Priceline Customer Satisfaction

By weiser701,

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I'm just curious how winners here feel about their experiences with Priceline since it's hard to find a group of positive reviews around the Net. Can it really be as bad some people post about? Obviously they're satisfying some since there's evidence of repeat customers on this board. I just don't hear too many good things about them. Curious about thoughts here on this board. Thanks

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In my opinion there are two main complaints:

Star Quality Issues: these can be legitimate, but only sometimes to the fault of priceline. The root of the problem is that star ratings are subjective and there is no consistency within the hotel industry, which leaves a LOT of room for interpretation, and therefore each company and hotel guest can have a different opinion of what rating a hotel deserves. Add to this that not every room in a hotel is created equal (some face a freeway, others are next to an elevator, others on a high floor have a great view, while those on a low floor may have no view, etc), so it's oftten difficult, although necessary, to classify an entire hotel as a whole. You can read multiple reviews of the same hotel and they can range from "loved it" to "never again", proving that this is an industry wide issue.

To further this discussion, everyone also has a different opinion as to what is a 'good room'. We see comments from users who are disappointed because they received "a room next to the elevator" while others are disapointed with "a room furthest from the elevator". Often when paying a fraction of the price of a traditionally booked room it's easy to 'blame' it that you received a 'priceline room', but these rooms existed (and filled with other guests) long before the discount booking services existed, and in reality it's often the case that the desk clerk just assigned you a room at random, with no "ill will" intended. Refer back to the point above regarding multiple reviews for the same hotel having drastically different user experiences.

With the above noted, there are some (a minority of) hotels which do consistenly give their discount rate customers the least desirable rooms. However, we try to keep track of them here by having users report their experiences in our Hotel Reviews section.

Other Issues: most other issues stem from users not having realistic expectations or not doing their homework before they bid. These include wanting a room with specific bedding type, booking for more than double occupancy (for priceline), not carefully looking at the zone boundaries, bidding too much, or expecting a specific hotel. Priceline is very good at satisfying their side of the deal and fufilling their obligation, but when users choose to ignore/bend these terms, or don't do any research and bid 'blindly', it can lead to 'complaints'.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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I think its just human nature to complain about a bad priceline experience rather than offer praise. My positive experiences far outweigh my less than desirable stays and with hotel rates skyrocketing over the past 3 years, I don't feel like paying rack rates when I can bid and save 25-50% or more through Priceline. When making a bid, go in with eyes wide open; you may get any hotel that appears on the BetterBidding list, or possibly be the first to report a new property. You need to determine if the savings is worth not knowing the identity of the hotel until your bid is accepted. I agree with thereuare that many of the complaints involve bidding mistakes such as overbidding (which can be minimized with the free tools on this board), bidding in the wrong zone, wrong dates, getting a smoking room for a non smoker, getting a king when two doubles is needed, and so on. If you have "must have" requirements such as an indoor pool, free parking, free breakfast, free internet, restaurant on premises, access to public transportation, being within "x miles" of an address, then Priceline is not for you. For me, it has been an exception when a hotel was unable to grant a request for a specific room type, often this was the result of the hotel being at or near sell out.

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But as far as the services they claim to offer, there's no real reason for the amount of complaints seen all over the Net based from your experiences?

It's not really fair to account for ignorant or lazy shopping practices (like what you guys mentioned). It's unfortunate reviews are watered down and skewed with complaints based off of such ignorance and/or laziness. That's why I wanted to ask the veterans here at Better Bidding! As long as Priceline is living up to their claims (which I'm pretty sure I good scope of by now) then I shouldn't have any problems.

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But as far as the services they claim to offer, there's no real reason for the amount of complaints seen all over the Net based from your experiences?

I'm not familiar with the large amount of complaints on the net, and I don't know what you mean by the services they have to offer, but from personal experience, Priceline's "name your own price" product is a great business model. This service simply matches bids from customers with offers from hotels; when the bid meets or exceeds the offer, the deal is done and is cannot be changed or modified. Of the few complaints I've read, most stem from lack of personal responsibility for one's own actions and the complainer has to put the blame on Priceline. Then again, some complaints involve the intransigence of the Hotel management which can happen regardless of how the room was booked. I have many more "letdowns" with HOTWIRE due to star inflation.

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As for most of the complaints you read?

Most of the people have unreal expectations about travel and the service that they are using. Example they want to change the travel date, but PL will not give a refund. That is what non refundable means. Or they want 5 star service from a 3 star hotel. Or they are surprised that a 4 star hotel does not give a free breakfast.

Or they paid too much and they need to blame someone else. Do your research BEFORE bidding, not after.

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I'm not familiar with the large amount of complaints on the net, and I don't know what you mean by the services they have to offer

What I meant by that is only reviewing the actual services they claim to provide (i.e. if you bid on a 4* star hotel in Region A you get a 4* hotel in Region A - done deal) and not all the other variables people often include in their complaints (e.g. hotel didn't live up to their expectations, didn't book the right region or hotel star rating and they want it fixex). There's too many of the latter to sort through on the Net, which is why I mentioned there are a large amount of complaints. When you look around for reviews, you'll find em. But then again, there were plenty for Hotwire as well. I'm sure there are just too many people angry or frustrated because of high expectations or they screwed and won't accept responsibility.

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I love priceline. I always use it when we travel and I get rooms that exceed my expectations 80% of the time for great rates. But I do spend the time to research hotel star levels-reviews-costs-locations and I feel I know what to expect from priceline. I can see however, that if you don't do the research and you have uninformed expectations, you may be disappointed with what you get. I'd assume that's where the bulk of negative priceline feedback comes from.

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  • 9 months later...

Summary: Priceline Name your own price: Does not provide more than double occupancy and you are out of luck if the hotel can't help.

I have used priceline bidding on a few occasions for myself and found the benefits to be great. Given this experience I decided to use the bidding method for my family vacation for a family of four.

However after thinking I had gotten a great hotel 2.5 star, a few days later I checked with the hotel only to find out my room accomodations was equipped with two twin beds. I then asked the hotel for an upgrade and I was told they did not have any upgrade rooms available over the long weekend, even thought the cost would be an additional $50. Note the cost of priceline and $50 would put me up in a 3 star hotel with 2 double beds.

I have contacted priceline with my situation and they have not been willing to make any changes saying No cancellations, changes or refunds. After stating their policy of "We or the applicable hotel may, on an exception basis and at the request of the hotel guest, may waive one or more of the restrictions after the hotel room has been booked.", they still have refused to assist with my booking.

Now I am left with either staying in a small room with not enough beds or booking at another hotel.

Thanks priceline

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The only person you have to thank is yourself. You tried to save money by taking a chance that you would get a room with bedding for four and you failed. Why is this Priceline or the hotels fault? Buy two twin inflatable beds and you are still a head. Your second mistake was to call the hotel and put a red flag on yourself having four people in a room rated for two. Now if they are full and need that room you are going to be the first person weeded out.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Over the years we have been happy with Priceline. However, our most recent experience was not positive. We bid on a resort level hotel in the Walt Disney World area. Our bid was accepted at the Hilton in Disney Village. The hotel is decent, we've stayed there in the past. However, there's no way it's a "Resort" level hotel. It does not meet the standards outlined in Priceline's rating descriptions and the hotel's own web site rates it as a 4-star property. Other resort level hotels in the area we have bid on and have stayed at include the Gaylord Palms, the Marriott Grand Lakes and the Swan and Dolphin in Disney World. The Hilton is not even close the the level of those properties. We complained to Priceline, but were given no satisfaction at all. It makes me very uncomfortable about bidding in the future.

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For the most part, i've generally been satisified with Priceline.

As long as they assign me a hotel which is safe and clean (and for the most part, i've gotten what I expected) I am happy. Any issues that pop up during my stay (which are rare), I don't levy aganst Priceline, and take it up directly with the hotel.

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  • 1 month later...
My biggest complaint against PRICELINE is that all too often I get a stinking filthy smoker's room.

It appears that the nonsmoking rooms go to the full rate customers.

Additionally several hotels give you a PRICELINE inferior room. King beds are reserved for full price guests.

I've had this happen to and I hate it, theres obviously a reason i chose the non smoking room and thats b/c I dont want to smell smoke, ugh.

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  • 1 year later...

I just had an experience with Priceline that was neither positive nor negative.

I bid and won a price for a flight to Ohio a month in advance. Then the event for which I booked the ticket was cancelled. I racked my brain ( and the web) to find a way to get SOME kind of consolation out of the cancelled event. Here is what I did:

1. Emailed Priceline and told them the situation. Didn't do any good.

2. Waited till the time of the flight and went to the ariport. I checked in at the counter and told the American Airlines agent my situation. I said I planned to see if I could get bumped in order to get a voucher....maybe. She said the flight had too many empty seats to get bumped but I could call AA and tell them I "missed my flight" and there was a good chance they could help me.

3. I called 2 times to AA to talk to 2 agents. They both said the ticket was a Priceline and there was nothing to do about it.. I said Thanks....I figured as much.

4. Finally I called Priceline. The guy was nice but...........you guessed it..........was sorry he could n't help considering it was a "Bid" ticket.

I am not upset with Priceline because I realize their policy. I am glad that I can get cheap tickets from them. I'll take the risk for the savings.

I will say however that I think it would be to their own interest to give SOME KIND of consolation just to make the customer think he hasn't lost everything.

Even if it was only a $20.00 voucher for use on a car or plane ticket.

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  • 1 year later...
I'm just curious how winners here feel about their experiences with Priceline since it's hard to find a group of positive reviews around the Net. Can it really be as bad some people post about? Obviously they're satisfying some since there's evidence of repeat customers on this board. I just don't hear too many good things about them. Curious about thoughts here on this board. Thanks

Well, I placed a rental car order on Priceline.com, they told me payment would be upon arrival, and i thought everything was great. until i got to the rental...

1. i found out that i was ONLY allowed to use a credit card at the rental. and i was told on Priceline.com to use the SAME card i used on the website, but that was my debit card.

so, after all my travels (from West Coast to East Coast), i had left my credit cards at home and could not rent the car. Priceline should have clearly stated that.

2. i asked for collision coverage on Priceline.com, because i thought i was being safe. (it was costing me $44 for my entire trip). they needed that upfront. i paid it, yet, never got the rental car. there was nothing in the policies or agreement to suggest that a refund would not be possible. i looked.

Now, to be on the safe side, when i was making my reservation; i clicked on the button that allows you to have insurance on your trip, in case something goes wrong and you have to cancel! and i went along and printed up EVERY page, every policy, and every agreement...

i was told on the day i was trying to Retrieve the rental, FROM THE RENTAL COMPANY, that i needed to call Priceline.com for a Refund of my original $44. (which is DAYS, if not, more then a week AFTER i made my reservation with Priceline).

Once i called Priceline for my refund, they told me that my $44 was not refundable. i was looking through my papers to find where in my agreements it said that, that $44 in Collison Insurance was not refundable, and i could not find a single thing that stated that. when i asked the agent to point me in the right direction, he could not. i sat on the phone for more than an hour, waiting for him to point out where it stated my $44 was Non-refundable. HE COULD NOT! but he could say, "if you don't call within 24 hours of the Reservation, then its non refundable". YET, i was not aware of the problem til i show up at the airport a week after i make the reservation? You cannot point out where it states that, yet you can say to me, "that's your policy"? how will i know of the problem within 24 hours, when i made the reservation a week before?!? IMPOSSIBLE!!!

This is not a matter of $44. it is a matter of how Priceline treats it's customers. and how, when asked a simple question, they cant even give an answer that should be right there in front of them. they cannot direct there customer towards the policies which they hold. nor, could they simply just try to fix it.

that is a LOSS of: A Customer, Referrals from said Customer, and Lots of Future Revenue for Priceline.com

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From the Terms of the Insurance:

Cancellations with 100% refund will be permitted for Collision Damage Insurance up until the pickup time you requested in your rental car reservation.

I understand the logic of why you deserve a refund, but as per the terms above, if your request came after the pick-up time of your reservation (or you didn't call the insurance company at the time you were being denied the rental) then there is no refund.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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  • 4 weeks later...

To the original question about the dearth of positive Priceline reviews online, I'd say that you aren't looking hard enough. There are plenty of satisfied customers, including me. For evidence, I'd cite the fact that PL's stock price has risen quite dramatically since 2007 (the date of the start of this thread). Healthy profit growth is one reason for the rise - and PL isn't getting that from burning their customers (or bridges to those customers).

Disclaimer: I own no stock in Priceline and am not associated in any way (other than as a satisfied customer) to them.

Thereuare's two major points pretty much sum up the argument. When you roll the dice with Priceline, one has to be content with the possibility that you won't get a large chunk of what you want. What will you get? A room with beds and treatment largely along the lines of other customers.

If you NEED to be in a certain spot or must have certain amenities, then Priceline isn't for you for that trip. Just buck up and pay the best rate you can find outside of the PL universe. Of course, you roll the dice on that, too, since every visit can have a different outcome - even if you have visited the hotel before.

So, as powerplantop said: Do your research BEFORE you bid. Evaluate whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Informed consumers are powerful consumers. And, even if it isn't the hotel that you dreamed of, you can always try to improve the experience - maybe asking for a room upgrade? Make lemonade out of lemons. :)

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