Welcome 'officially' to BetterBidding!
Unfortunately there is no magic formula as to when the 'right' time to make a purchase... our advice is to make the purchase when there is a hotel you want offered at a good price. Sometimes you will make the purchase and see the price drop further... other times you may wait and see the price increase (or worse, the hotel you want disappears entirely)
Some factors to keep in mind that can effect the buy decision:
-if it a good deal at current prices? No need to lock in a deal 9+ months in advance for a paltry $10/nite savings... but if your plans are firm and the savings are significant, then often better to lock in now ('a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush').
-how badly do you want the hotel that you think is currently being offered... if it disappears, or increases beyond your budget, how much worse (convenience, cost, etc) are the likely replacement options?
-how much room is there for the price to drop vs. how much could it potentially increase, taking seasonal factors into consideration... for example, in Las Vegas (where rates tend to fluctuate more than any other city) if a 5 star hotel is offered at $110 it may have the possibility to drop another $10-$20 dollars but if the next move is higher is has the potential to increase $70-$90, which makes the risk/reward scenario less compelling and more reason to book sooner rather than later
You're not going to 'win' by buying at the absolute lowest price each and every time, but If you follow the above key principals you should stay on the winning side of the equation and overall come out ahead in the long run.
Some tools we have which can also help:
RateDrop - will monitor PRICELINE EXPRESS and HOTWIRE rates for your specific dates and the star rating/zone combinations you choose. If the price drops below your determined price, you'll receive an email letting you know of the rate drop
RefundableRates.com - shows prices for hotels based upon very liberal refund-ability policies (usually fully refundable up until 1-3 days prior to arrival) so that if you're waiting (ie- hoping) for lower rates you can protect yourself by booking something today that you can live with, should a better deal come along with PRICELINE / HOTWIRE you simply cancel the refundable reservation
BiddingHelper.com 'Good Price' button - using the 'Hotwire Easy View' and 'Priceline Express' tabs you can see regular retail rates of hotels of the same star rating in the zone, thus having a better idea of how the 'opaque hotel' offer compares to rates for an equivalent property
As for your upcoming NYC trip, exactly which offer is it (star rating, price, amenities, etc) that you're currently considering in Long Island City?
Please remember to return to BetterBidding and use the PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links on the board to begin your travel purchases... or thru our sister site MAPSandHOTELS.com for your regular rate purchases.