Thursday, April 5, 2012

Priceline.com STRESSED Me Out

 
In mad dash last minute trip to St Louis, Mo this past weekend, I decided I would tryout Priceline.com.  I had heard great things about the website, and saving loads of money, so I gave it a shot.

Here is the scoop, Priceline.com does initially save you some major $$$$ off your hotel room, and you can score some pretty snazzy rooms.  However, you have NO SAY in the style of room you get, how many beds you have, or really anything to do with the your stay. 

My Priceline Experience…
A gal pal and I needed a last minute hotel room in St Louis for 2 Moms, 2- 8 year old girls, and 2-4 year old boys.  Simple we need 1 regular room with 2 beds, and we would prefer something a with a pool.  I skipped on over to Priceline.com found a 4-star hotel near Forest Park in St Louis for $45 a night, with an indoor pool….sweet!  So I thought!

In the fine print on Priceline.com it says:

  "All rooms will accommodate up to 2 adults. Requests for bed types (King, Queen, 2 Doubles, etc.) or other special needs (including preferences for smoking or non-smoking rooms) should be requested through your confirmed hotel and cannot be guaranteed."

Okay, I did read this, but my thought is you make your reservation, call the hotel and they will accommodate your needs!  Our needs were simple we had 6 people and needed 2 beds in our room. 


Well after 3 ½ hoursof being on the phone, talking to 2 different hotel managers, 2 different Priceline employees, my needs were accommodated at the cost of an extra $30.  We were upgraded to king suite, and they threw in breakfast in the upgrade, an unneeded add on, but better than sleeping 6 people in 1 bed! 
Cha Ching….there went my sweet bargain, I am now at $75 for the room, but it gets better!

Saturday afternoon we arrived at our hotel, get our room key, and head up to our room to discover after spending 3 ½ hours on the phone, agreeing to pay an extra $30 we are now in the EXACT type of room we requested.  A regular room with 2 queen size beds….but wait I had been charged $30 for my upgrade, so here we go again. 

After another 30 minutes of my time wasted, I was now refunded $10 of that $30 upgrade fee, but had no breakfast.  Well whatever, I was to the point I did not care what happened, Priceline.com had STRESSED me out! 

By the time I had checked out of my hotel, I truly saved $0, I paid $45 for the room, $20 upgrade fee, and $15 for parking….Hotel Cost = $80.  The same price as if I had booked the Drury who offered FREE Breakfast and FREE Parking.  

My REAL Thoughts on Priceline.com….
I think the concept of Priceline.com is GREAT, you can score terrific bargains, but it SUCKS for traveling with a family.  I will return to gathering deals elsewhere, using Tripadvisor or Expedia.com for family travel, and save Priceline.com for when I am traveling solo, or when the it is just the hubby and I.

I think Priceline.com could revamp their website, add in the option to note that you are traveling with kids, have a disability, or prefer non-smoking.  I realize that the idea behind Priceline.com is to get super sweet deals, but I did not get any deals if I had to continue to pay the hotel to meet my accommodations!   

Thanks Priceline! 

~Becky

1 comment:

  1. Becky: Sorry to hear of your bad experience on Priceline. Lots of my friends share very similar stories...which I feel bad as many try Priceline based on my many sucesses with it. You mention a key point to using Priceline (or Hotwire) in that you have to be flexible with your room choice (and hotel for that matter). Although I can reasonably predict the hotel, the room is impossible.

    About half the time we are upgraded, which is great for us. Rarely are we in a room with two doubles; although this is what Priceline says you will get, hotels have the fewest number of two doubles and they are the most often booked by full-paying customers. Thus, the Priceline customers get upgraded.

    Smoking has never been an issue. Almost no hotel today allows smoking anyway, and those that do, have very few smoking rooms.

    I learned to never call in advance as the hotel or company will not assist a Priceline customer, as you learned the hard way :( rather I address any needs when checking-in, and I almost always am taken care of. Cribs, 1 king bed, and so on are always easy to get when checking in. I have never paid a fee for any additional service or upgrade.

    Did you check-out a site like www.betterbidding.com? There are others like it as well, but they offer advice, tips, and info on predicting what hotel you'll win on both Priceline & Hotwire.

    Hopefully you can give the bidding another try - I consistantly get great deals!

    -Adam
    @adamsommer

    ReplyDelete

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