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I love using priceline.com to reserve family vacations, but I know that lots of families are apprehensive. They are concerned that it’s risky, or they aren’t entirely sure how to make a reservation. Some families don’t even realize they can get a Priceline rental car for their family vacation and aren’t comfortable booking Priceline flights. I had the chance to ask Brian Ek, travel expert at priceline.com, a few questions on how families can best use priceline.com. Here are his Priceline bidding tips to get family travel deals.
Priceline Bidding Tips
FTM: Why use Priceline?
Brian Ek: Family vacations are a large expense and can quickly add up, and that’s where priceline.com can be a resource. Priceline.com is for the smart parent looking to enjoy a quality vacation while saving money, whether planning a vacation in advance or needing a last-minute hotel, flight or rental car. Priceline.com also makes the reservation process online or on the mobile app easy for parents, offering hotel star ratings, customer reviews, and vacation packages at their fingertips. We’re truly unique in that we offer dramatically cheaper prices through our Name Your Own Price product where you can get up to 60% off by bidding on hotel rooms, and through our Express Deals product where you can get up to 55% off regular retail hotel rates without bidding.
FTM: What tips can families use to book hotels on Priceline? (Especially since the room type isn’t guaranteed. Should they book multiple rooms?).
Brian Ek: Families can reserve hotels on priceline.com 3 different ways – low retail rates, Express Deals and Name Your Own Price.
- If you’re looking to stay in a particular hotel, then you’re best option is to search our retail published prices and reserve a room that way. The room type is also guaranteed.
- If you and your family are flexible on the hotel room, you can score up to 55% off retail rates with priceline.com’s Express Deals. You won’t see the name of the hotel until after you reserve it, but you can pick the neighborhood, star level, amenities and more, including deals for only hotels with pools. Once you click on the room rate that’s most appealing, you can view the type and number of beds available, eliminating the need to reserve multiple rooms. Parents can see what they are going to get, and save a lot of money in the process.
- If you’re in search of even deeper discounts – up to 60% off retail rates, you can bid on hotels using Name Your Own Price. If you win the bid, you receive the full detail of your travel itinerary after you reserve it. TIP: Here’s a tip for bidding using Name Your Own Price – find the lowest Express Deals hotel bid being offered, then take an additional 10% off and use that as your Name Your Own Price bid. Chances are you’ll get a room. If not, no harm done and you can always go back and make a reservation using Express Deals as well. You can also visit priceline.com’s Hotels page and check out Winning Bids for inspiration.
For families who may have travel plans go awry and need to reserve a last-minute hotel, priceline.com’s mobile app offers two services that can help:
- Tonight-Only deals are last-minute, highly discounted hotel deals that you can reserve same day. You can also view each hotel’s customer satisfaction score and guest reviews. TIP: These deals are posted on the app from 11:00 a.m. local time until 11:00 p.m. local time, or until they sell out. We upload new inventory daily, exclusive to the app, saving you up to 50% or more on 800 hotels for day-of reservations.
- Deals Near Me provide an easier way to find hotel deals near your current location or within a few miles of your destination on the iPhone, giving parents a stress-free way to research and find both the best location and deal.
Parents should check out priceline.com’s Family-Friendly Hotel Guide by city (found here). Priceline.com surveys thousands of actual hotel guests every day to find out which hotels are the best for family travel.
FTM: Any specific tips for booking airfare and rental cars?
Brian Ek: Families can also reserve airfare on priceline.com 3 different ways – low retail rates, Express Deals Air and Name Your Own Price.
- The best option for some families may be searching retail published prices since it allows parents to have the most control over the flight carrier, flight times, airports and availability. When choosing travel times, there are certain times of the day that afford better rates due to less volume and traffic, based on our data around flights. TIP: Families with some flexibility will find the most affordable seats departing early in the morning (5 to 7 a.m.) or late evening (after 8 p.m.). Mid-day (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) is a bit more expensive, but still reasonable. Most expensive are the peak business travel hours (8 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.).
- If flexible on your flight carrier options and the time of day to travel, you can score an average of 20% additional savings off of the lowest retail prices via priceline.com’s Air Express Deals available only on the mobile app. Prior to making your reservation, you can choose your departure windows, number of connections possible, and maximum potential connection hours. Specific itineraries for Air Express Deals are displayed after you make the reservation.
- For families on a budget and looking for the lowest flight deals, try bidding for savings up to 40% off retail rates using Name Your Own Price. Simply enter the details of your travel – desired dates, airport and number of travelers – and then bid on your airfare. TIP: Here’s a tip for reserving flights using Name Your Own Price – with airline tickets, try bidding 20% below the typical published fares.
PRICELINE.COM RENTAL CAR:
For families who often need larger cars and storage space, priceline.com’s rental car inventory offers competitive rates on SUVs (full-size, premium, mid-size, and standard), minivans and full-size vans, in addition to economy, compact and mid-size cars. And, for families looking for a more luxurious car, whether for road-tripping or just getting around, priceline.com has a new offering called Fun Rides – an extensive lineup of luxury sedans, convertibles, hybrids and more available for renting.
Regarding priceline.com’s inventory of rental cars, families can reserve a car 2 different ways – published retail rates, and Name Your Own Price for up to 40% off retail rates. TIP: When reserving rental cars via Name Your Own Price, you first choose the location, car-type and price. Then, try bidding 20% below the published rates. As with hotels, you can visit the Rental Car page and look for a section called Winning Bids for inspiration.
FTM: What about [vacation] packages?
Brian Ek: You can certainly reserve hotel, airfare and rental car components individually, but we’d recommend that parents reserve a priceline.com vacation package. TIP: Typically, when multiple travel products are bundled into a package showing only one price, an airline, hotel or rental car company will allow their product to be sold at a deeper discount, since that discount isn’t revealed in the price. These packages can save you time since you’re booking everything together, and also save you hundreds of dollars, so they’re worth checking out!
So there you have it – Priceline bidding tips from an expert! Visit priceline.com to book your family vacation.