Priceline has introduced a new product called Priceline Express Deals. This new feature is different from the Name Your Own Price bidding scheme that disrupted the travel industry by allowing travellers to bid on a hotels. Now, Priceline’s new feature, Express Deals, gives travellers more information about their hotel (such as hotel amenities) before they book their hotel and doesn’t require bidding – the price you see is the price you pay.
What is Priceline Express Deals? The simplest way to explain it is that Express Deals works similar to Hotwire. Travellers get to see certain information about their hotel before they buy, but the actual hotel name is not revealed until after they buy. Here’s what information is known about a hotel in advance of purchasing:
- Hotel zone: As far as I can tell, these are the same bidding zones as used in Priceline’s Name Your Own Price
- Hotel amenities: Amenities such as on-site restaurant, business center, swimming pool, etc. are shown in advance of purchase. Like Hotwire, Priceline shows freebies travellers love such like free breakfast, internet, parking, and airport shuttle service. They also tell you if the hotel is pet-friendly or not.
- Star rating: For example, 3 stars, etc, as well as guest satisfaction score. For the star ratings, they appear to be the same as Priceline’s Name Your Own Price (ranging from to 2 to 5 stars, plus reorts). The guest satisfaction scores are on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.
- Price: Unlike Priceline bidding that many travellers are used to, this new feature tells you the price in advance.
How is Priceline Express Deals different from Name Your Own Price: First, for those who like bidding (myself included), the good news is that Name Your Own Price is not going away. Priceline will now offer both methods of booking a hotel. Therefore, it’s good to know the similarities and differences between these two booking options. Similaries:
- You don’t find out the name of your hotel until after you book. Also, reservations cannot be cancelled or changed. This hasn’t changed.
- Hotel ratings are the same.
- Hotel bidding zones are the same
Differences: These two booking methods are fundamentally different in that with the new Express Deals, you get to see your amenities before you purchase and the price is fixed. There is no bidding involved.
How is it different from Hotwire? Fundamentally, there aren’t a lot of major differences but there are a few smaller differences worth noting:
- Different amenities: Hotwire and Priceline show a couple of different amenities. For example, if you’re travelling with pets, you’d want to book using Priceline’s Express Deals over Hotwire because they show you pet-friendly hotels.
- Maximum occupancy: With Hotwire, you can specify how many travellers will be staying in the room and you’re guaranteed to ged bedding to accommodate that many people. With Priceline Express Deals, you don’t specify the number of travellers. On some hotels, you’re given a bedding choice (e.g., 1 king or 2 queen beds). However, if you read the fine print, Priceline still indicates that “all rooms will accommodate up to 2 people” and that special requests cannot be guaranteed by Priceline. I’m not sure if this was something left over from Name Your Own Price that they forgot to change over, or if, even with 2 queen beds, you’re only guaranteed a room for 2 people maximum.
- Filtering by area: With Hotwire, you can specify the area or zone that you want to stay in and only see hotels in that particular area. This is great when you want to only look at hotels near the airport or a certain part of town. With Priceline, there doesn’t seem to be a way for you to filter or select specific cities. When I do a search for hotels in Las Vegas, as an example, I get a mish-mash of hotels throughout the city. Not a big deal but a nice to have.
Here are some additional tips:
- If Priceline bidding is not your thing, why not give Express Deals a try? But do your comparison shopping first. Check out Hotwire and other sites to see what similar rooms are going for. Also be sure to use the Priceline hotel lists to help get an idea of what hotel you might get.
- If you’re travelling with pets, it’s definitely worth it to look for a pet friendly hotel versus Priceline’s Name Your Own Price.
- Don’t forget that Priceline reservations cannot be changed or cancelled after you’ve made your reservation.
- At the moment, Priceline is still saying that the hotel room will accommodate a maximum of 2 people.
Have you tried Priceline Express Deals yet? Why not tell us what you think by joining the Priceline Forum and sharing your thoughts on this new method of reserving hotels. Alternatively if you have specific questions about Priceline Express Deals, feel free to get in touch with me by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Resources: Priceline Express Deals Topic Discussion