Priceline (http://priceline.com) advertises itself as the place to get cheap flights. I don’t know about you, but my travel, mostly business, isn’t flexible enough that I can leave sometime between 5 am and midnight. You’d have to plan on a day to get to your destination and a day to get back, a poor use of your time.
But for hotels, I have found Priceline a way to get a better deal than just going to a standard travel website. The negative is you don’t know what hotel you are going to stay at until you “win” your bid. And you don’t get any hotel loyalty points. But very often you can get a decent room for half the conference rate.
The “trick” is knowing what to bid. That’s where the power of Web 2.0 comes in. There are two websites where users post their winning bids, which give you an indication of what various rooms are going for. They also have lists of the hotels you’d get if you win.
The other excess inventory site is Hotwire (http://hotwire.com). Like Priceline you don’t know what hotel you’ll get until you book it (although the betterbidding.com has lists of possible hotels). But instead of you bidding, they just show you what the cost will be.
Sometimes I get a better deal on Priceline, sometimes on Hotwire and sometimes a regular site like Hotels.com. It pays to shop around.