If there’s one area that always seems to cost too much when it comes to traveling, it’s definitely hotels. Now, the hotel industry defends the practice of high rates from time to time, claiming that it’s really the only way that they make money. After all, it’s not like the hotel really sells anything else except rooms — and it costs money to keep those rooms looking clean and inviting — and expensive. The more amenities and features that a hotel offers its customers, the more expensive that hotel is going to ultimately become for you. However, it’s not like you have to deal with the high price of hotels all the time. In fact, there’s a sub-industry of the hotel business that is determined to get you the best deal possible.
One tactic that gets thrown around is the best rate guarantee. Is it really all that it’s reported to be? We decided to find out.
According to super travelers — you know, those types that seem to always be on one trip or another — the best rate promise is one that can be a nightmare to collect on if you happen to end up paying too much for the same room if you find a better price elsewhere. When you can go onto Expedia, Hotels.com or Hotwire, it can be hard to really figure out where you can really find a great deal.
Some chains require you to fill out a lot of paperwork just to make the claim, while others are happy to see proof and then refund the difference or offer other perks for earning your business.
It’s a tight wire act that can pay off, but it can also cause a lot of problems for the hotel units. If you think about it from their perspective, you’ll actually find that they really struggle when it’s time to get someone into the hotel as it is — there’s a lot of demand. If they didn’t offer and uphold their own best rate promises, people might choose another brand. Competition is incredibly fierce in this industry, and it pays to shop around for the best deals.
If you find that you can get a better price elsewhere, it never hurts to call the hotel and see if they can extend you the same rate — without the paperwork. Sometimes a gentle hand actually gets the job done without the hassle and fuss — but you’ll need to make sure that you move quickly.
It cannot be stressed enough — you don’t want to get angry because there’s a difference of 5-10 dollars between rooms on different sites. You might be able to win other perks by not making a big fuss out of it — like being upgraded to a nicer room without having to shell out even more money for the privilege. It’s happened before, and it can definitely make you feel like a rockstar when it does.
Overall, do best rate promises and guarantees work across the board? Not really — it’s really up to the chain in question. If you’re lost for answers, you might want to check with a travel forum before you book at that strange boutique hotel that you’ve always wanted to visit — it might cost you more than you bargained for.