Zach and I recently used Priceline's Name Your Own Price program and I had to pass along the details! We LOVED our experience with it and got the opportunity to stay in a 3 star hotel room that was SO SO much nicer than the 2 star one we had originally booked for almost the same price! I wanted to use it one more time before blogging about it and Zach did it again recently so we know a little more about the program.
You get to name your own price for a hotel and if they accept your bid then you get the hotel room for that price! We were able to stay at the Embassy Suites in Greenville, SC for $40 a night and when we got there the rooms were actually going for $219 a night!!!
HOW IT WORKS
Visit www.priceline.com, click on the "hotels" tab then the "name your own price" icon. You're able to enter in the city, dates, and number of rooms. The next screen then helps you narrow your location to a specific region and allows you to select the star level for your hotel.
After that info is entered then it comes the "trickier" part. You then enter in the price you are willing to pay for the star level you selected in the area you selected. My brother called me and had gotten the deal for the Embassy Suites so we just entered the same price he did ($40) and were lucky enough to get the same hotel!!! You can enter ANY price you want but if it's too low then the website will warn you that your most likely not going to get one for that price.
Um...it's pretty obvious that you get to get an AWESOME hotel for WAY cheaper than you'd normally be able to get it! When we booked the room in SC we actually had already checked all the hotel deal websites and booked the cheapest room we could find. It was a Knights Inn (reallly crappy) for $34 a night. We paid $6 more a night for a MUCH nicer room!!! Totally worth it :) On top of getting a great deal the whole experience gives you a rush. It's super exciting to enter a price and then be surprised at where you get to stay!!! And knowing that the hotel is guaranteed to be the star level you chose means you know you'll be somewhere nice.
While it's super fun and a great deal there are downsides. Once you enter that price you're willing to pay then you are locked in at that hotel. IT selects the hotel FOR you (based on the location and star level) so you can't be very picky. For example we weren't able to find a room that allowed dogs. We just had to enter the price and hope for the best (it didn't allow dogs so we kenneled them instead). We were told, however, that ALL 3 star hotels have refrigerators and microwaves so we at least knew in advance that we'd be okay there!
It also is really only a great deal if you're traveling very soon from the time you book. The closer to the date of travel then the more likely the hotels are to be willing to give rooms for cheap since they know they probably won't get filled. I plan in advance so we won't get to use this deal very often (in this case it was a funeral situation so it was very last minute planning). It IS great though for Zach as he travels often for work and he can just book a hotel the day before he leaves!
When Zach went to use it recently for his business travel we did learn another downside. If you enter a price and no hotels will take it then you have to wait 24 hours before you can enter in another price for the same star level and location.
Also once it matches you with a room it calculates the taxes and fees. When we stayed in SC the $40 a night did NOT include the tax or fees which made the room actually cost more per night. We stayed 2 nights and got charged $16 for fees and taxes so that really made the room $48 a night. Still a GREAT deal and totally worth it but I wish they could tell you the fee amount up front so you'd be able to figure that in when you name your own price.
While there are downsides to using this program, we love it! Overall it IS cheaper than other sites around. Zach booked his hotel recently in the Atlanta area for $40 a night and all other hotel websites (including the regular Priceline site) had the same hotel (which was the CHEAPEST in the area) for $79 a night! I highly recommend using this program, especially if you're a last minute traveler!
Have you tried this out before? Any thoughts or things I didn't include???