Over the past few years my wife and I have done a great deal of traveling. It’s mostly been to see our kids who have attended schools in cities nine hours away from us. One of the great skills I have learned in this time is how to get a great deal on a nice hotel. I have found out that you don’t have to stay in a low quality, sometimes seedy, discount hotel in order to pay a low price.
I have found quality (three star or higher) hotels in major cities for as low as $50 a night. And it’s not that hard to do.
Recently I’ve been asked how I do it. I figured if one person would like to know, lots of others would as well.
So here’s my “system” for scoring a great deal on a hotel at Priceline.com:
- Go to the Priceline web site.
- Do your research. Put in the city, the area of town you want to be, and the number of stars. I never put anything lower than three stars. See what the prices of those places are.
- From the list that comes up according to your guidelines, figure about 55-60% off of the median prices of those hotels. Or look for a specific hotel that you like, and use that price to take off 55-60%. Priceline says right there on the web site: “Save up to 60% on hotels.” Why not call them on it?
- Set up an alert. You can do it on the “my profile” page of your priceline account. Look for the tab “deal preferences.” Put in the information: city, area, stars, and price (the price should be the price you determined in the last step).
- Priceline will alert you by email when someone has scored your price according to the guidelines you set up.
- After you get that alert, go ahead and try it yourself. More often than not, you will get the hotel at the price that you want.
A couple of caveats:
- Certain events or times of year could effect the demand of hotels, and make your price higher than usual.
- If you don’t get the price you first wanted, don’t panic. After 24 hours you can try the same deal again. It helps to book your hotels a week or two ahead of time so that you have this luxury. However, that’s not to say that you can’t get good deals up to the last minute.
- At some three star (or higher) hotels you have to pay for parking. You may want to figure that in when you name your price. Even when we have paid for parking, the price of the hotel is lower than what we would have paid without Priceline.
- Priceline, of course, doesn’t tell you the name of your hotel until you get the deal. I’ve never found that to be a problem. Their star system is pretty consistent, and almost always leads to a comfortable stay in a very nice hotel.
Here’s to saving a great deal of money on your next trip. Please let me know how this system works for you, or if you have any “tweaks.”
What ideas do you have for saving money on travel expenses?