A few weeks ago, I decided to extend my already-lengthy stay in Orlando so that my wife and I could celebrate our anniversary at Walt Disney World instead of having to drive back home. The problem with this was that I wouldn’t be able to stay in the timeshare I had been residing in and would need to find another hotel. With this being an additional cost, we wanted to make sure we found a great location but also score a deal. This is typically when I turn to sites like Hotwire.com, which allows you to snag special offers on hotels but only learn the exact property you’d be staying at after you complete your purchase. Though I’ve actually become fairly proficient in doing the detective work necessary to get a sneak peek at what hotel I might be buying, I’ve actually discovered a site that makes that task a lot easier: Better Bidding.
As luck would have it, I had just heard about Better Bidding a few weeks before needing to utilize the service. It was then that I learned some of the cool features it had, such as giving you their best guess for which hotel a blind listing likely was. Granted, this Nostradamus-esque skill may not be available for each listing, but even the ability to view the various deals in a stripped-down configuration made finding the right deal fairly painless. Plus, beyond Hotwire, Better Bidding also allows you to view Priceline and Priceline Express on the same site (albeit via different tabs) so you can really compare offers easily.
If all that wasn’t enough, I was shocked to see that — at the time I was booking — Better Bidding listed a special promo code that would earn me an additional 5% off my booking. See, I had assumed that sites like Hotwire would actually be bitter about Better Bidding and yet here they were not only allowing them to exist but rewarding their visitors! Because of all this, I was able to nab a four-star hotel room for $86 a night (for four nights) and save an extra $17 thanks to the promo code.
One word of warning I’ll issue here is that Better Booking’s widgets don’t list resort fees, parking fees, or other expenses that can severely increase the price of your stay on their main page. That’s why, when narrowing down your choice, you’ll want to pop over to the actual listing to find this info as both Hotwire and Priceline Express will disclose mandatory resort fees before you book. Meanwhile, when it comes to parking, you may need to do a little extra research to see what the rates are at some of the hotels. However, if parking is miraculously free, this will usually be displayed under the full amenities.
All in all, I was extremely glad to have discovered Better Bidding prior to booking my stay. Although there are a couple of improvements that could be made to ensure you know about all of the fees you may encounter, using this site is certainly an improvement over the days when I’d have to open 50 browser tabs in hopes of finding clues about the hotel I was viewing. So, if you’re looking to find a deal on a hotel and are willing to give blind-booking a chance, I recommend starting your search at Better Bidding.
This article was first published on Money@30