If you know how to play the Priceline game, you might be saving a ton of money on your travel digs. But there is a technique, and there are plenty of forums, like BiddingforTravel, that share tricks to gaming the bidding system. CNN recently spoke to the founder of BiddingForTravel, Sheryl Mexic, who shared some tips to winning hotel bids.
- Priceline is the best choice for US hotels. Sheryl says Priceline is a better deal than Hotwire because "Priceline will accept a bid at their cost or higher and their profit comes from overbids," and Hotwire generates profits by building them into their set prices.
- Detecting a hotel on Hotwire. One attractive feature of Hotwire is that it lists hotel amenities, which makes it easier for consumers to figure out which hotel it is. Users can use BidGoggles, which is a free tool that will help you figure out which mystery hotel you're looking at on Hotwire. It does this by combing through data submitted by Hotwire users and matching up the hotel with information that you have plugged in.
- Figure out if you should go with conventional booking. If where your hotel is located is very important to you, you might want to book it through the conventional means instead of booking blind. Remember that if you're booking through Priceline, you'll only be guaranteed double occupancy, so you might end up with one bed. That's something to consider as well if having two beds is important. Hotwire, on the other hand, allows you to name the number of guests rooming with you.
- Rebid smartly. In Priceline, if your bid isn't accepted, you get the option of waiting another 24 hours to bid again or changing some details such as star rating, zones, or dates. CNN advises to "re-bid a higher amount adding zones that only offer hotels at lower star-ratings than you've selected."