“Name Your Own Price” for dummies
Bidding on Priceline with Name Your Own Price to get the best deal on hotels seems like a daunting task for those that don’t know how to do it but it really isn’t that hard. My goal for this article is to break it down into the easiest way with an example, screenshots and everything. After this you’ll be bidding on Priceline in no time!
- Priceline is a website that sells discounted everything from hotels, car rentals and flights. When you do a normal search for hotels on it you can get some decent deals but the tricks it to learn how to use the bidding tool called “Name Your Own Price”.
- I’ve been consistently able to find hotels for under $100 all around the world. My friends and I will use it exclusively to live on the cheap when we’re travelling and want to stay at hotels.
- Why not hostels you ask? Well if you’re travelling with a group of 4, often times the cost of the hotel split 4 ways is cheaper than paying for a bunk in a hostel.
- What’s the catch? Well the catch of course is that when you’re bidding there are 3 sections to consider: Region, Star Rating and Price. The correct combination of the 3 if accepted will land you a hotel somewhere that meets those criteria. Of course you don’t know what the hotel will be but there are tools that give you better odds instead of throwing a dart with your eyes blind folded.
- You’re allowed to bid multiple times in a day but the stipulation is that you have to change Price and one of lowering the star rating or adding one more region. The name of the game is coming up with as many acceptable combinations as possible before quitting for the day.
- If you’ve failed, keep trying. You can re-try from scratch every 24 hours.
Sample Hands On Scenario
- Let’s say I want to book a one room in Toronto, Canada for 2 from December 30 to January 1
- You’re looking to stay in the downtown core
- Go to Better Bidding. This is my favourite forum site that gives you a good starting point for what hotels are available via Priceline and at what average rate. This is basically a forum where people simply post what they’ve won based on certain criteria so it’s a massive database if you will. Search for your city of interest. In this case, Canada is in it’s own section and then further click into “Priceline – Canada”. You’ll have to use the search to narrow it to “Toronto”
- Things to focus on when you’re researching on this forum: (1) What is the average price people are winning for your region of interest. (2) What kind of hotels are people getting. From a quick browse of the 4* hotels, the lowest price seems to be $75 and the highest is beyond $100. Great so now we have a starting point. You can also look into some of these forum posts as they sometimes have a lot more detailed information about exactly all the steps they took to win.
- So what kind of hotels might we be interested in. Let’s say I’m okay with Downtown North and Downtown South. What’s next? Okay so back in the Canada subforum, click on “Priceline/Hotwire Hotel Lists and Tips for Canada” and then “Priceline Hotel List – Canada”. Scroll down to Toronto North and Toronto South and you’ll see a list of possible hotels that people have been winning. This list is as updated as the admin has done so. From my experience it’s pretty accurate.
- Now is your time to formulate a strategy. Where do you want to start, what is your max, and at what increments you are going to take (I usually do $2 or $5).
- Now that your legwork is done, time to dive into Priceline
- The first part is straight forward, enter in the details on the home page and click on “Search Now!”
- In the next screen, ignore the options that it pops up with and click on the baner on the right side that says “Name Your Own Price…save up to 60% off…”
- Start off with exactly what you’re looking for (Downtown South, 4*, $75) [in the screenshot i’m putting in $1 so I won’t win]. Fill in your name and click to go next.
- Sometimes you’ll get this screen telling you how ridiculously low your bid is to pressure you to bump it up. Click on “Skip this Page” and ignore.
- Next is a summary page. Make sure you don’t get the insurance. Enter your initials and click on “Continue”
- You will then have to fill out all your information including credit card. There’s no way around this because if you win…you have to pay. Subscribing isn’t a bad idea especially if you’re going to be doing multiple days of bidding. Also deselect to box that automatically subscribes you to their spam.
- When done, click on “Book Now”
- It’ll chug away and your first try will probably be a fail.
- Next iteration, add the other acceptable region you’re willing to work with. You will most likely not be flexible on the star rating so keep that the same. Bump up your bid by $2 or $5. Repeat Steps #8-#13.
- BIG SECRET: If you win, that’s awesome. Otherwise, let’s say you’ve run out of regions you’re willing to stay in but you want to keep bidding. Now here’s the secret I can let you in on. Most of the time you’ll be looking for the 4* hotels however there are a ton of small regions in a city that don’t have 4* hotels. So on the re-bid, simply slowly add these regions in. WHOA right? But how do we do that you ask? Well that’s when we turn back to our trusty www.betterbidding.com forum and back to the list of all the possible hotels for each region (shortcut here: http://www.betterbidding.com/index.php?showtopic=98&).
- Just off the top you can see that Brampton, Burlington- Oakville South, Lakeshore, Oakville – Mississauga South only have a max of 3* hotels. So on your next re-bid. Bump your price by another $2-$5 and add Brampton. Essentially you’re getting a free rebid on Downtown South and North 4* since any of the subsequent regions you add don’t even have 4* hotels.
- Keep doing this until you run out of regions.
- Try again in 24 hours.
Notes to Consider about Priceline
- Obviously a specific hotel can never be guaranteed
- Remember that there’s always a service fee and tax added so you’re not just paying Rate X # Nights
- Everything in USD
- There is no cancellation so if you’re bidding be sure that you’re actually ready to book and pay
- Double occupancy is guaranteed but if you’re looking to squeeze more people in you will either to research all the possible hotels in the region to see if the type of rooms people are winning can support more than two people and be okay with the risk that you may get a room that is only for two (i.e. 2 single beds commonly found in Europe)
- There is no guarantee that you’ll get a double bed or two singles but this is much easier to swing your way by either calling in advance or asking when you get there. Most front desk people are wiling to change that for you
Hope you enjoyed this Tips & Tricks article. Now ALL of you should be equipped with the tools, skills and knowledge necessary to do your own bidding on Priceline! Happy bidding!
If you have any more questions just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!