I needed a room near the airport for an early morning Saturday departure, preferably with breakfast included. So I looked up Express Deals, and found that my usual favorites in Mission Valley/Hotel Circle were probably going to be way too expensive. There was a good deal for a 2.5-star in Old Town, however, which included free breakfast and free internet in room: $175 marked down to $84, saving 52%. The $175 was suspiciously close to the $179 at the Fairfield in Priceline's open reservation area, with equal stars and amenities; the only discrepancy was that the open customer ratings gave it 8.8 out of 10, and the ED only claimed 7. This was underpromising, and of course it's completely legal. (But you can't fool us BfT'ers, Priceline, nosiree! )
There are no free rebids at this star level in the San Diego region, so I had to be able to get a room with my first bid, or maybe only 1 or 2 additional bids after waiting 24 hours each time. So I decided against my usual strategy of underbidding and hoping for a counteroffer, then adding less than the counteroffer via free rebids. This ran the risk of an overbid, but probably not by much.
After going back to click on the Priceline link on this site, I decided to start at $75, and (obviously) I got the Fairfield right away. The San Diego hotel list here on BfT said that the Fairfield was the only 2.5-star to have "hit" in this region in the past, so it wasn't exactly a surprise. What was (maybe) a surprise was how quickly the tides turned.
Right now, only a few hours after this successful bid, the open price has gone up to $189, and there are only 5 rooms left!!! Moreover, searching for EDs in this region now returns NOTHING for a 2.5-star. My confirmation page tells me my $75 bid saved 58%, and the math works out: (179 – 75) / 179 = 58.1%. Of course, now that the price has gone up to $189, I'm saving even more.
If I hadn't "hit" at $75, I would have had to wait 24 hours, and then quite possibly my good deal would have disappeared. Lucky, I was! I'm not a hotel professional, but I do like to pretend to figure out what is going on. What I learned here is that some hotels will have quite good deals (close to the reservation date) even if they have fewer than 10 rooms left. Naively, I would have assumed that when inventory gets that tight, prices go up across the board and getting a room via a Priceline bid becomes impossible for that night at that hotel.
Thank you, BfT! And Priceline, too, of course.
Thank you for placing your bid through our link to Priceline. Based on the rating discrepancy you mentioned, I hope this isn't the same hotel as the Express Deal. It also proves that Express Deals shouldn't be your only pre-bidding rate checking source.
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