Hotel Bidding Tools For Hotwire.com and Priceline.com Travel

I’m working on planning our next travel adventure, and discovered a few new sites to help people navigate “opaque” hotel price engines Hotwire.com and Priceline.com. In my 5-Step Guide to Finding The Lowest Rate For Hotel Rooms, I outlined the benefits of using database sites like BiddingForTravel and BetterBidding to gather information from successful purchasers to remove some of the mystery. Hopefully, these will help you even further.

BidGoggles
With Hotwire, you know the price, but not the actual name of the hotel before you commit. A while back, I pointed out the ability to figure out the hidden hotels behind the price on Hotwire primarily using the number of TripAdvisor.com reviews shown. Shortly afterward, they removed that description. The job became harder, but BidGoggles attempts to use all the smaller clues given to you in order to do the same thing again. Here’s how it works.

You provide them with the following: Star rating, Country, State, City, and Subarea (Neighborhood). Then you match up the little logos that show you what amenities the hotel offers, such as a fitness room, swimming pool, or free breakfast. The results have been hit or miss with me, although I found that it helps if you omit a few amenities if you get no matches. Hopefully their database gets better with time, although the site seems to have slowed down development.

The Bidding Traveler
With the ‘Name Your Own Price’ feature of Priceline, you have to bid auction-style for the price of a room, in addition to only knowing the general neighborhood and star-rating of the hotel. So you have to decide how much to bid on any given hotel quality level, as well as having to deal with the rules of how you can bid again if you’re initial offer is rejected.

TheBiddingTraveler has you choose your hotel’s neighborhood (“zones”) along with the highest quality star-rating you want, and then provides you with some guidance as to what your starting bid and your final offer (the absolute highest price you’d be willing to pay). Recently rejected and accepted bids are provided, along with actual hotel names. Finally, the website actually walks you through the “optimal” bidding strategy, step-by-step.

The main downside I noticed was that some of the accepted bids are sparse for some cities and can be a bit old, so again the quality of the database is very important. Happy travels!

Added: You can save another 2% or more with cashback sites like eBates ($5 new customer bonus), Mr. Rebates ($5 bonus), and BigCrumbs.

Comments

  1. Wow, excellent timing! Thanks for the informative article! I’ll be utilizing this tool with my upcoming trip to Ole Miss to see the girlfriend! Will you be posting a new credit card review soon? I’ll have my own for Marriott Rewards later this week. I’ve been raking in the bonuses for airlines and now I’m chipping away at hotel credit cards, it’s been a blast to say the least.

  2. I just used priceline and tried the name-your-own price option. I tried to book a 4-star hotel for $65/night, when my wife said, “You mamby pamby! Go lower!” I said, “I’m going $49.” Sure enough, William Shatner popped up on my screen detailing my accepted $49/night bid.

    Next time, I’m going to try even lower. I was very impressed. I also got 5% back from Discover (travel is the current rotating category), and 2% back through mrrebates http://www.mrrebates.com/?refid=429368 (that’s the referral link for this blog’s owner, not mine)

  3. Bidgoggles.com is easy to use and the most accurate hotel-revealing tool I’ve tried for Hotwire.com and Priceline.com. I just got the Hyatt in Palm Springs for $76/ night (via Hotwire). I double checked the price just now and the rooms are priced at $251 / night on the Hyatt website. A savings of $175 per night!

  4. Anyone aware of what the latest is on whether there is any difference between hotwire and priceline? Given that they are owned by the same company do they have access to the same inventory at the same price point? I did a lot of bidding (over multiple days) for a recent trip to London and came to the conclusion that priceline and hotwire were offering the inventory.

  5. Hotwire and priceline are not owned by the same company. hotwire is owned by Expedia, which also owns hotels.com and tripadvisor.

    priceline is its own company. I think they use Sabre as their sourcing, and Sabre is affiliated with Travelocity.

  6. Interesting point Tim. I don’t usually shop for hotels online, but I’m really interested in this Priceline biding idea.

  7. Yes – sorry I had it in my head that were owned by the same company without properly checking.

    Still the question remains whether these sites selling ‘unpublished’ hotel rates and just all pulling from the same ‘unpublished’ hotel fares database.

  8. I agree! biddingfortravel is an excellent resource and a must for anyone that plans to use priceline or hotwire!

    I wrote a similar article to yours a few years back and we share very similar strategies to getting the best deal on hotels, car rentals, and airfare!

  9. Has anyone done the hotwire car rental with success? Again it seems to be so much cheaper than knowing which car rental company, and surely less of a risk than with a hotel, I really don’t care if it comes from Hertz or Dollar. But is scary to take the no refund pay in full plunge now for an August trip. If anyone has done this, feedback would be great!

  10. MariaWilliams says:

    Don’t use Hotwire!

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