Saturday, 6 April 2013

Advanced Priceline Name Your Own Price

Following on from my beginner's tute on how to use the Priceline NYOP function, I thought that I would share with you a slightly more advanced use.
Basically, as you may recall, when bidding on hotels in Priceline's NYOP, you are bidding on unidentified hotels. You narrow your search by the following parameters:
city area;
star rating; and
price per night.

If you make a bid which is rejected by Priceline and you wish to bid again, you have 2 options:
1) wait 24 hours and you can repeat the exact same bid - i.e. dates, area, stars, price; OR
2) change something about your bid (dates, area or stars, not just the price) in order to bid again within 24 hours.
That's where this tutorial comes in. Recently, my sister was overseas and wanted to add on a night for a stay in Milan at the last minute. We had originally secured the Westin Palace, Milan by using the secret hotels function on Hotwire but I thought I would try Priceline to see if we could get the extra night any cheaper.
I knew from experience that on Priceline, the Westin Milan falls within its 5* hotels category and that it falls into the Northeast Milan zone.
That said, I went straight in and decided a low-ball bid of US$80 per night which once taxes and fees were added would be about US$100 per night.
In order to make this bid, I selected Northeast Milan, 5* and $80. It was rejected straight away as I thought it might be.

In order to determine which zones are rebid zones, I wanted to work out which ones did not have a 5* property in them so that I could then use them with the Northeast Milan zone to bid for a 5* hotel in the Northeast Milan zone. As you will see, in the image below, for the 8 zones that I have ticked there are no 5* properties available to bid on using the NYOP function.

Accordingly, if I am looking for a 5* hotel in the only zone that does have one, I can use these zones as free rebid zones to allow me to not change my star rating or dates yet still be able to bid within the 24 hour period. This meant that I was able to make 9 bids within 24 hours without changing the date or the star rating and still be guaranteed a hotel within the area I wanted (Northeast) because there are no 5* hotels in any other area in Milan available through this function. This was perfect with such a last minute booking.
I then closed out of Priceline and went back in again. This time I clicked on Assago and noted that the 5* field was greyed out. That means that Priceline does not have any 5* inventory availlable in that zone. I then also ticked Northeast as that is where I want to be. I upped my bid by $5 so it was an $85 bid before taxes and fees.
This meant that as far as Priceline was concerned I had changed something (area) about my bid so that I was entitled to rebid within the 24 hour period since my last bid.

I placed a bid for $85. Instead of a flat rejection, I was given a suggestion to bid again. I got this counter-offer to increase bid by $34 to $119 to get accepted.

I decided not to do that but to proceed with using my rebid zones to see whether I could manage to get a hotel at less than the $119 + taxes and fees counter-bid price. To do this, I again closed out of Priceline and went back in and this time I clicked on Linate airport and Northeast Milan, selected 5* and bid $87.
Again, I was rejected and given the same counter-offer of $119.
 Went out and back in and this time selected Milan Malpensa and Northeast and again 5* and this time bid $90.
Again rejected and again suggested that I increase to $119 for acceptance.
Added Milano Due and bid $95
Rejected again! They really want me to pay the $119 which is exactly what the express deal price is... I don’t think so!
Added Northwest Milan and went up to $97 per night
Again rejected and again suggested that I pay $119!
This time added Sesto and bid up to $100.
Still no luck! They really don’t want to budge!
So I added my last second to last rebid zone of SOuthwest Milan and went for $102 per night
Again no! Tight arses! I’ve come up $22 and they haven’t budged with their suggested price of $119 for acceptance!
Lucky last rebid zone (well not really, but I'll explain more about that below): DUOMO + NORTHEAST MILAN – $105. Not holding my breath but still kind of holding my breath!
 Finally got accepted – so glad I didn’t go all the way up to the $119 they suggested!
Offer Price:
avg. per room, per night
Room Subtotal:
Taxes & Fees:
Total Charged to Card:
Otherwise, I would have either had to just bid the $119 that Priceline counter-offered with if I wanted to continue to bid that day without changing my date or stars or change my date or star rating. As I wanted the hotel for tomorrow night, changing the date was not an option.
My sister also really wanted to stay in a 5* property so for me changing the star rating was also not an option.
In the end, after a little persistence it all paid off! I managed to get the Westin Palace for less than the counter-bid price and for about half of the retail price!
PS. I mentioned above that the last rebid zone was not technically my last rebid zone. That is because had that bid failed I could have ticked two rebid zones plus the Northeast Milan zone when making the next bid. For example, I could have ticked Assago Forum + Historic Centre (Duomo) + Northeast Milan and 5*. That would have tricked Priceline into letting me bid again within the 24 hour period because even though I had placed bids for Assago Forum + Northeast Milan and for Historic Centre (Duomo) + Northeast Milan, I had not placed a bid for all 3 at once.
If you have any questions about rebid zones, please feel free to ask them in the comments field below and I will reply as soon as I can.

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