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Priceline Retires Its Only Paid App, the One It Hardly Mentioned

@denschaal

Mar 13, 2014 9:40 am

Skift Take

It was refreshing to see Priceline publish an app that was a bit dicey and experimental.

— Dennis Schaal

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Priceline

Priceline discontinued its Hotel Pro app. In the quirky app, Priceline identified the hotels and displayed a rate, but after consumers paid for the stay, Priceline, and not the traveler, ultimately ended up choosing the hotel from among a handful of choices. Priceline


Priceline never really killed off The Negotiator, played by actor William Shatner, who plunged down a cliff in a bus a couple of years ago as the company decided to downplay its Name Your Own Price bidding feature, but now Priceline has definitively ended the existence of one of its apps.

The iPhone app was called Priceline Hotels Pro, and it was a paid app ($0.99), and the only app in the company’s mobile arsenal that Shatner and the company never really talked about.

Now, they won’t have to because it’s gone.

With the Priceline Hotels Pro iPhone app, users could find hotel discounts up to 45% without bidding, just as you can with the Express Deals feature that Shatner and Kaley Cuoco are touting all over the airwaves, but with Hotel Pro Priceline showed the user both the price and the name of the hotel up-front — albeit with a twist.

The Priceline Hotels Pro app would show the user the names of six hotels flashing across the screen for $156 per night, for example. The user could then choose to pay the rate, but after the transaction was complete then Priceline ended up choosing the hotel from among the six possibilities.

So the app was transparent in detailing the hotel name and the discounted rate, but only up to a point.

In fact, casual lookers would never know if the hotel was actually offering such a low-ball rate unless they made a purchase, would learn the hotel identity only after  the transactions were completed.

If hotels are reluctant to admit they were offering steep discounts off their published rates, then at least their caving in in the name of putting heads in beds was hidden behind a paid app.

Well, the experiment is merely history now, as Priceline has discontinued its experimental Hotels Pro app, choosing to devote its development resources to its core apps instead.

The Priceline Hotels Pro app had its fans, but didn’t apparently get the results that Priceline was angling for.

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