In this strategy, the expert knows how to completely exploit the Priceline rules and get a quality hotel room for the lowest possible price. He also waits until the day before or the day of his visit in order to maximize his savings. In addition to the area information used by the journeyman, the expert also does research on other Web sites besides Priceline.
For example, as has been already established, there are seven “free bids” for a 4-Star Deluxe property in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and the winning price should be between $75 and $150 since the lowest retail price in the area is the Hilton Baltimore Convention Center for $229. The expert calculates this info just like the journeyman.
However, before starting to bid, the expert goes to betterbidding.com, which lists winning Priceline bids. He checks the section on Priceline bidding in Maryland and as of March 23, 2009, sees 4-Star Deluxe wins for $72 (Hilton), $72 (Hilton), $72 (Hilton), $75 (Inter-continental Harbor Court), $75 (Hilton), $75 (Inter-continental Harbor Court) and several other similar prices.
The expert knows that he is likely to get a room between $72 and $75 and it is likely to be the Hilton or the Inter-Continental. The day before his stay, he does a test in the morning to see low of a price he can get. He has seven “free bids” which gives him a lot of latitude. He bids $67, then $69, then $70, then $71, then $72, then $73, then $74 and finally $75. By this point, one of his bids should have been accepted.
If his bid is not accepted, he waits 24 hours and then goes the “exponential free bid” route, which is very time consuming but works nonetheless.
What is the “exponential free bid” route? In the journeyman strategy and in the expert’s test strategy above, we simply picked one area with a 4-Star Deluxe, then added additional areas without a 4-Star Deluxe property until there were none left. In this case, using the Inner Harbor gave us seven “free bids” for a total of eight bids. In essence we linked the first area with the second, then linked the first and second areas with the third, etc.
However, to keep us from “linking” all eight areas together, exhausting our eight “free bids” and to give us an exponential number of “free bids” we will do the following (using Baltimore as the example):
1) Write down the area where you want to stay:
5-Inner Harbor Area-Downtown
Then list the zones that DO NOT have 4-Star Deluxe properties
1-Baltimore-Washington Airport (BWI)
2) Make a list using the Inner Harbor and one area
5-1; 5-2; 5-3; 5-4; 5-6; 5-7; 5-8
3) Make a list using the Inner Harbor and two areas (Note: digits CANNOT be repeated)
5-1-2; 5-1-3; 5-1-4; 5-1-6; 5-1-7; 5-1-8
5-2-3; 5-2-4; 5-2-6; 5-2-7; 5-2-8
5-3-4; 5-3-6; 5-3-7; 5-3-8
5-4-6; 5-4-7; 5-4-8
4) Make a list using the Inner Harbor and three areas (Note: digits CANNOT be repeated)
5-1-2-3; 5-1-2-4; 5-1-2-6; 5-1-2-7; 5-1-2-8
5-1-3-4; 5-1-3-6; 5-1-3-7; 5-1-3-8
5-1-4-6; 5-1-4-7; 5-1-4-8
So on and so forth
We will then bid on the Inner Harbor for $70. If the bid is not accepted, we close our browser, then go back to Priceline and bid $71 on zones 5-1 (Inner Harbor and BWI). If the bid is not accepted, we close our browser, then go back to Priceline and bid $72 on zones 5-2 (Inner Harbor and Baltimore Stadiums). We continue until we either get a room or hit our limit.