Do you have a Priceline Problem?

Guess what, hoteliers? The Priceline customer is likely driving down your average review rating. I see it all the time when I train customers and we look at Revinate‘s Reviews Overview page. Priceline ratings are usually substantially lower than other review sites. And once we uncover this fact, the next thing I usually hear is, “Frickin’ Priceline customers. They expect a five-star experience on a two-star budget.” Sound familiar?

Should you blame the customer for expecting a great experience at your hotel and then giving you poor feedback when he is disappointed? I don’t think so. Rather, you should blame yourself for happily using the channel to sell extra inventory but then treating Priceline guests  differently than your other guests. The bottom line is that you can’t have it both ways.

I hear it all the time. “Why should someone paying $100 get the same room as someone paying $300?” Why? Because you decided it was OK to sell a room for a $100 and now you need to make sure that the customer is happy.  Daniel Craig talks about the Cycle of Positivity which applies here. A happy customer will lead to a great review which will lead to more bookings. An unhappy customer will lead to a bad review which will hinder bookings. It’s a simple concept, yet so easy to screw up.

So what do I suggest? When a Priceline guest checks into the hotel, be welcoming and transparent. I suggest you say something like, “Welcome. I know you didn’t specifically choose this hotel but I hope we can exceed your expectations. If you need anything or have any questions, please let me know. I have you in room 1012, which provides a courtyard view. Will that work?”

Upon checkout, remind the guest that he will be receiving a link to write a review on Priceline. Tell him that you hope he had a great stay and would be willing to share his feedback with others.

Care to differ? Let me know below in the comments section.

15 responses to “Do you have a Priceline Problem?

  1. I use priceline weekly. One important thing to note is that the priceline star rating system is based on amenites, not quality of service. So a hotel commonly rated at 2 stars may be rated at 4 stars by priceline.
    But i have experienced what you described above. I have been treated as a red-headed stepchild more than once. But knowing this, i try to be objective in my ratings when i submit them.

  2. I will never use priceline ever again. They are terrible! their customer service is non existant and they jipped me on my reservation. Meaning I made a reservation and a week before i was leaving on holiday I didnt have a plane ticket. They are terrible and no one should ever ever ever use them!

  3. Priceline is the worst page I have ever used!!! Their customer service is horrible!! it takes a long time to be able to reach them and at the end…. they don’t do anything about the issue. I bought a ticket and never got a confirmation, so i called and after a long time going thru the automatic system. it finally transfer me to a customer service representative and to find out that she could not find my reservation!! There were only 4 tickets left and she could not tell me if my card was gonna be charged and if they were gonna be able to refund the money if so. ugh!! this is so frustrating!! and I will never ever use priceline again.

  4. I will never use Priceline again. Used it last month for the first time just to see if it was any good in securing lower hotel rates. Got to my location and without asking was given a lower rate by almost $30.00 dollars. Called Priceline to see if they would credit my account for the difference….said no that I was offered a rate not offered to the public..Huh??? Isn’t that what Priceline asserts, if not why use them??? Learned my lesson….never again and will tell all my friends and relatives.

  5. Priceline customer service sucks! They double billed my credit card and won’t remove the charge. I disputed the charge with my credit card company and apparently this is a common event for Priceline. Anyway, 6 weeks later, I’m still arguing with Priceline as they disputed my dispute and now I have to start over again. After a lengthy conversation with another Priceline customer service rep, they basically told me to just to sue them as they we’re going to help. Unfortunately it’s not that easy to sue Priceline as you have to sue them in CT. Simply put, book direct and don’t use Priceline as they are very unethical and don’t care about you after the sale. Please feel free to post this anywhere you’d like as I have the evidence to prove my case. I even recorded my conversation with the Priceline customer service rep. DON’T USE PRICELINE!!!!

  6. Upon winning a hotel bid for $50, an additional $15.10 were added for taxes and fees to bring the total to $65.10. Upon check out, an additional $10 were charged by the hotel for taxes and fees because they said that Priceline only covered the room cost. The hotel told me to get in touch with Priceline and after speaking with 3 different reps, they were still not able to clarify what the $15.10 I paid to them in taxes and fees were for and why the hotel charged me an additional $10 in taxes and fees. I asked if there was a supervisor who could take a look at my account and make sure I was not being overcharded but they simply refused to by sending me to read the frequently asked queations section of their website and called the hotel, which I had already done. The total of taxes and fees paid to Priceline and to the hotel came up to be 50% of the room cost. This doesn’t make any sense and the Priceline reps did not seem to want to help review this matter. Very disappointing!

  7. The priceline sucks on not providing customer’s needs and on cheating customer without telling customer must pay for the difference should you ask for special/normal requests such as non-smoking, 2 doubles (or King).
    The customer service not helping at all. You have to call the confirmed hotel which is normally ask you to pay 50% of the price you pay through Priceline.
    – First, I did not get the chance to choose the room type I want (e.g. 2 double) at Priceline (I am not talking about bidding).
    – Second, priceline bedding policy does not mention about surcharge for the special requests (only mention the availability) such as smoking/non-smoking, room type. It should know whether the hotel has such surcharge or not in the beginning and give the notice to non-bidding customers first.

  8. I hate priceline, I booked a room through them for 2night stay so I could study and have alone time away from home. 30 minutes later it started time storm, I called to cancel reservations and they told me they couldn’t give me a full refund or change the date. So instead of letting the cash go to waste I went to stay at the hotel instead. I really wish I didn’t book with them

  9. With all these bad reviews, I worry everytime I use PriceLine. In the many times I’ve used PriceLine, I’ve never had an issue. I book through PriceLine because it always seems to be the cheapest site after comparing multiple site and prices on hotels.

  10. The comments above all refer to the way Priceline has treated the writers. I want to respond to the original post, which was directed to hoteliers, advising them to treat Priceline customers as well as they treat their direct customers.

    As a consumer and frequent traveler, I agree completely that it’s bad business to treat Priceline customers differently. If I think I’ll be treated as a second-class citizen, I am less likely to book through Priceline, and the hotel’s room (which they thought they’d have trouble filling or they wouldn’t have offered it to Priceline) will go unfilled, even at a cut rate.

    I’ve gotten some wonderful rooms at low prices through Priceline and Hotwire. I’ve also been treated poorly in terms of room type. At one huge chain hotel in NYC (no names, but it begins with the same letter as Hades), I got one of their notorious “Priceline rooms,” which are barely larger than a queen bed and which they reserve for discounted customers. At a property in a small NYC chain, which advertises that all its rooms are suites with a kitchen or kitchenette, I got a basic room the size of the bed (no kitchen), which the hotel’s website doesn’t admit even exists.

    If I think I won’t get the same room or service that I would have by booking direct, then there’s no point in my paying a lower price through Priceline. For the same money I can stay in a 2-star or 2.5-star property with good reviews and know I’ll be treated fairly.

    1. We absolutely agree that Priceline customers should be treated no differently than customers who book directly. Giving consumers a great brand experience, regardless of how they book, is the way to build a relationship with them. If the hotel does its job, it can win that guest’s business in the future, with the opportunity to have them book direct next time.

      Thank you for your comments, Tony!

  11. I will never use priceline again. Both times my airline schedule was changed after I purchased my ticket. This time they added a 13 hr layover in Detroit. They really are a horrible company. I also found out that if you buy your airline tickets through the airline itself, they are the same price or even in some cases a bit cheaper than priceline.

  12. Booked a room through priceline.com and did the option where they choose the hotel for you (cause I’m not independently wealthy and can’t afford standard hotel rates). The hotel (Extended Stay America) they chose was horrid, as just minutes after we arrived and just opened the hotel door a big drug bust (or something) went down: 8 cop cars suddenly appeared, a dozen or more police with guns drawn and yelling, chasing people down. Kids were freaked out, I was freaked out. Had to take cover in the back of the room behind cabinets… when it quieted down we busted out of there like Speedy Gonzalez and decided not to stay there. Priceline, nor the hotel, would give us a refund – absolutely refused and priceline CS actually put it back on us for choosing the “unknown” hotel option. This was after the front desk lady was rude to us on check-in because I asked for a two bed room (according to Priceline’s instructions). Add both companies to the places I won’t give my money to, any longer. What a horrible customer service branding example. If you’re on a budget, there are better travel companies and hotels to use.

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