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Last Friday, Audrey and I spent our annual mother-daughter overnighter at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine.

I’ve used Expedia.com to book hotels numerous times. This time I tried Priceline.com.

What price should I enter? I definitely wanted nothing less than four stars, their highest rating. The Marriot and Hyatt was being offered on Expedia.com for around $99 a night plus fees. But not being able to know exactly which hotel I get when I bid on Priceline worries me. When you input your credit card, the warning that if “your price is accepted, it will be charged to your credit card immediately, no refund or changes” is a little scary. Still I decided to try Priceline because the Irvine/Costa Mesa area doesn’t have that many four-star hotels. I figured they can’t give me a really bad hotel, can they?

If “retail” is $99 a night, what would you hope to get that would be a good deal from Priceline? Well, I would be happy with $69. But to push it a bit, I entered $55 as my price for a four-star hotel in the Irvine/Costa Mesa area for Friday night, double, triple, quadriple checked the dates I entered since there are no changes allowed.

And…they accepted my price!

My first thought, “Could I have gotten it for less?? I should’ve bid $40!”

Ah, human nature, never content if your first offer is accepted! In the end, I paid a total of $68 plus change and was not disappointed with the Hyatt Regency. I think I came out well. Oh, there was $12 for parking.

With that said, I still think that next time I will start off lower. The worst they can say is no, and you can re-enter a higher amount. There is no embarrassment of haggling with a live person. It’s between me and the computer only. So what if I put in $10 for a four-star hotel? Would Priceline respond with “I am insulted. How dare you think you can get a four-star hotel for $10?” Would the computer kick me off their system, my name blacklisted from all internet booking sites? I usually like booking directly with the hotel because I can make last minute changes or cancellation, request special services, and not have to pay till I arrive. But there are advantages of doing business on the internet. There are no hurt feelings or embarrassment involved.
I might add that I booked the hotel four days prior to arrival date. Perhaps the hotels are more willing to accept a lower price if they have a number of vacancies and less chance of filling them as the day draws near.

I would use Priceline again.

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