I’m going to start a new series of posts based on my favorite links around the web and reasons why. I’ll also include them on the links page for handy reference.
A reader was asking about Priceline so I will start with that web site first. Conveniently I also saw the Priceline ad below in the MTR that evening.
Priceline is a great place to get a hotel room on the cheap. The catch is that you don’t know exactly which property it is and where it will be located. Usually, the best deals are for 4* and 5* properties who have extra rooms but don’t want to advertise cheap rates to offend any other guests who are paying more, or in some cases, much more.
I won’t elaborate too much on the ideal bidding process process since these site have their own FAQs…but here’s a quick rundown for Priceline.
- Don’t know exact property (but looking at the above forums you can usually see which properties are offered at accepted bids and quality levels)
- Location unknown (but Priceline does allow you to pick areas to search within cities, and some areas don’t have certain quality level hotels, allowing ‘free bids’)
- No refunds or changes (be certain of your travel dates, otherwise you’ll lose all your money, but Priceline is a great tool for bidding last minute for both the customer, and hotels who have extra rooms.)
- Bed / room types (usually will be a standard room, I never really had an issue with getting my bedding preference….just call the hotel once your reservation is accepted to see if they can block a room or tip and be nice to the front desk agent when you check-in)
- Cannot accrue loyalty points (with all the money you’re saving, it’s better than getting points. But if you have status, some properties will give you your status benefits on Priceline rooms)
I don’t see much of a difference between the HK site and the US site, except that it’s easier to bid with the US site since the currency matches the forums.
In general, if you’re looking for a hotel room in a major city, check the forums in the links above and see what prices different hotels are going for. You can give it a shot, and if you don’t get a room via Priceline just book it normally. Also, don’t book the Priceline room too early, maybe only a few weeks prior at the earliest.