Have you ever looked at Hotwire or Priceline and wondered if you should just "go for it" and put in a bid for a hotel room and accept a hotel without knowing which one you would be staying at? I was very hesitant to try it, but, eventually, decided to see what I could come up with. For a long time, Hotwire would only let you blindly accept a pre-determined price for a hotel property without knowing which hotel you were actually getting. Of course, the number of stars, approximate location and some amenities were listed, but not the hotel name. Now, you have the option of paying a higher price for the actual name of the hotel, although the prices are still a bit lower than what you would normally find. I have used Hotwire four times by blindly accepting the hotel without a name. Three out of four of those transactions ended up being very positive and great deals. The fourth was not so great and I ended up having to get another hotel after already paying for the Hotwire one. Epic vacation fail on that one! So, I thought my lesson was learned as I'm not a risk taker.
But, I decided to give Priceline a try with the name your own price. I liked this option because I could put in the number of stars I wanted and really low-ball the price. If they accepted it, good for me. If not, I would go back to the drawing board. I ended up with a terrific deal: $49 for a three and a half star downtown city hotel. So, all went well and I would definitely try it again. I do have a few caveats for the best way to navigate through the pitfalls of getting a good deal that I will detail in a later post. In this post, however, I really wanted to highlight a site that I have used extensively to help me narrow down the possibilities of what hotel I would actually be getting before hitting that submit button.
The website is called Better Bidding at www.betterbidding.com. It boasts that you will learn some secrets of successfully using Hotwire and Priceline including Priceline hotel lists and winning bids, Hotwire amenities, and hotel reviews. There is a forum where users can list which hotel property they are thinking of bidding on and see if anyone else knows which property this would be. It makes it much easier to narrow down what the possibilities are based on the amenities and stars listed. If there are two four-star hotels listed for a certain area you might be able to differentiate which one is which based on the the hotel description. The forum will give you a lot of valuable insight into the experience that others have had bidding on the same properties. Check it out and you might be a bit more inclined to try one of these budget-conscious travel bidding sites.
For more travel ideas, visit: http://travelingkidsonthego.blogspot.com/