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Priceline Hotel: 2.5* San Francisco (Civic Center) Hotel Whitcomb


Colfax
By Colfax,
in

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I'm not used to paying $60's for Civic Center zone. :)

Less than a year ago that I wrote in this thread: "I'm not used to paying $50 for Civic Center. Usually it's $40's." Priceline rates have been creeping up all over San Francisco and this is the Civic Center version of that trend.

Whitcomb's regular rate was $109, so not much discounting. Hotwire had it for $75. Whitcomb was on LastMinuteTravel for $60 but "On Request", and I didn't want to wait overnight for a reply since I was bidding the day before my stay.

Rejected bids:

$65/3* USE, USW, Civic Center

$62/2.5* USE, USW, Civic Center

8th & Market isn't where most people want to stay but I'm not normal, I guess, and the classic Whitcomb's one of my favorite hotels in SF, despite the location. BART, MUNI, and streetcar all stop right in front of the hotel so it's a very convenient base for getting around.

Since my last visit Whitcomb's expanded their mezzanine level collection of historic SF photos and artifacts with an emphasis on 1940's and 50's SF nightlife---Fillmore jazz scene, Chinatown nightclubs and showbars, the grand old movie palaces on Market. Some great photos, a museum quality collection, free to the public, and worth checking out if you're in the area.

To help support this board I bid through the BetterBidding PRICELINE link.

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I tried extending my stay one night with Add a Night. Priceline countered $84. I didn't want to move but I'm not paying $84 for Whitcomb.

LastMinuteTravel had Whitcomb for $61, but "On Request" again, which means your reservation isn't guaranteed. LMT has to contact the hotel first. I made the LMT reservation at 5PM on 2/16 and got back email confirmation that I was accepted at 10AM on 2/17, two hours before checkout.

LMT's transaction fee is lower than Priceline's too so I saved about $28 by going the LMT route instead of accepting Priceline's counteroffer.

Whitcomb was hosting a national convention of salsa dancers and the hotel was very festive!

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I see Priceline just split the Civic Center zone in two. This must have happened today. Now there's Civic Center South-Hayes Valley and Civic Center North-Japantown--the same arrangement as on Hotwire.

This is good news as as a lot of people would be happy with the North Civic Center area but not South (or vice versa), and now you can target your bidding.

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I went with LMT as well! I actually had 4 nights booked at Whitcomb from 2/17-2/21, and went this route because it seemed better than anything I could get at Price.,line or HOTWIRE.

It turned out that I had made an excellent choice when some circumstances came up later. My friend who was to host me in SF for a few days before the hotel stay had a family emergency and would be out of town until 2/21. After examining all the options, I called up LMT to inquire about changing the reservation. I postponed my whole trip by exactly one week (reservation is now 2/25-3/01) and there was to be only a $25 fee. They entered the change and said, hey, good news, our system didn't charge you a fee at all. Then I changed my flight (no change fees on Southwest) and I was good to go. Had I won any of my failed Priceline bids, then rescheduling the trip would have been a royal pain.

Too bad that I missed the salsa dancers though!

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I tried extending my stay one night with Add a Night. Priceline countered $84. I didn't want to move but I'm not paying $84 for Whitcomb.

LastMinuteTravel had Whitcomb for $61, but "On Request" again, which means your reservation isn't guaranteed. LMT has to contact the hotel first. I made the LMT reservation at 5PM on 2/16 and got back email confirmation that I was accepted at 10AM on 2/17, two hours before checkout.

LMT's transaction fee is lower than Priceline's too so I saved about $28 by going the LMT route instead of accepting Priceline's counteroffer.

Whitcomb was hosting a national convention of salsa dancers and the hotel was very festive!

If you used LMT's opaque site, did you know the hotel by the amenities?

I'm a member of the LMT Club and they list the names of hotels; the Whitcomb is $5 more at $66!

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If you used LMT's opaque site, did you know the hotel by the amenities?

I'm a member of the LMT Club and they list the names of hotels; the Whitcomb is $5 more at $66!

It's well-known that LMT's "opaque site" isn't really all that opaque. Pretty much every hotel I've pulled up on their site can be identified positively with good Google skills. Strong identifiers include the map area shown, photos that match ones shown on other sites for the same hotel, number of floors and guestrooms. In the case of Whitcomb, a search from the description text of the $61 "3-star hotel in Downtown/Union Square/Nob Hill/San Francisco" led to:

http://www.ixigo.com/hotels/us/whitcomb-ho...i?tab=amenities

which has pictures and text matching the LMT item identically. Based on this, I proceeded with my booking and indeed got the Whitcomb.

But let's not wave this in their faces too loudly, lest they make any big changes =)

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LMT frequently gives the number of rooms also. The city has a document at http://www.sf-planning.org/ftp/files/publi...ports/18057.pdf that lists all the hotels 100 rooms and over. That's how I was sure I had the Whitcomb when I saw the 460 rooms although the other clues were just as strong. I got the Whitcomb for 61 a night at LMT for March 17-22. Now if only someone had similar rates for May and June! I love the hotel although its a bit short on luxuries.

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Right so at least 3 possible methods to identify from LMT. For that reason, here is my likely strategy for future trips:

1) Use LMT to locate and positively identify the cheapest hotel that fits my criteria for the trip in question.

2) Look at some direct hotel web sites as well that are likely to be PL & Hotwire wins for comparison.

3) Check if any Hotwire properties beat the LMT options, see if any are easily identifiable. Note the best price I can find on a property that fits my criteria - WITH the proviso that I have to be a bit more cautious without a positive hotel ID.

4) Browse this forum and the other one for recent Priceline wins - is it likely that I can beat the best options I found in steps 1-3? If so, prepare a bidding strategy but *stop* when I get close enough to the best price from 1-3.

5) If PL failed to beat 1-3, then pay the best known price available on LMT, Hotwire or direct booking.

The equation seems to change from city to city. San Francisco has a few hotels that make an LMT booking very competitive to PL. Seattle actually appears to be cheaper on LMT for getting a likely good property than via PL or Hotwire. But Portland, Oregon seems to get some dirt-cheap PL rates at 3.5-4* properties that beat the pants off LMT's selection at the same price range.

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So I'm not the only Whitcomb fan in the world after all. :)

joealx,

The thread Gallus50 mentioned about ID'ing LMT hotels is here: ID'ing LastMinuteTravel hotels

It's a long thread and the method for ID'ing LMT hotels changed as the thread evolved. The key link you need for performing IDs is in post #35 of that thread. (Thanks to BEAV for sharing the info.)

queerasmoi,

But let's not wave this in their faces too loudly, lest they make any big changes =)

I worry about this too. Sometimes too much publicity over a good deal ends up killing it. Enjoy and take advantage of the "LMT Trick" while you can.

thereuare,

I tried using the LMT link on BetterBidding's Support Page and the link seems broken.

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