BOOK: "Priceline.com for Dummies," by Sascha Segan (Wiley, $19.99)
TARGET AUDIENCE: Travelers seeking suites in the Hilton at Super 8 prices.
In familiar Dummy-series style, Segan walks novices to Priceline.com through the basic steps required to nab a room at a four-star hotel for as low as $45 a night (and the equivalent in rental cars and plane tickets) on the popular bidding site. As the author correctly points out, the risks of using the site -- such as winding up in a crummy hotel -- are minimal. And the savings it offers far outweigh its main disadvantage: not knowing what hotel, car or airline you are getting until you have already paid.
The book also helps those familiar with Priceline squeeze it for better deals. Among many good tips:
To get the lowest price, check what booking agents like Expedia.com and Hotwire.com are charging, then offer less.
Before bidding, check www.biddingfortravel.com and www.betterbidding.com, which list deals snagged by other Priceline customers.
If your bid is rejected, start anew using a different name, such a traveling companion's, with the same credit card.
Although Segan tends to repackage the same tips in different chapters, the book offers enough useful info that users will almost certainly recoup its cost many times over.
-- Gary Lee