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How far in advance should I bid on Priceline?

By AlmondBuzz on Mar 13, 2010

I have a theory about this. 2-6 weeks in advance is the best time to book. Earlier than 6 weeks and the hotel is going to want to sell their rooms through other avenues. Any closer than 2 weeks and the hotel is full or near capacity. Anyone needing to travel within 2 weeks is going to pay the asking price.

What does everyone else think? how far in advance should I book my hotel room on priceline?
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By Echie07 on Mar 14, 2010

Thank you very much for sharing your theory! I wish I had one to share back, but I have yet to try using priceline (more of a hotwire user)...
But I hope more people will weigh in with their experiences!
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By SteveB on Mar 30, 2010

It's hard to know for sure whether it's better to bid early or later.

Obviously if there is a major conference, concert or event in the city that has a large draw of out of town visitors, early is better. Similarly, the season you travel will make a difference. Holidays and summer time, booking early is better.

Shoulder and off season - you can probably wait until 2 weeks prior. Many hotels don't offer last minute discounts (like airlines do) because there is a lot of scheduling involved in last minute hotel stays - extra chamber maids, laundry staff, and so on. Hotels don't like to pay staff overtime. Plus, being short staff means rooms aren't cleaned soon enough = unhappy customers = bad reputation and reviews = bad business.
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By Hope16 on Jul 11, 2010

However, people have reported being able to use Priceline the day of to get a hotel room at a savings when, for example, stranded at the airport. That would probably not work when EVERYONE is stranded at the airport but it does show that there can be inventory very close to your travel date. Of course that is not the recommended time to bid, normally...but if you've got a cancelable reservation and you want to try to get a better rate, just keep bidding until the last minute!
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By skudy on Jul 11, 2010

I've gotten good day of purchases on HW and PL .
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By kt320 on Jul 18, 2010

I generally start to bid as soon as my airfare/train/bus ticket is booked, but start low in my preferred zones and gradually work my way up 1 or 2 dollars at a time. Once its down to 2 weeks, if I haven't had a win, its crunch time and I look at upping my max bid and/or adding other zones. Having said that, I have also won within a few days of travel when deciding to travel more last minute.
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By randy on Jul 18, 2010

I remember watching a 5-star hotel in Portland on Hotwire for about 5 or 6 days. The price kept going down and down and was an amazing deal. (It got down to something like $80/night in the peak of summer.) Then when I finally went to pull the trigger on the purchase, the hotel was no longer available :-(

It was a last minute thing and I ended up staying at the Holiday Inn out by the airport instead. :oops:
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By party_boy on Feb 28, 2011

skudy wrote:I've gotten good day of purchases on HW and PL .

I've gotten great deals the day before and the day of. In fact, one time I purchased a 3* room for 48 dollars the day before from a rebid and when my roommate and I needed an extra room, I got another for 42. Either I overpaid for the first room or the hotel reduced their rate the day of.
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By SteveB on Apr 15, 2011

party_boy wrote:
skudy wrote:I've gotten good day of purchases on HW and PL .

I've gotten great deals the day before and the day of. In fact, one time I purchased a 3* room for 48 dollars the day before from a rebid and when my roommate and I needed an extra room, I got another for 42. Either I overpaid for the first room or the hotel reduced their rate the day of.


As long as you're flexible on location, the later you reserve your hotel the better. The day before usually works for me.
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By aria1 on Apr 18, 2011

I agree with the 2-6 week rule. I've received much better prices if I book in that time slot. Priceline thinks that you are desperate the week of, and won't let their hotels go for a cheap rate. I've tried it and was disappointed on the day of.
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By oceans_end2003 on Aug 16, 2011

SteveB wrote:
party_boy wrote:
skudy wrote:I've gotten good day of purchases on HW and PL .

I've gotten great deals the day before and the day of. In fact, one time I purchased a 3* room for 48 dollars the day before from a rebid and when my roommate and I needed an extra room, I got another for 42. Either I overpaid for the first room or the hotel reduced their rate the day of.


As long as you're flexible on location, the later you reserve your hotel the better. The day before usually works for me.


thats my thought to, I book on the same day I need the stay through the phone app... I would think 2-6 weeks out they hotel wouldnt give as great of discount since they can wait awhile to see if anyone will book from their own website for full fare.
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By byeloe on Sep 21, 2011

The hospitality research report on how Hotels can maximize revenue, suggests that if hotels happen to be following this model then the best times to bid are 8 days in advance and 3 days in advance.

I can't upload the report since it is PDF but it's a Cornell University Hospitality Report
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By SteveB on Apr 29, 2012

I agree with Byeloe about this. While I haven't read the report, I have enough experience with Priceline and Hotwire (both) to know that bidding anywhere prior to 3 weeks in advance is not that great. You're not going to get the best deals until around a week before.

Anyone who is looking for a hotel right now should try it for fun. What's a better deal on Hotwire? The hotel that is 8 days from now (whenever you're reading this) or the hotel that is out 30 days or 45 days? My guess is the 8 day hotel.

Afterall, even Hotwire advertises that their Hotrates are excess hotel rooms. So why would the hotels sell off their rooms to too early at deep discounts? my opinion. It is better to book last minute on hotwire and Priceline than to book early.

What do others think?
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By josephsam627 on Feb 02, 2013

The price was slightly above my maximum and it was on a cheapie airline. The plane didn't pass inxpection at Burbank airport and the airline put me on a sister plane which left from LAX. I had an hour to get there during rush hour. They had to hold the plane up for me.
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By Stewie on Apr 28, 2013

Hi Steve. I can say from experience that it's definitely not better to book early. There does appear to be an optimal time, and it seems like the closer you get to your travel dates, the better. Of course, it's a risk, a gamble. I tend to use a back-up plan -- book something that I can cancel if I find a smoking deal elsewhere as I get closer to my travel date. I highly recommend this.
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By sandralow on Jun 14, 2013

There is not write answer to how far in advance you should book on Priceline. It really comes down to two things. First, whether you need a particular hotel room, location, amenity, and dates or are you entirely flexible. If the latter it makes sense to not bid until later because you will always get better deals as you get closer to your travel dates. In most cases, this is true but there are sometimes when you might want to book earlier.

on the other hand, if you need to be assured certain attributes for your travels, you would be better bidding on Priceline earlier so you have the amenities you need and you can relax and not worry about such things.

For me, I tend to book my travel early and then follow rates periodically. I know a deal when I see one and I grab it. I try to get a goo deal which won't always be the best deal. Kinda like trying to time the stock market.
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By iceboi on Jun 20, 2013

My understanding is that hotels already book a number of 3rd party Rooms to be booked in advance already. So when those rooms sell out that hotel is no longer eligible for that time period for bid winnings. My advice is to bid right away the moment you have your plans set in motion. You do not want to be left stranding or even have to pay a full set price. Saving $1-$10 shouldn't be an issue as you are already saving up to 60% on Priceline bidding.
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By LovesVegas on Jun 29, 2013

iceboi wrote:My understanding is that hotels already book a number of 3rd party Rooms to be booked in advance already. Saving $1-$10 shouldn't be an issue as you are already saving up to 60% on Priceline bidding.


Totally agree with the last part. Saving a buck or 2 is rediculous, yet I find myself spending way too much time trying to do just that! It's addicitng

As for the inventory, Priceline is a bit more of a mystery because you can't watch and monitor prices and availability. But I know for Hotwire, that inventory changes (increases in fact) as you get closer to the travel dates, which indicates that people are adding hoteliers are adding their availability to Hotwire. Maybe Hotwire is different from Priceline?
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