How does Priceline pick which hotel you get

Ty Webb
By Ty Webb,

Recommended Posts

How does PRICELINE pick a hotel when you make a bid? I believe they have blocks of unused hotel rooms in a given area and they sell those rooms to you. But do they have only one hotel at a time in a given area and in a given star rating?

It seems like hotels go in cycles when there is a winning bid. As an example, someone bids for 4 stars in the Chicago O'hare area in May and they get the Doubletree hotel. Two weeks later, someone bids a similar price in the same area and gets the same property. The next month, same thing happens and they get the Doubletree. Fourth month, similar bid, same location, and they get the Hyatt Regency Ohare. This seems to be the property that everyone gets for the next few months and then it changes again in a few more months. (This is just a scenario)

(Another example) If I bid $100 for a 3 Star hotel and get it in the Ohare area of Chicago, what are the chances of getting the same hotel on the same dates if I bid the next day?

How does PRICELINE pick which hotel you get when you bid if they have multiple hotels in the same area with the same Star rating? If you bid one price for a hotel in a given location with a given star rating, does it matter what you bid so long as it is accepted? What I mean is, if I want 4 Star, Ohare, and I bid $100 and win the bid and get the Doubletree, and their normal rate is $165/night. Would I still get the Doubletree if I had bid $130 in the inital bid?

It also seems like Priceline has deals with certain chains of hotels that they use more than any other. Do some chains align themselves with Priceline during slow times?

These are somethings I always wondered. Thanks for any info.

Link to comment

So if I know that someone just got hotel X (3Star) with a bid of $60 and I bid $75 dollars for the same criteria, I might get a different (and possibly better) 3 Star?

Do individual hotel participate with Priceline or is it a particular chain?

Link to comment

Its best not to overbid, because the hotel for the person that got it for $60, you might get the same one for $75, which can be foolish. You never know, because you can get a differant place for the same price. Lastly, chains aren't the only ones who participate, because its a lot of times up to the individual hotel. They want their occupancy rate as high as they can get it, because they would rather give you a $100 for $50, than have it go unused, which would be $0.


Jason's Storm- Making one killer deal after another. With something other than a machete to the head.

From the ashes of Friday the 13th Forum, rises Friday the 13th: The Community. A new beginning has arrived.

Link to comment

That link shed some light on it for me..... I think I have a much better understanding.

My question now is: Is it possible to have two hotels with the same critera and price in the PL computer. Could you have a Hilton and Hyatt in the same area that retail for the same price and have the same price in the computer for Priceline? If all things were equal, which one would you get? Is there any rhyme or reason to that scenario?

Is there a way to find out if a hotel is still in active rotation with Priceline if there have not been any winning bids posted on here in the last year?



Link to comment

Short of knowing someone who knows the interworkings of PRICELINE (even better than thereuare), there is no way to know which hotels are in rotation. It is though a little easier with HOTWIRE though, since they give you hints.


Jason's Storm- Making one killer deal after another. With something other than a machete to the head.

From the ashes of Friday the 13th Forum, rises Friday the 13th: The Community. A new beginning has arrived.

Link to comment
  • 2 months later...

I just saw the above posts, and while I have no proof, I thought it might be helpful to post what I have been wondering as well as a strategy (so far successful!) I used to win a bid on a Marriott brand:

I wonder if Marriott hotels are given the right of first refusal? (Meaning that they get to see a bid first.) I googled a lot before I bid my first time on Priceline, and it may be interesting for those interested to google "Priceline" "Marriott" and "preferred partner." They do have some kind of agreement with each other. I don't know the wording of the agreement, but I do know from other online documents that the two somehow have a financial interest in each other. While still a gamble, here is one strategy I successfully used:

I looked up on the Marriott site all the Marriott Hotel brands, did a little research on which of those Marriott brands are in which bidding areas in the place I wanted to travel, and bid in those areas. (If there were defined bidding areas close together, and only one had Marriott brands, I would bid in the area that had the Marriott brands.) I first researched (here) past winning bids at those hotels, knew about how much I was willing to bid based on what I wanted, and both times ended up with a Marriott brand. I wanted Marriott because 1) it is all non-smoking, and I didn't want to end up in a smoking room; and 2) from comments on this site, Marriott is comparatively amenable to giving us two beds versus one bed (though not guaranteed!) And while I read that the two hotel groups on Priceline can feature different hotels (ones seen in the "knowing the price and purchasing area" may not be offered in the "opaque bidding area"), I wonder if a Marriott brand hotel is advertised in the direct purchase area, will it also be in the opaque area?

I know it states strongly on this site that you should not begin bidding higher. However, if I was correct (unsubstantiated!) that Marriotts are given the right of first refusal, I was willing to begin with a slightly higher bid to obtain a more expensive "suite" level of a two star Marriott Brand, based on my unsubstantiated belief that Marriotts are given the right of first refusal. In Williamsburg, VA, there were two 2* Marriott Brands (that are suite based) in the area I wanted to bid, so I bid a little more with this in mind. I received my preferred Marriott suite, which includes continental breakfast (hot items) and a pool, just what I had hoped for. I knew it was truly a gamble, (I was still crossing my fingers after I sent my bid!) but it was like testing a hypothesis. I also know that if I ended up with something not so great, I would still be spending less.

Once again, totally unsubstantiated by any official source - however, I was successful based on my assumptions. If I like the hotels, I will be using this strategy in the future. I would love to see if any one else had similar experiences/thoughts? :)

Or am I way off base? :)

Link to comment
  • 4 weeks later...
Need help with your own trip?

Register now, we have a huge community of travel enthusiasts to answer any questions you might have.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account
Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
EXCLUSIVELY at BetterBidding:
5% OFF


(click here) and use

promo code

: BB5HTL23

(Express Hotels or most Pay Now Hotels / max $50 discount... expires 03/31/2023)
PRICELINE & HOTWIRE on one screen!
NOTE: Priceline searches for
Room %roomN%:
Age of child:
  • Create New...