Bidding for Travel

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I’m a big proponent of shopping around for hotels at races.  I obviously stay in a lot of hotels. I’m not really sure what a retail price of a hotel room should be, but they are sort of like diamonds, you should never pay retail, rooms are always discounted.

Hotel room prices have went up quite a bit recently.  This Labor Day weekend is a case and point.  The Gateway Cup is the first time I ever used Priceline to get hotel rooms.  It probably was 10 years ago, I booked 4 rooms for my team at a Doubletree in Westport for $19 a room. So it was only $76 a night, plus taxes and fees, which can be substantial.   It was almost ridiculous.

I’ve been checking for rooms for the next three nights.  I sort of have turned into a hotel snob somewhat, so normally check out 3.5 to 4 star hotel.  And these are the hotels that are discounted the most, so that works out fine.  The cheapest hotel at Hotwire was $46, which was a 1 star near the St. Louis airport.  I had been waiting for a 4 star hotel downtown, which showed up three days ago, but disappeared since.  I wasn’t that big on staying downtown, but it is close to a couple of the races and is new territory.

When you keep checking back, you need to clear your cookies each time or the websites know you’re looking and the prices increase.  You can pretty much figure out what hotels Priceline or Hotwire will give you if you use Bidding for Travel or Better Bidding websites.  You go to the hotel lists at these sites and it shows what hotels are used by what sites.  These sites are key to knowing what hotel you might get.

At Hotwire and Priceline, they show if the hotel is pet friendly.  I figure out what hotel I’m going to get, then go to the website to check on the pet policies at the hotel.  Hiltons, Doubletrees and such are the best for pets.  It is a hassle worrying about taking your dog in and out of a hotel during a race weekend.

I got a 4 star hotel in downtown St. Louis, the St.Louis Union Station Doubletree, for $57 a night, for a total of $215 after adding $43 for taxes and fees.  So it turns out to be around $70 a night.  When you go to the website, the cheapest room is $169, plus taxes, so it is probably around $120 a night discount.  I’m not who pays that amount, but you don’t have to.

The race isn’t until 9:15 tonight, so there is no rush today.  Leaving mid afternoon, to try to miss traffic in Kansas City and St. Louis.  Hopefully it will all go fine.

priceline_negotiatorjab_800x600 (1)

The Doubletree looks like a pretty nice hotel.  Historic.

The Doubletree looks like a pretty nice hotel. Historic.

Tucker's look when you tell him he can't chew on your cycling shoes.

Tucker’s look when you tell him he can’t chew on your cycling shoes.

8 thoughts on “Bidding for Travel

  1. Rob Bell

    If you are using Chrome as your browser, you can open up a New Incognito Window (in the file menu) when you are searching, and that won’t use cookies. Not that its too difficult to clear cookies, but this still saves a few seconds.

    Incognito windows are also helpful when you are looking at autotrader, amazon, or really any e-commerce site. Without going incognito, you’ll see advertisements for whatever products you were searching for on nearly every website you go to afterwards (facebook is the worst). With an incognito window, you don’t have to worry about seeing those ads afterwards.

  2. Ted

    Like the commercial says – Trivago – searches all websites and shows you the prices for the same room. I like them the best because shows you websites (such as or Kayak) that I would never usually use and the prices. European (German) company so customer service is great also.

  3. Max

    Find a room using the search engine of your choice, then call that hotel and ask if they can beat that rate. They pay substantial fees to these online travel agencies and most times they will give you an even better rate and are still able to be more profitable……A hotel owner is who actually clued me in to that.

  4. Barb

    You can also set up your browser in “settings” and then “show advanced settings” then “privacy” and you can set it up permanently to clear the cache and cookies every time you close the browser…then no tracking or ads will be embedded when you set it up that way.

  5. cboss

    Trivago is owned by Expedia. Expedia also owns, Orbitz, and Travelocity + hundreds of other similar sites so it’s just a way for them to conveniently obtain your business. Max’s advice is the word. Hotels pay 15% – 27% per booking to companies like Priceline/Booking/Expedia, etc. So, you know hotels have that margin to work with when you contact them direct.


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