The company that allows you to name-your-own-price for airline tickets, cars, mortgages and home equity loans has just made it easier for travelers in the U.S. to find an affordable hotel room online. On Monday, Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) announced the launch of its enhanced hotel service. Now it is possible to name-your-own-price and make reservations over the Internet for hotel rooms in all 50 states, including more than 1,100 cities, towns and resort destinations across the United States.
Priceline.com’s hotel service prompts users to type in the city or town where they want to stay. As with the company’s other services, their enhanced hotel service then allows travelers to name their own price. Travelers also have the option of selecting the quality of their hotel, based on a rating of one to five stars.
After the user chooses the location, star rating and price, Priceline searches its databases of more than 4,250 participating hotels to find a hotel willing to except the traveler’s price. Travelers receive a yes or no response to their room request in one hour.
More Options for Travelers
Priceline first launched its hotel service in 26 markets in October 1998. Since then, the company reports that its system has experienced tremendous growth. The company has added more than 2,500 hotels and 550 destinations since December. They have also worked to make the system more friendly for visitors by decreasing the number of screens required to submit a reservation request and replacing their bulky pull-down menus with an easier-to-use interface.
The company has added several other upgrades to their hotel service, including detailed maps of several cities and a “smart find” feature that will help travelers find acceptable alternatives if they are unable to find a room in their requested city. If no hotel rooms are available in a city, the service will try to recommend other locations and even provide driving distances .
Another nice feature is Priceline’s automatic room upgrade. If Priceline.com finds a hotel with a higher quality rating willing to accept the traveler’s price, they will upgrade the room automatically.
In April 1998, Priceline launched its service enabling consumers to name their own price for leisure airline tickets. Each day, around 4,000 airline tickets are sold through Priceline’s service. In the past two years, the company has branched into services enabling consumers to name their own price for cars, hotel rooms, mortgages and home equity loans.
Priceline.com’s patented e-commerce system (U.S. Patent #5,794,207) was invented by Walker Digital, an intellectual property laboratory in Stamford, Connecticut, where Jay Walker, Priceline.com’s founder, serves as chairman.