Priceline Hotel Negotiator is a new free iPhone app that helps you find hotel deals on the go starring the Priceline spokesman, William Shatner. Launching the app plays the familiar “negotioator” jingle and then asks you to choose a city or simple find hotels near you by shaking the iPhone. As you already know, with Priceline, you place bids on hotels without knowing the name. You know the star rating and city of the hotel only. In the Priceline iPhone app you see a list of hotels with star ratings and average prices. Tapping any one of them takes you to a detail view where you can use the slider to place your bid “Name your own price” for the hotel, and tap the Bid Now button. You can then either log into your Priceline.com account or skip it for the time being. If you don’t have an account yet, you are shown a really long form where you have to fill in all sorts of personal information like billing address and credit card info, and your travel dates. Then tap “buy my hotel now” which will initialize the process of having Priceline looking for a hotel that matches your offer price and star rating.
Another way you can use the Priceline app is to browse the traditional way by hotel name in a specific area. From here you can filter hotels by popularity, proximity, star rating, price, and neighborhood. While in browse mode, you can either call to book your specific hotel or book online using Priceline. You can also check availability using a date picker, see it on a map, read hotel details, and read customer reviews about your hotel in the app.
As an added bonus the app contains a few travel related tools including flight status and flight deals, but the downside is these tools run on a website, which means the app just opens up a link to the iPhone optimized priceline website. On a positive note, the website has a link called App Home, which closes Safari and takes you back to the Priceline app. For your reference you can always use these webapp tools by going to http://travela.priceline.com/smartphone/ from your Safari browser. One issue we found was that when you close the app and reopen it, it does not remember the last hotel you were looking at, which can be a pain especially if you are using this app on the go. If the startup sound drives you crazy, you can disable it in the options menu. Overall a good free app for finding and reserving hotels through the Priceline system, and worth checking out given you already have or created a Priceline account on your computer beforehand.
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