Priceline, price warning

By OldRelayer,

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Something I noticed just recently. When you enter your bid and it is considered to low it immediately tells you. And sure enough everytime I tried that bid it failed.

But then I decided to stay in a completely different area closer to home and that is the direction we are going and it is cheaper. I bid $35 for 3* hotels in the zone, there are only two for those dates. I wanted the Raddison but of course I got the DoubleTree (I have stayed here before, wasn't a great hotel) but for $35 I am not going to complain. But I messed up. When it didn't give me the message that you don't have a snowballs chance in hell, I should have lowered my bid until I hit that message and then worked up a little from there, I suspect I left a few dollars on the table, The Lowell MA doubletree will always be worth less than what you pay no matter. Well they have another chance to prove me wrong, but this is a horrible hotel and I am not terrible hard to please, just some place clean and good bedding and I am happy as a clam. But in any event, try that bid strategy and see if it works for you, bid down until you hit the red message then bring it up a little to make a bid or try the low bid, but don't do what I did and accept it when I could have done better, if I was thinking clearer.

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Ignore that message. I have gotten many winning bids by continuing after the warning message, and had many bids fail when the message did not appear. It is just a sales tool -- Priceline wants you to spend more money on the hotel rooms.

I was saying just the opposite, don't even place a bid until you get the message and then work up from there. I didn't get the message at $35 meaning, I could have gotten it for less. I went back and tried it just to see where the demarcation line was, at $20 the message came up, I probably could have gotten the room for $25, maybe less. Don't ignore it, use it to your advantage.

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I was saying just the opposite, don't even place a bid until you get the message and then work up from there. I didn't get the message at $35 meaning, I could have gotten it for less. I went back and tried it just to see where the demarcation line was, at $20 the message came up, I probably could have gotten the room for $25, maybe less. Don't ignore it, use it to your advantage.

The reason I say to ignore the message is that it is not related to the available pricing. You may be bidding too low and wasting time and available bids by using the message as your indicator, or you may be overbidding with rooms available BELOW where the message appears. Do your research by checking hotel rates and winning bids.

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Use every tool available is what I am saying. Frankly there is so little bidding information, it is hard to make any kind of a bid for most hotels and the dates are so meaningful. Not that the bidding sites are not helpful they are but still only one piece of the puzzle. Even that date last year they may have had a big conference in town that went to another city this year, that is if you can find that information. The best advice is to use time on your side and start bidding early enough so you can really hit the mark and not have to do it in one session with rebids. Another thing to consider that maybe sometimes Priceline may not be the best thing for you. There are some major chains that I hate and if there is even a small possibility of getting one of them I will do whatever it takes to avoid them, with Hotwire and they are almost always more money than what you can get a room for on Priceline (that is if priceline has the inventory, sometimes they don't). I tried for 2 weeks to get a hotel for april 17 - 19 with no luck, bid up to $150 when the week before rooms were going for $65. The 3* hotels didn't thrill me so I tried Hotwire and found what they call a 3 1/2 star hotel(it had been IDed as The Sheraton Center City) and it was $127, which was actually a good buy, because Priceline either had no inventory or was just too high and there were actually a lot of place that you couldn't even make a reservation on the hotel website because they were booked. We just got back the hotel was great, easily rated as they indicated if not higher and was treated so nice. Actually I have never had any of the problems with either Priceline or Hotwire discrimation. I jokingly asked for the 27th floor with a view and the clerk was very nice and said that the hotel was booked and we arrived a little late but she could give us a Westside in her opinion the best view from the 10th floor and she was right, great room. I guess the bottom line is there is much to be saved, but you sure have to do your homework and use every tool available, is it worth it. If your the CEO of Standard Oil, probably not but if you are like the rest of us and always trying to do more with less money, it is worth the effort.

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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.

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The problem with using the "too low" message to start bidding is that it is NOT related to the available room inventory or prices. If research into rack rates and other peoples' bidding history doesn't give you a starting bid amount (such as small cities without much bid history), I suppose the message can be used. I have found using 35% of the lowest rack rate as a starting bid can often get a rate BELOW where the warning message appears. It all depends if you want to spend the time doing the rate research.

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I guess I wasn't clear because everyone is missing the point. The point is don't bid if you don't get the message that says your bid is too low, it might be too low to get the bid, but who cares you can always go up, if you bid too high, you have wasted money.

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.

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