If you hate paying retail hotel rates but need to know whether your lodging will be pet-friendly or have two beds, Priceline’s new Express Deals may be for you.
“We know some travelers are traveling with kids and need two beds or a pool or a gym, so we developed Express Deals over the last six months to help those travelers,” says Christopher L. Soder, chief executive of Priceline North America.
Unlike Name Your Own Price deals in which bidders know only a hotel’s star rating and neighborhood in advance, Express Deals reveal hotel amenities, star rating, neighborhood and guest ratings up front. Instead of bidding, customers choose the deal they want, pay for it and then Priceline reveals the hotel’s identity.
“I’m a huge believer in Name Your Own Price and I feel a responsibility to maintain it, but one of the reasons that we get great pricing is the opaque aspect. By keeping the Express Deals semi-opaque, Priceline can offer savings up to 45% off retail,” Soder says.
Although Express Deals are non-refundable, they are backed by Priceline’s Big Deal Guarantee. If you find a lower published price for your hotel, Priceline will match the price and give you $25.
Soder says the Priceline Negotiator iOS and Android app will be updated by the end of summer to search for Express Deals.
Tested: Although you can search for an Express deal from Priceline’s home page, I wanted to gauge prices so I began with a retail hotel search for a two-night stay in a hotel in Boston from July 3-5. Hotels ranked 3½ to four stars came up priced at $214 a night. When I clicked on Express Deals, four properties came up, one 3-star and three 4-star hotels priced from $156-$202 per night. Although the hotel names weren’t revealed, I could see the hotel rating, Boston neighborhood and amenities offered. I chose the four-star Boston Harbor Front property with indoor or outdoor pool, pets allowed and business center for $188 per night for a total cost of $444.06 including taxes and fees of $68.06.