New Priceline mapping application helps you pinpoint hotel deals

Priceline this morning launched a new application called Price Maps, a service that lets you scroll over city maps to find the cheapest rates. If you’re looking for a bargain on your next hotel, this might be an interesting new resource.

I’ve been playing around with the maps, and they definitely add another dimension to the hotel shopping experience.

Price Maps are available for thousands of destinations, according to my Priceline contact. The zoom-able maps can be viewed in traditional “flat” format or satellite image, allow viewing from an entire city perspective, and they display recent winning bids for various neighborhoods.

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I pulled up hotel prices in Orlando, where I live, and was shocked to find how far the prices had dropped. I have a feeling the screenshot I’ve taken (above) will be laughed at in a few years because of its extra-cheap prices.

My Priceline contact explains how it works:

Most travelers have a good idea of the area of a city they want to stay in before they get to the hotel booking stage. Traditional hotel booking engines ask consumers to select a hotel before they can see a map of where it’s located.

Price Maps changes that whole process by allowing travelers to see the map first, with all the hotels, locations and prices laid out. From there, they can pick the hotel they want. I think you’ll agree that this is a much more natural process for hotel customers.

I agree. I haven’t seen anything quite like this, but it might be interesting to see how it translates for airfares, car rentals and even cruises. I’m sure Priceline is working on that, too.

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