Bid Low & Work Your Way Up
If you are using the Priceline Name Your Own Price feature for hotel reservations, there is a danger that you may bid more than you need to. In fact, many travelers in the Priceline Forum are often surprised that their first bid on Priceline gets excepted right away. This often leaves them wondering, "How much money did I leave on the table?" To get the most of hotel bidding, travelers need to determine the Priceline bid price, which takes a bit of research.
The basic premise is straight forward: bid low; use free rebids to work your way up; and know your maximum bid amount. Follow these steps to determine how much to bid and ensure you do not pay any more than you need to for a hotel reservation.
1. Find Out The Market Rate For Hotels: The purpose of using Priceline is to save money. Why else would anyone book a hotel without knowing the location, brand and amenities? The first step to better bidding on Priceline hotels is to determine the maximum you will pay. Check competitor sites such as Hotwire and other travel sites for similar hotels and travel dates. You can also check out the Priceline Forum to view actual winning bids prices from customers.
Use this amount to help determine your maximum bid amount. You should never bid more than rates on other websites for similar hotels. Typically, discount this by around 10%. As an example, if you can get a 4-star hotel in the Las Vegas Strip for $100 through a regular booking engine, make your maximum bid amount $90 on Priceline.
2. Determine Maximum Number of Rebids: Use the Instant Rebidding Technique to determine the number of Priceline bids you can make without having to wait the required 24 hour period. This step is absolutely critical because it will determine how low you should go with your initial bid. If you do not know how to instantly rebid on Priceline, you should learn the Instant Rebidding Technique before going any further.
3. Calculate First Bid Amount: I typically bid in $5 increments, so I reduce my starting bid price $5 for each rebid I have. For instnace, I know I have 5 rebids (6 bids in total), my bids would be as follows: Assuming a maximum bid of $90, I would start bidding at $65, then $70, $75, $80, $85, and finally $90. You can substitude $5 by any amount you want, but I find $5 works best. Now you are ready to go ahead and place your first bid for a hotel with Priceline's Name Your Own Price.
4. Increase Your Bid Amount and Submit Rebid: Assuming your first bid was not sucessful, increment your bid by $5 (or whatever you used in the formula to determine your first bid). The idea here is to crawl up through a series of rebids, increasing the price each time, until your bid is accepted.
Repeat The Above Step Until You Have No More Bids: Eventually, one of two thing will happen. Hopefully, your bid will be accepted. If not, you will run out of bids with none of your bids accepted. That is okay. Remember that in the first step, you already found out what you would pay for a room elsewhere. If none of your Priceline bids were accepted, do not book on Priceline. Just book elsewhere or try again at a later point in the future.
Hotel Bidding Example
Suppose I want to book a 5 star hotel in Las Vegas on a particular travel date. This section walks you through an example using the above steps.
1. Find Out The Market Rate: Since this is just a hypothetical example, I am going to say that the market rate is $100 per night for a 5-star hotel. If I were actually reserving a room, I would check out several sites including Hotwire and the Hotwire & Priceline Forum to determine the best deal I could get for a 5 star hotel elsewhere.
2. Determine Your Maximum Number of Rebids: Using the Instant Rebidding Technique, I learn that I can make 8 rebids in Las Vegas (9 bids in total) without having to wait the required 24 hour period.
3. Determine Starting Bid Amount on Priceline: The Forumla is: First Bid = Maximum Bid Price - ($5 x Max Number of Rebids) In my example, I'm using $90 as my max bid price. First Bid = $90 - ($5 x 8) First Bid = $50 I am now ready to place my first bid for a hotel on Priceline using a price of $50. This bid price might seem low, but remember, I have 8 more bids if this one is not successful. In fact, I prefer to have my first bid rejected as lets me know I'm not offering up too high a price on my very first bid.
4. Increment Your Bid Price and Submit Rebid: If the first bid at $50 was rejected, it is now time to rebid and offer $55.
5. Continue Reibidding Until You Have No More Bids: I will use $60 for my 3rd bid, $65 for my 4th bid, ... , and $90 on my very last bid. Hopefully somewhere along the line, one of my bids was accepted. If I get to $90 and none of my bids were accepted, I abandon Priceline and reserve my hotel room at the site that was offering a 5 star hotel for $100.
This is a technique for better bidding that I've been using for many years and it works flawlessly. Since I determine in advance of bidding (a) the price elsewhere and (b) the number of instant rebids I can do, I am able to determine a starting Priceline bid price and work my way up to my maximum bid. This approach guarantees that I never pay more than I have to. It is sometimes the case that Priceline isn't any cheaper than other websites. This is rare but occasionally I exhaust all my bids and still come up with nothing. In these cases, I simply move on to another website to make my reservation.
Additional Priceline Bidding Tips
Priceline Overview for Beginners: Travelers wanting to book a hotel on Priceline's Name Your own Price should star here. This article provides a basic overview of how it works for bidding travelers, and what pitfalls to avoid when bidding for travel.
Advanced Rebidding Techniques: Learn how to instantly rebid on Priceline for free, up to 8 times or more without having to wait the normal 24 hours.
Ten Priceline Tips For Better Bidding: Here is a quick summary of the best tips for saving money on Priceline and getting the hotel you want.
Priceline Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): This is a good article on additional Priceline bidding help. Some of the more common Priceline questions are answered in this section.
Priceline Forum: Join our forum and discuss Priceline bidding, find out how much others paid for hotel reservations, seek Priceline bidding help identifying a hotel, or discuss anything travel related.
Priceline Blog: More Priceline bidding help. This is a collection of blog articles written about hotel bidding on Priceline.