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Old Jun 14, 17, 6:09 pm
Company Representative - AutoSlash and HotelSlash
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: |
Posts: 5,556
Originally Posted by newsmanhoss
I'm not a fan of the new system via priceline. I am able to get much better rates using discount codes on my own.

I'm afraid it appears that Autoslash just funnels customers to the priceline site.

All good things must come to an end, I suppose. The original Autoslash product was great while it lasted!
Maybe we need to somehow make this clearer on the site, but the rates are exactly the same as before. The only difference is that instead of referring people to the old booking system (a white-label product of Orbitz based on the ancient legacy Travelocity booking engine), we're now referring people to a different booking system (which happens to be Priceline).

Our data source for rates and coupons is still exactly the same as before, and everything about the referral links is the same. We find the same coupons and discounts and embed them directly in the booking links so you don't have to do anything but click on them and see and then book the rate we found.

To be clear, when we refer you to Priceline, we are not referring you to Priceline's regular, retail rates that you'd see if you search Priceline on your own. We are including the very same discount codes we used to include on the links to the old Travelocity-based system.

Trust us, we would have loved to have kept the old Travelocity-based booking system around forever. It was bulletproof (and basically a direct link to Sabre--which is not surprising, since it was created back when Travelocity was owned by Sabre). It was a dated design, but it was functional, and the grid definitely made for easy comparisons. Unfortunately, between the rental companies protesting about us booking their rates and Expedia's (now the owner of all of legacy Travelocity's systems) decision to sunset the booking platform product, all we're left with are the remaining OTAs. Frankly, yes, they all fall short in some manner or another...but what has not changed is our ability to find the best discounts and our commitment to helping you book them.

Originally Posted by Flying Machine
Saddened myself as well. Have been receiving emails and when you click to Priceline the location does not propagate if it's a non airport location. 600+ options were presented to me for PHL just today. Not interested in all the sorting by providers and locations and the drop down menu for selection is too generic.

I liked the old system was loyal saved me money and hopefully things will get better for AutoSlash going forward.
You'd think that Priceline, being the world's largest travel vendor, would have their act together. Unfortunately, we've discovered quite a few flaws in Priceline's booking engine. Depending on the rental company, Priceline seems to have some issues transmitting the discount, coupon, and/or frequent renter program number to the rental company's booking system. Sometimes Priceline overrides the discount code we send with their own, and in some cases, Priceline's system simply doesn't know about a given car class and so won't show it (for example, Priceline doesn't understand what a LFAR [luxury SUV] is). You're right about the geographic location issues, too.

We suspect that no one has ever tested Priceline's booking system quite like we have--certainly, it works OK for the 99.9% of people out there who never mess around with coupon codes or anything and are just browsing for rates. We're definitely putting it through its paces and demanding that it work effectively as accurately as a native GDS, and we're exposing a lot of weaknesses in their system that they probably had no idea existed. We've been in touch with their tech team and have notified them about some of the issues we're finding with their system, but the process of getting them to understand the issues, figure out the fixes, and commit to the development to fix them is not an immediate one.

And that's all just back-end broken stuff. That doesn't even touch on the user interface experience. Like we said above, the old Travelocity grid was great. An endless list of cars is much less efficient to browse through than a quick glance at a grid. But getting them to overhaul their entire UI is not likely to be successful.

And if you can believe it, Priceline is actually the least bad of the alternatives. All of the other OTAs we've tested are even worse. Some don't accept both coupons and discounts at the same time. Some don't accept coupons or discounts at all (!). Some don't work with local-to-local (non-airport) one-way rentals. Some just return junk rates. We chose Priceline as our first third-party site to refer people to because it worked the best (and yes, that is saying something). We're working on adding support for other OTAs, though not all rates will be bookable through those other sites due to the above-mentioned limitations (Priceline at least has the infrastructure to support all permutations of coupons, discounts, one-ways, locals, etc., even if their implementation is not perfect--the rest don't).

All of the above notwithstanding, our commitment to helping you book the best discounted rates is the same as it ever was. If something doesn't work on Priceline, all you need to do is reply to the email message with your quote and say you couldn't find the rate. We have a small but passionate team of deal-hunters (most of whom are long-time, experienced FlyerTalkers in their own right!) who will find a way to book the rate, even if Priceline doesn't support it. (And if you mention you're a FlyerTalker, we can speak FT-techie/geek to you. )

Long-term, we're very optimistic that things will get easier, between Priceline addressing some of their issues, the addition of other OTAs, and even some completely alternative booking channels that promise very attractive rates. One thing will always remain the same: our commitment to help people find the best discounts possible.
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