Even though you might have a corporate travel policy against Priceline or Hotwire, I've made it an annual affair to see how much I can beat ISM's negotiated conference hotel price by (which is ironic, considering you would think that a procurement focused non-profit would try to negotiate and drive the hardest bargain it could). This year, I just didn't see why I'd splurge and spend $229 or $249 for the Hilton San Diego Bayfront with the potential for "Blood Stains, Mildew, and Dirty bed sheets" when I could find a better deal myself. And find I did.
After a few minutes of browsing the options, I chose the 4½ or 5 star (depending on the guide) Se San Hotel on Hotwire for $101 per night. Sure, it's about a 10 or 15 minute walk to the conference. But with the money I save, I could cab it each way and buy drinks for a dozen or so people each day -- or simply take in the great San Diego air and save my pennies as I stroll to a hotel that Trip Advisor ranks much higher than the conference digs (a full star higher, in fact). I hope others are motivated to consider Priceline and Hotwire as options in the future, compared with ISM's negotiated rates (which for two years have proven to be 70-100%+ higher than what I've found). Alas, maybe I'll miss snapping photos of the blood stains and mildew, but I won't lose much sleep over the fun of writing up such an experience given the money I'm saving my firm.
- Jason Busch