PriceLine is a Good Thing. Austin has what is probably the biggest danged Motel 6 on the planet, right off I-35. Checking the site, the rate was about $45 a night, which is pretty good. Shelly suggested that I Priceline it just to make sure.
Shelly's an old Priceline junkie, so she knew all the tricks. The best method seems to be the following. . .
1. Make an absurdly low bid (I bid $20).
2. The system will pop up a red box saying "your bid is a mite low and probably won't be accepted".
3. Increase your bid until the red box goes away. I bid $25.
4. Priceline will then start churning away, sending your bid to local hotels.
5. If your bid isn't accepted, Priceline will come back with a bid that "will most likely be accepted". This seems to be Priceline's little "nudge nudge" way of telling you what the lowest available price really is. In my case, it suggested that I raise my bid by $6.
6. Re-bid the "nudge nudge" price.
By doing this I ended up with (after taxes and surcharges) three nights in Austin for $115. Given that the conference hotel's special rate was $175 a night, I got a pretty good deal. As a bonus, my room's at an Extendedstay hotel, which means that I get a full kitchen. So I'll save a few more bucks by being able to cook my own dinner.
Yeah, it's a cheapo thing to do, but I never really understood the concept of spending a lot of money on hotels if the hotel's not your real destination. For example, when Shelly and I used to go to Vegas a lot, we'd stay at the dumpy little downtown hotels that cost about $30-$40 a night. Some of our friends stayed at the Venetian, which goes for about $200-$250 a night. In both cases, we got a good night's sleep and a clean shower. By staying in the cheap hotel, however, Shelly and I got an extra $200 a day for playing-around money.
So that's my philosophy.