Priceline: Pros & Cons

priceline-startI am a super travel nerd, TripAdvisor is my Mecca. But sometimes I want to save money and not obsess about the finer details of my hotel. I am taking a very short trip to Austin, TX for some business. I arrive very late at night and just need a place to crash for one night.¬†Today, I used Priceline for the first time. I’ve been a fan of The Shat for a long time but now it was time to trust him. Here is my experience:


Location – I wanted to stay downtown as it makes the most sense for my day in Austin. I should have paid a little more attention at this step because their definition of “downtown” was not what I expected. They have a map to the right, not pictured here, that depicts what each area covers. In reality I was 1.5 miles from downtown Austin, it is my fault for not studying their map better in this step.



Star level selection¬†– I have never believed that star level, which is the level of amenities but is confused with quality, is very valuable. For example, not having a pool lowers a hotel down one whole star, regardless of the quality of the hotel. In this case, you must select a star level. I chose 3 at first but went back and chose 3.5 stars, because there is a little green “best deal” icon that convinced me to go up a level.



The bid – Based on the fact that $184 was the average rate for downtown Austin (I confirmed this with my own research), I bid $100 – because if I can’t pick the actual hotel then I want a big deal. My thinking was that if I can’t get a 3.5 star hotel room near downtown for $100 then I would move to picking the hotel based on reviews from TripAdvisor. I didn’t expect my bid to be accepted.



The result РThe bid was successful, the Doubletree hotel normal rate is $169 (before tax, confirmed by my research), I got the room for $100 (before tax), a savings of $69 or 40%. Wow, I am very happy with the results. The hotel reviews are good, the location is good and the savings is impressive. I would recommend Priceline to others in similar scenarios.

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