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Priceline Chops The Negotiator (In Other News, William Shatner is Looking for Work)

January 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

Scroll to the bottom of the story for an update on the Negotiator mobile apps.

For several years The Negotiator, aka William Shatner, had been the face of Priceline.com chopping his way through TV commercials and magazine ads showing off victorious defeats in cutting down hotel rates. But recently, the Negotiator himself got chopped.

Priceline is doing away with the Negotiator persona but fortunately, they are not doing away with their Name Your Own Price feature which we love so much. Instead, Priceline is putting their money energy into spotlighting the site's published rates. In the Wall Street Journal today, Priceline's chief marketing officer, Brett Keller, said the company wants the public to know "that you don't have to negotiate to save money on a hotel at priceline.com."

With that in mind, we decided to do a little look-see on Priceline.com today for a hotel in New York. We found the four-star Waldorf-Astoria for $261 a night for February 3-5. We found that same hotel on the same weekend at Expedia.com for $262. The hotel's website, meanwhile, was offering rooms for $299 a night. Although, there was an advance purchase rate for $239 a night offered as well.

We also found that Priceline was offering the Westin Times Square for $215 a night while Expedia had it for $199. Similarly the Dream Downtown was $179 on Expedia and $199 on Priceline. So as always, you still have to comparison shop and definitely keep using the Name Your Own Price feature to score even further discounts.

As for the future of The Negotiator, the WSJ reports that his "death" will be featured in a new ad spot:

The character will meet his death in a new ad featuring him coming to the rescue of a family whose bus is teetering on a bridge. While managing to shepherd the family to safety--and find them a hotel for the night--the character himself is unable to exit the bus. Future spots in the campaign will explore the aftermath of the crash.

That's actually kind of sad! But maybe we'll be seeing more of the Negotiator's ghost in the aftermath ads.

But one question that is still on our minds is this--What will happen to Priceline's Negotiator iPhone and iPad apps? We've got a word into Priceline on this and we'll update you as soon as we find out.

Update, 1.24.12, 3:19PM: We heard back from Priceline this morning and here's what they said regarding the Negotiator iPhone, iPad and Android apps:

“The Negotiator has been such a core aspect of our brand for the past five years that he is linked to many of our products. For example, his likeness appears in our popular Hotel Negotiator app for the iPhone, iPad and Android, which helps on-the-go travelers save on last-minute hotel rooms. While we killed The Negotiator in our advertising, a future decision on the use of his likeness in our apps and elsewhere has not been made.” – Brett Keller, Chief Marketing Officer, Priceline.com

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