Take “The Negotiator” on the road with the new Priceline app for the iPhone

I’ve been a huge Priceline fan ever since I scored my first $20 five-star hotel room back in 2001. The ability to “name your own price” and hope for the best may seem scary, but after your first couple of rooms, you learn to have faith in “The Negotiator”.

Up until now, accessing Priceline required a desktop or laptop, or a lot of patience on a mobile browser. Thankfully, iPhone users can now download the free Priceline app for their device.

The application is very slick – you can complete the entire booking process on your phone, using the name your price feature. Best of all, the app makes it very simple to locate nearby properties, ensuring you don’t end up with a hotel 40 miles from where you actually wanted to be.

If you have used Priceline in the past (on the web), you’ll instantly recognize the process. If you have never used Priceline, all you need to know is that you can’t pick an exact hotel when you name the price you are willing to pay. The only two things you can request are the star rating and the location.

This location is based upon a region Priceline specifies. For a city like Chicago, the map is split into eight different areas. Each area is mapped inside the application, so you get a general idea where you could be staying.
To start the booking process, you pick your star rating, check-in date, number of rooms, and of course the price you are willing to pay. Priceline gives you a number they think is the “average”, but you should obviously try starting a little lower. After providing your name and a credit card number, the Negotiator starts looking for your hotel room, at the price you gave them. If accepted, you’ll have a reservation. If not, you can re-bid, but the process gets a little more complex. I recommend reading our “mastering Priceline article” to learn the best way to utilize your free re-bid.

If you’d rather not gamble, you can book hotel rooms the old fashioned way. In fact, the Priceline app has a very competent regular booking system built right in. Like any mobile hotel booking application, you pick a location and get a list of all the hotels in that particular city. You can then filter the rooms by rating and location.

The hotel listings provide quite a bit of information – you can locate them on a map, read about their amenities and read customer reviews. To book, you can click to call the Priceline reservation line, or make a booking directly in the application.

All in all, another very well made iPhone app. Programs like this are what make the iPhone such a travel friendly device. If you are a fan of the Name Your Own Price method of booking, you’ll love how easy it is to book within the program. The application is free and can be found in the App Store (iTunes link). Even if you don’t want to gamble on naming your own price, you can use the application as a great hotel finder.