10. A possible word of caution here..... I was just looking at the Santa Rosa, CA Hotwire zone. The Fountaingrove, Sheraton Petaluma and Hyatt are all on the Hotwire hotel list as 4 star properties. However, the Hotwire Vacation package (Expedia, in reality) rates all three of these hotels as 3.5 star properties. If this scenario plays out in other areas as well, then there will be no guarantee a rating assigned to the opaque hotel-only product will be the same rating in the Hotwire Vacation product. Yikes.
  11. Yes, identifying Hotwire hotels is now going to suck big time! However, after looking at a few Hotwire vacation packages ("powered" by Expedia), I noticed at least one pretty neat thing with regard to pricing. I did a Hotwire vacation package search from San Francisco to Orlando for 7 nights in January 2010. In looking through the list of hotels, I came across what breaks down to be a rate of $124 per night (taxes/fees included) at the 4* Dolphin, which is located inside Disney property. To arrive at that figure, Hotwire breaks down the air & hotel pricing as well as the dollar-amount discount for buying as a package. Since the air fare portion is regular retail pricing, the discount for booknig as a package essentially is taken off the rack rate hotel price. In the SFO to Orlando package, here is the breakdown; Flight price 1 adult $341.09 (SFO to MCO) Hotel price 1 room, 7 nights ($200.45 avg/night) $1,403.18 Taxes & fees $229.44 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If booked separately: $1,973.71 Discount for booking together: -$762.39 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total: $1,211.32 To arrive at the per night tax-included hotel rate of $124.32, you take the rack rate ($1403.18) and tax (229.44) to come with a hotel total of $1632.62. Then subtract the $762.39 discount for booking as a package. This brings the hotel-only compoment of the package to $870.23. Divide that by 7 nights and your per night price w/tax is $124.32. This scenario works assuming you're going to buy retail air fare from your origin city to Orlando anyway for your 7 day vacation. How many people (and families) book retail air to Orlando, and then try to get a hotel on Priceline and/or Hotwire? Lots, I'm sure! By booking together, you don't pay any more for air than you normally would, and you get to select the hotel you wish via going the opaque Priceline/Hotwire route. In addition, since this is an Expedia product, you can generally select a specific room type, which can be very beneficial, especially for families. How often do we see room rates at the Dolphin for $124 a night including taxes? You really have to look through all the various hotel displays in the package. The discounts for booking as a package vary quite a bit depending on the hotel. The Dolphin was just a good example of a deep discount for booking together as a package.
  12. Forgive me if this has been posted elsewhere. I just noticed Hotwire Vacations (air + hotel, air + car, or air + hotel + car) are now virtually the same product as Expedia vacations. In fact, you'll see a notice of "powered by Expedia" while Hotwire searches for your package. As info, Expedia owns Hotwire. In the past, the traditional Hotwire Vacation packages provided an excellent tool for helping to identify opaque properties in their hotel-only product. This is no longer the case, and the hotel star ratings (by Expedia) can no longer be used as a comparison for Hotwire's hotel-only product. Keep in mind that the prices you see on Hotwire's new vacation package are basically rack rates, or whatever rates Expedia has been able to negotiate. Having said that, Expedia (and now Hotwire) does display a "save by booking as a package" with some (not all) hotels, with a price breakdown of air & hotel and the amount of discount booking together. But, sadly, using Hotwire Vacations to identify properties in the opaque hotel-only product is no longer an available tool.
  13. The Lafayette Park hotel is once again selling rooms on Priceline after a long absence. The former 4* Renaissance Club Sport (Walnut Creek) was downgraded earlier this year to 3.5*, so the Lafayette Park hotel is now the only reported 4* in the zone. Bid History: 1. $120 - rejected 2. $122 - rejected with counteroffer to add $22 3. $124 - rejected with counteroffer to add $22 4. $125 - rejected with counteroffer to add $22 5. $126 - accepted Lafayette Park Hotel 3287 Mount Diablo Boulevard Lafayette, California 94549 Check-in Date: Sun, Nov 8, 2009 Check-Out Date: Mon, Nov 9, 2009 Your Offer Price Per Room, Per Night: $126.00 Taxes & Fees: $22.63 Total Charges*: $148.63 Lowest price on hotel's website is $199. Bid placed through BetterBidding link to PRICELINE.
  14. September & October are traditionally the most difficult months of the year to "score" low-priced Priceline/Hotwire deals. And 5 night stays don't make it any easier. This is typically high season in SF for major conventions, etc. Colfax's study of very limited 4 star availability on Hotwire is an indication there are probably some large conventions in town during your stay, which is driving the prices up. Yes, patience is a virtue, and I think you have the right attitude for staying the course and bidding weekly at this stage. Also, check PRICELINE's vacation package (air + hotel) just to give you some sort of indication of what's out there (and what's not).
  15. Since you started bidding 4 stars at $80, but didn't include the SOMA zone (the zone you won) until your last bid of $120, the possibility exists that you overbid for this stay. In other words, why bid $80 for 4 star in one zone (USE?) but start at $120 in SOMA zone? In your bid scenario, you never gave the SOMA zone the opportunity to "hit" at anything less than $120. After failing to win a successful bid in USE at $115 (or $110), it would have been better to go back to the Priceline home page and start a new bid over from scratch, only this time starting with the SOMA zone at $80 and using your free rebid zones until ultimately "hitting" at some price between $80 and $120. I hope this makes sense and will be helpful to you in the future. Having said all that (!), I've stayed at the SF-Intercontinental twice and loved it. So go and have a great time! Note to thereuare: Please edit the thread title from USE to SOMA.
  16. Sirbeamer, LastMinuteTravel.com today is selling a 4.5* on their site for $166 per night for 9/20-9/23. The hotel discription is pretty vague, however it mentioned this property is within walking distance to the Metreon and also has 63 "event facilities". So I googled San Francisco hotels with 63 event facilities and this matches the Marriott at 4th & Market (and right across the street from the Metreon). I don't think you'll get much better than this for a 4 star hotel during this period of heavy occupancy. Note to thereuare: The link to LastMinuteTravel on the support page appears to be down.
  17. I've been wondering the same thing. Thank you, exyvrite, for the follow as I had been wondering if you had been reaccomodated to another Starwood-brand hotel, although that would have required a change of zone (SOMA or USE). Sounds to me like Le Meridien went to Priceline, said they were full and asked them if there was anywhere else you could be accomodated. Personally, the Hilton Financial District is the weakest of the 4 star players in this zone, however Priceline would see it differently since they rate it the same as Le Meridien, Hyatt Regency and Omni. Although it doesn't make you feel any better, I agree with Colfax and others that sort of thing happens very rarely. I wonder if this would have happened had you booked the hotel through Priceline Vacations, where you select a specific hotel vs bidding through their Name Your Own Price channel.
  18. HOTWIRE is displaying a 3* in the Japantown/Civic Center North zone for $92 for Sept 20-23. This appears to be a match for the Opal Hotel, which has a 3.5 Tripadvisor score. As info, this hotel is located on Van Ness Ave. I'm not sure if it was displaying in the past, but noticed it today and thought I would mention it. Also, I did another PRICELINE vacation package search for 9/20-9/23 and the 4* Hilton in USW is no longer displaying. There are some 3 and 3.5 star hotels downtown displaying, however at exhorbitant rates when compared to 4 star hotels out at the airport. It's my understanding hotel revenue managers perform weekly occupancy assessments on Mondays and or Tuesdays. So it's possible something may turn up (for the better) by tomorrow or Wednesday. Colfax, thanks for the tip about the Grosvenor Suites. At first I was thinking this was the BW Grosvener out near the airport, but went to Expedia and see this is downtown. Good catch.
  19. You've done the right thing IMO. Yes, we've seen hotels give Priceline access to inventory at the last minute if/when cancellations come through. Often times people aren't willing to wait that long, however you've got nothing to lose since you have a cancellable reservation booked w/Larkspur. To monitor inventory, do a Priceline vacation package (air + hotel) search for your travel dates. Enter any origin city with SFO as your destination. Enter using just one person traveleing. At the moment, the only 4 star hotel in downtown SFO displaying in the vacation package is the Hilton in USW. However you will notice how inflated the rate is for the Hilton when you compare it to 4 star hotels at the airport. The Hilton in USW is nearly 3 times what the Airport Hyatt is going for. So that gives you an indication of the lack of availability of 4 star inventory downtown vs the airport, and how inflated the single 4 star downtown hotel is charging. If you look at the packages every few days, it's possible as the date gets closer you will see other 4 star downtown start to appear, and possibly at lower rates. No guarantee, it's just a good tool to get a feel for what's going on at the moment with regard to inventory.
  20. As info, the Parc 55 is in USW (not USE) nor does it have a swimming pool.
  21. WOW. You did great! Sept/Oct can be the toughest months of the year to bid San Francisco, yet you managed a decent price for a 4 star hotel for a stay of six nights. Congratulations For others reading, if the "Marquis" throws you a curve ball, Marriott recently renamed this hotel the Marriott Marquis (like the one in Times Square NY). It was no doubt to differentiate between the new Marriott Union Square (USE zone) that was formerly the Crowne Plaza and Hotel 480.
  22. Congratulations on your success and posting your winning bid. Was $105 your first bid, or did you start lower and work up to that amount? Thanks.
  23. While conventions occur throughout the entire year, for some reason Fall always seems to be the heaviest. From years past on these boards, I recall Sept & Oct as being the most difficult months with regard to PRICELINE and HOTWIRE. Looking at HOTWIRE for Sept 20-23 reveals why you're having such a hard time with Priceline. Hotwire has nothing at the 4 star level in the Embarcadero and USW zones. All they have is a hotel in USE for $286 per night. So that helps to explain why your Priceline bids up to $155 are going nowhere. Hotwire does, however, have a 3.5* Boutique hotel in USE for $149 per night. When looking at the Hotwire vacation packages, this 3.5 in USE is a match for the Galleria Park Hotel. This hotel has a 4 star Tripadvisor rating. I would suggest reading the Tripadvisor reviews of the Galleria Park and see if that will be acceptable to your in-laws. I also looked at PRICELINE vacations (air + hotel). The only zone with 4* star hotels at 'normal' Priceline rates are all the airport-area hotels. I'm not sure if that's acceptable, but that's where the bargains are. While I know switching hotels isn't an option, if it's any help, I was able to determine from HOTWIRE that Sunday (9/20) is the cheapest night out of the three (several 4 stars in various downtown zones in the low $100s). The "bad" nights are Monday & Tuesday. If you were buying today, your only real bargain options are the 3.5 in USE on HOTWIRE, or the 4 stars in the airport zone on PRICELINE. How late can you hold out?
  24. Yes, start a new bid at 3.5*, keeping them separate from 4*. Keep in mind, however, your free rebid zones will change at the 3.5 level compared to bidding 4*. To both travelhead and upontop, are your travel dates exactly the same? Regardless, don't be surprised if a moderator separates this thread into two. That is merely to save confusion! Continued good luck to both of you.
  25. I think you've hit the nail on the head. Between conferences/conventions and Fleet Week, many hotels, at the moment, do not need to dump excess inventory via PRICELINE. As we get closer, that can change if retail hotel bookings don't materialize as the hotels are hoping/expecting. As upontop did, book a retail rate that fits your travel budget, that you can cancel without penalty, and continue to bid on Priceline. With regard to the bid history you posted (thanks for doing that) I'd like to make some observations and suggestions. 1. When raising your bid price while adding zones with the same quality level (4 star in this case), you may be overbidding (paying more than you need to). For example, you bid $85 for 4* USE only, but $95 for 4* SOMA. Had $85 been enough for a winning bid in SOMA, you would have overbid by $10. As you continue to bid for this stay, I would suggest the following bid strategy: $85 - USW $90 - Add South SFO (free rebid) $95 - Add Civic Center (free rebid) $100 - Add Fisherman's Wharf (free rebid) $105 - Add Marina (free rebid) Go back to PRICELINE home page and start over: $85 - USE $90 - Add South SFO $95 - Add Civic Center $100 - Add Fisherman's Wharf $105 - Add Marina Go back to PRICELINE home page and start over: $85 - SOMA $95 - Add South SFO $95 - Add Civic Center $100 - Add Fisherman's Wharf $105 - Add Marina Using the above strategy, you never bid higher for one zone at the 4 star level than another, eliminating the possibility of an overbid. #2. In your previous bid history, you added (lowered) the 3.5 star category with your last (highest) bid. In theory, it doesn't make sense to bid $85 for 4 stars and $105 for 3.5 stars. This is a very common mistake, and can cause an overbid at the 3.5 level. Good luck with this and let us know if we can be of more help.