4* Hilton London Heathrow 7/6-7/8 $80

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4* Hilton London Heathrow 7/6-7/8 $80

phdtop
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phdtop
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16 Jun 2012, 07:08 #1

I am almost ready to post a Bidding Request Form for a 2-night stay near London's Heathrow airport (it's a jet-lag recovery time before going on to the Continent). That zone allows bidding for everything up to 5 stars; it's the only zone near LHR that does. (Two others go up to 4 stars; the other two go up to 3 stars.)

On the "open" side of Priceline, there is only one 5-star hotel listed near Heathrow: the Syon Park Hotel. But that hotel is clearly located outside of the map Priceline has for the LHR zone on the "name your own price" side. The BfT Hotel List for LHR lists the Sofitel as a possible hotel, and that one is indeed inside the Priceline map.


I do NOT want to get the Syon, because it does not have an airport shuttle; a taxi would cost almost $50. Am I guaranteed not to get the Syon as long as the official Priceline map shows it outside of that zone?


I understand that the "open" and "own price" sides do not have identical hotels, but I think someone told me that the star ratings are identical on the two sides.


Thanks for your help, everybody!
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Sheryl
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Sheryl
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16 Jun 2012, 07:50 #2

You will not get a hotel that is outside the mapped area of the zone. The few times that I've known Priceline to make a mistake with their zones, the person got a refund. Yes, the quality ratings are the same. This is stated in our Hotel FAQ.
Please place all of your Priceline bids through our Priceline link.
Please check rates at Hotwire and make your bookings through our Hotwire link.
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phdtop
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phdtop
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16 Jun 2012, 08:28 #3

OK, it must have been that FAQ that I remember reading that in... thanks for reminding me...

Using the advanced rebid techniques, I bid for a 5* in the LHR airport (including all 5 of its regions, only one of which has 5* allegedly available) starting at $75, then increasing by $5 for each new combination. I eventually got to doing all 5 regions, bidding $150 -- all declined with no counteroffers.


As far as I can tell on the "open" side, Priceline has only one 5* hotel anywhere near the airport, and it's not the Sofitel that's listed in the BfT Hotel List as "possible". I'm not complaining about BfT -- quite the contrary! -- because the only 5* hotel in that geographical area is indeed the Sofitel. I'm complaining about Priceline allegedly having a 5* property to offer, and apparently no inventory in actuality for those dates.  What a waste of time!


To add insult to injury -- and for the amusement of readers -- let me point out that the infamous "median price" allegations in the yellow box (the one that tries to get you to bid quite a bit more than you usually need to bid) varied all over the lot -- 147, 167, 156, and eventually settled in on 145-ish. I know we're told to ignore this, and I do normally, but there is an implicit claim that if I were to bid more than that "median", I'd get SOMETHING!!! I think that's false advertising. And since Priceline must know what they're doing, it's probably some kind of fraud. It's suggested that I bid something under $145? And I bid $150? And I get nothing?? Sheesh!


Sofitel on its own website offers a price of $169 for those nights (matched by Travelocity) for its non-refundable "early rate". [ALL prices in this post are withOUT taxes and fees.] Given Priceline's service charge, my bid of $150 is pretty darned close to the same as Sofitel's public $169.


I know that no one on this site is a mindreader or a Priceline employee, but what the heck might be going on here? Here are the logical possibilities:


(1) Priceline is lying and in fact has no 5* hotel in the mapped LHR bidding region. (Unlikely. Almost ridiculous. Included for logical completeness only. But see below.)


(2) Priceline does indeed have a contract with Sofitel as its 5* offering at LHR, but only on the "open" side. (Contrary to fact; no search on the "open" side turns up the Sofitel for any of the dates I've tried -- only the Syon Park, which is not located in that zone.)


(3) Priceline has a contract with Sofitel, but only on the "own price" side. (Unlikely; I really should have "hit" by now if Sofitel provides inventory to Priceline at anything less than their openly available "early rate".)


(4) There's a mistake somewhere:
(4a) Sofitel signed up with Priceline but hasn't provided any inventory at any price, which Pline's computers don't realize?
(4b) Sofitel has no relationship with Priceline but Pline's computers are thinking of the Syon Park, yet refusing to give me the Syon Park because in fact it's not in the LHR zone?
(4c) Something else?


Help! Any ideas? I know the usual explanation of failed bidding up to near-publicly-available rates is lack of inventory, but Sofitel clearly has inventory, and lots of it, for those nights.
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Sheryl
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16 Jun 2012, 16:28 #4

Put your conspiracy theories aside. Just because there is retail inventory, that doesn't mean the hotel has given Priceline access to opaque inventory. You are blaming Priceline for what the hotel is controlling. You realize your dates are pre-Olympics and there will definitely be more reservations closer to the checkin date. That doesn't mean you won't be successful if you continue to bid but there are no guarantees.

Bottom line...calm down.
Please place all of your Priceline bids through our Priceline link.
Please check rates at Hotwire and make your bookings through our Hotwire link.
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phdtop
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17 Jun 2012, 19:38 #5

Good points, good advice. I'm taking it! Thanks for your help.

I will re-try bidding at the 5* level, and if that doesn't work, I'll bid for 4*.
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phdtop
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23 Jun 2012, 04:02 #6

I redid this whole thing on June 22 and got the same result: starting from $75 and working my way up using the advanced free rebid strategy, I got no acceptance and no counteroffers. I was going to top out at $150 as before, but decided on a whim to make it $155, but still no help.

I did succeed with a 4* bid (see separate posting).
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phdtop
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23 Jun 2012, 04:14 #7

On the hotels' websites, I found availability for these nights at the Sheraton for GBP 65 and this Hilton for GBP 107 (another nearby but off-airport Hilton was GBP 71). Accordingly I bid as follows, all at the 4* level:

LHR zone $55 -- decline
Add one free rebid $65 -- decline
New bid, do LHR plus the other free rebid $75 -- counteroffer for $90.


Added both free rebid zones and was accepted at $80. This is the first time in quite awhile that this Hilton was chosen; recently it seems to have almost always been a Sheraton.


This Hilton is the one at Terminal 4 that you can walk to. I'm looking forward to an easy transfer after a long flight.


The dates are quite awhile before the Olympics, so things apparently aren't getting crazy yet (whew).
Last edited by phdtop on 23 Jun 2012, 04:17, edited 1 time in total.
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KeenWink
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23 Jun 2012, 04:54 #8

I do find the Sofitel London Heathrow shown as a 5* hotel option by Priceline's VACATION PACKAGE product (for dates in February '13), however the same dates on Priceline's retail product list the Syon Park Waldorf Astoria as the only 5* hotel. The Sofitel is located at the LHR terminal and is clearly inside the mapped boundary for the LHR zone.

From this, I conclude that the Sofitel is not offering inventory to Priceline's transparent hotel-only retail channel, but is offering inventory as a transparent retail vacation package. Whether they make any rooms available on a particular date (or at any great discount) on Priceline's opaque NYOP channel remains unknown. They might be doing so, and suppressing the retail offering to improve opaqueness. Or it is possible that they do only occasionally, or for short-notice travel, and thus Priceline includes 5* as an option.

My guess is that it may occasionally be sold NYOP, because although the Syon has a 7/10 guest rating, the Sofitel has no rating shown on its vacation package listing, and that parallels the absence of any particular guest rating as a "guaranteed amenity" in the NYOP option.

I realize it's not the answer you want, but my best guess is that it is a possible win.

Which is probably why someone listed it as such in the BFT hotel listing.
Please place all of your Priceline bids through our Priceline link.

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Sheryl
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23 Jun 2012, 09:12 #9

phdtop, please always keep all posts for a single stay on one topic. This turned out to be a better deal than a 5*. Did you remember to bid through our link to Priceline this time?
Please place all of your Priceline bids through our Priceline link.
Please check rates at Hotwire and make your bookings through our Hotwire link.
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