I’m all about scoring a great deal, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to compromise my standards to save a few bucks. Since relocating for a new job, I have been trying hotel bidding sites like Hotwire and Priceline. My initial intention was to save a bit of denero while sampling hotels in my new destination, however, this is turning into a very interesting experience.
Be aware of what you’re getting into – not every hotel or standardized star rating can be compared to personal experience. A four or five star anonymous hotel could end up being your personal hell, however, it also has the potential to be your wallet-cautious paradise.
All “bidding” sites require that you prepay for your reservation with absolutely no way of receiving a refund, other than citing a family death (in some cases you may feel inclined to use this drastic measure, I advise you to refrain due to karma). The hotel you “win” will be the hotel you’re going to stay at.
These money-saving sites operate on an anonymous basis, meaning you purchase your reservation based on star rating and location – you will not know the hotel name. While you may end up with a luxury four star property like The Intercontinental Buckhead, you are just as likely to end up right across the street at the DoubleTree. This is part of the bidding process. Take your accommodations for the price-paid. There is no such thing as “too good to be true,” you will not win an evening at The Ritz Carlton for $50.
Sites like BetterBidding.com offer alternative methods to bidding. Cheat the system by researching the likelihood of results. The primary anonymous sites (Hotwire and Priceline) are both registered to particular hotels – the list of registrations can be found on BetterBidding, an online anonymous hotel forum. For example; you can search 4-star properties in Buckhead, Georgia on BetterBidding and see what properties you would be likely to win prior to bidding.
Whatever your accommodation, I guarantee that it will be enhanced by the intake of alcohol. Skip the pricey mini-bar and opt for stopping at the liquour store. Utilize national retail options like Trader Joe’s to ensure a low-cost bottle wherever your destination may be.