Maybe this is just me, but anecdotally this year I feel like the rates listed on an initial search at Marriott.com aren't even remotely matching up to what you actually see when you click through, which is extremely frustrating. I'm a platinum who travels extensively around the U.S. for work, and here's a typical example of what I've been finding recently, particularly in New York.
I'm trying to book a room in Manhattan from Oct. 11-15. Up pops the Times Square Fairfield Inn for $199/night. Sweet. Except then you click through, and the lowest rate listed is a $359 advance pay that changes to $404/night on Oct. 12.
Two problems with this, which I've encountered frequently in NYC:
1. Where's the $199?
2. Why does Marriott list the lowest rate for a room without making it clear that said rate is going to jump sometimes as much as 50 percent on night 2? Why can't the rate listed be an average, or why can't an average or range be listed in the search results to keep me from having to click on each one, just to go, "Oh, so it's $249 for one night and then $449 for four."
These things frustrate me.
I have had this too and it is annoying and takes time. The lowest - highest would be good. So that if the lowest in the range was $200 and the highest was $350, then put $200 - $350. In the past sometimes, they just charged the highest rate for the date range. I would find this out when I would make a change removing a day and the rate would drop for all the nights, add it back and it goes up again.
I have also found this to be a problem many times... But for example I have noticed that when staying four nights I get a better rate if I book four separate individual reservations rather than just one... Then when checking in the hotel will combine the four reservations into a single reservation and honoring the individual rates... Goof Luck...
The short answer evilhomer: no, it's not just you. I live in the 'weeds' of the pricing matrix and this and several other frustrating pricing challenges (like AAA or Senior rates being $30-50 higher than standard, the other examples listed above, two different AAA rates, and several other paradoxical pricing examples) have existed for several years. And of course, as many have already read from my previous "vents", don't even get me started on their "offers". These pricing quirks are to me what vacation club is to tef ! That's why our best weapon is the sharing of deals when we do find them (some excellent Christmas pricing going on mid-week in the DC properties) and warning each other of the headache producing pricing tactics as we cross their evil paths .
If you go to the FFI Times Sq page to make a reservation, put in your check in date of 11 Oct, and then check the "My dates are Flexible" box, you'll be able to see what the standard rate is for each night individually. So on the 11th, 12th, and 13th, the rate is $399, but on the 14th it drops to $299. There are no dates in Oct showing a $199 rate.
Not that it matters that much, because evilhomer's underlying premise is correct; but as he states, if you punch in October 11-15th for New York, the front page showing the New York area properties does list the Fairfield Inn Times Square (the one at 330 w. 40th st) as a $199 rate,UNTIL you click the view rates and then you're introduced to a complete (and more expensive) set of rates. I have stayed at this property and have faced the exact same issue, time and again. These little pricing treats are all throughout the Marriott algorithmic system - I never book rooms when needing sleep! Not that big of a deal, now that we all know, but it is a surprise the first time it happens and does become a bit irritating the 30th time - but oh well, such is the life of earning our deals.
PS - I would not be shocked if later today, the rate no longer shows - Big Brother does read this forum and reacts (as has been shown) to selected items of their interest (which is fair, it is their forum and they're pretty open minded about letting us air our beefs)
This is a really great suggestion using the box, "my dates are flexible".
I was not aware that this is now available on the Marriott site till I just read this post of yours.
and I have already used the information to help someone planning a Korea trip in another thread.
Would you consider starting a thread on Tips & Tricks?
or this specific tip, as I think it might help alot of folks out!
|Use your points to get away this fall and enjoy an upgraded room.|
No need to register. Simply redeem to stay between September 15, 2012 and December 15, 2012 at any one of our five most popular resort destinations and you'll be eligible to receive a free room upgrade*, compliments of Marriott Rewards®.
Participating resorts include: Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris® Casino, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Kaua'i Marriott Resort, and Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa.
They're your rewards. So enjoy them with the extras. Book and enjoy.
*Upgrades are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed at time of booking. Room types and views vary by hotel. Members receiving upgrades will be contacted by phone prior to their arrival date. Click "Book" to see Terms and Conditions and full details.
Yes. This offer made no sense to me, either. Marriott is offering us free upgrades at these resorts, but can't guarantee the upgrade when making the reservation. Does that mean you have to wait until you get there to see if you were actually upgraded or not?
The terms and conditions say that they will call you if there is an upgrade available before your stay. To me, if they cannot do the upgrade with the program when someone books.... then why offer the program.....in actuality, they are just trying to get people to use their points.
This may a bit off topic but it does involve pricing.
I can not remember the property but I was going thru the Plat. reservation number. I was looking at a room price and then checked the senior rate. It was a heck of a lot higher than 85% (15% Sr discount). You may want to be sitting down and not have a beverage in your mouth when I tell you the reply.
"The 15% is not calculated on the rack rate. It is based on what we COULD charge for the room!" (So we COULD rent this room for $500 so a 50% discount is a heck of a deal!) ??
The "FREE" and rewards nites are another joke. Invariably when I try to take advantage of one of these the reply is "We don't have any of THOSE rooms!" Same goes for "No points rooms available"
I attempted to book a room at a Residence Inn in the area of eastern New York and was told, "We are a long term stay property so we do not book for only one nite!"
Everything seems to be at the discretion of the individual management company so it is pretty much like booking at separate properties with the only commonality the sign in the front yard.
As stated in several other threads, we have seen differences in benefits from property to property and pricing is being discussed and most of us don't like the way this is done. On the Hilton site, you can request all the discounts that you qualify for and it shows them all and tells you the best price. I really like this and wish Marriott would so the same.
I am shocked about the RI not accepting reservations for a single night.
This is tangentially related to the original topic:
The Marriott.com (other hotel groups are doing same) is apparently adopting pricing algorithms similar to the airlines. Very complex and can literally change within seconds depending on number of factors and variables.
E.g. - have noticed that the closer to the date of stay, the price can go up (not always) but often does, and it depends on the hotel, location, time of year and even events going on around the interested dates.
I have been a platinum member for years, and part of MR's since 1993. Have noticed an 'evolution' of its reservations system, pricing, etc., which is natural for a business. While not popular, I certainly understand a business trying to maximize its profits as that is its goal (not saying I agree with tactics).
What's interesting is I've noticed that pricing for hotels around big events that are planned well in advance (e.g. - think March Madness, etc.), even if the hotels are not "official" hotels for the event, the reservations system seem to reflect the whole demand vs. supply financial dynamic BEFORE any rooms are reserved. From a purely capitalistic perspective, smart business. From a consumer perspective, well, enough said.
As one earlier poster said, best thing to do is be smart about determining what and how the system works and leverage it within the legal constraints.
The real bottom line for this post is that this pricing matrix that Marriott uses is so complex even they can't keep up with all the nuances of the program. That $199 price is a now a fictional price that at one time was good but their programmers didn't keep up with the changes. As erc said, it happens all the time. That is why the best course of action for reservations is to book the best price you can get and continuously re-check those prices until the day of the reservation.
@tef6178 - you are correct; I believe the airlines have put themselves in similar situation that their algorithms are so complex very few can understand let alone manage them.
For folks reading this thread, I have found that it is to your advantage, if reservations include a weekend night (Fri nights are considered weekend nights in some cases; sometimes Sun, and even Mon), to check if making multiple separate reservations will actually be more economical.
I have found that if you make (1) reservation that occurs during the traditional work week days, and includes a weekend night, the rate for ALL nights will be at the higher work week rate, EVEN though if you booked the weekend night separately, the weekend night would be at a substantially lower rate, which depending on circumstances, could be as much as >80% lower.
Yes, it's a pain in the *** to do this kind of checking, but, the algorithms are complex...
Easier to to track prices (both hotels and planes) to get an idea which way they are going, than figure out these systems. Prices are what they are, but they are in flux, so its good to stay on top of them. Some systems like Travelocity will let you put in an alert if prices drop below a certain level. Might be an interesting enhancement for the Marriott reservation system to let us tag properties we travel to frequently with a desired rate, and then email us when that rate is available. Those frequently trips could be planned around the good rate periods.
For hotel reservations, I hold both a plan A and plan B. For the UK trip, there was no points rooms available. Held the room with the best rate which I believe was AAA. Week before, the property discounted the rate significatnly, so changed to the new rate. Two days before a points reservation became available so I switched over to that and avoided paying ~200 GBP (for the weekend special), and ~300 GBP (for the original AAA rate).
For airlines, I use rate lock features when they are available.
United will let you put a fare lock on, which I have found is well worth the investment. Either prices go up, and the amount of the fare lock is offset by avoiding the price increase, or they go down, and you are able to take advantage of the lower price. Took advantage of this for my Europe tickets this year. The first trip to BCN, was trying to reserve a points ticket, but none were available. Use the rate lock on a good fare, but before locking in by paying the fare, a points ticket became available. So the $10 spent on the lock was well worth it to save $1K. For the UK trip, did a rate lock, and prices went up several hundred dollars, but I was able to buy at the lower rate.
I've also seen this difference in rates on the first page vs. after you click thru to the hotel. In all cases I believe it turned out that the front-page price was a pay-in-advance rate and when clicking through you then see the normal "pay as you stay" rates. I agree this appears to be deceiving, but is unfortunately how a lot of organizations try to trick people into something they may not want (Hertz has a two-option payment system also, and if you're not really careful they'll bill you when you make the reservation, vs. after you drive the car).
Another issue, which I believe someone else mentioned, is that they often give the lowest rate on the front page, but that may only be for one night of a several night stay, and the rate goes up on (some of) the other nights.
Be careful. Always read the fine print. Read earlier this week where a lady took her cat to the vet to get a flea bath, and the vet instead euthanized it. I agree the vet has some responsibility, but hey, the lady really did sign a form authorizing the vet to euthanize the cat. She didn't read what she signed. Can't blame others for our own lack of paying attention to detail.
usually its because something in your reservation does not meet the criteria.
last weekend there was a special price in New Haven I was looking at, but I was only staying 1 weekend nite.
The rate I saw on the first page was contingent on booking 2 weekend nites.
Went back and forth a couple of times before I figured it out.
Have also seen this happen on pre-paid reservations. Usually I don't prepay, so that rates goes away.
Another thing that sometimes happens, when you are there more than 1 night, is that not all of the nites are available at a lower price.
I try checking the rate night by night to see if I can get some of the nights at a lower rate.
I read about this some time ago. It could work the other was as well. You go to a site and don't make a purchase and later go back and they might lower the price or higher it depending on the logic. You didn't buy because it was too high or you looked around and found that this was the best price so came back. This happens on shopping sites as well. Every company wants to get the highest price they can.
"I will clear my cookies and cache and start again if a rate appears to be out of whack with reality, or if a night doesn't appear to be available."
What does this mean? Thanks for your help because if I know about it, I can't figure it out. Reservations search engine, right?
Thanks for all the great responses on this. I've tried booking night-by-night, which is of course a pain in the ***, but I guess I should just grit my teeth and be more accepting of it as a way to get deals. It has never occurred to me to blow out my cookies, etc. ..., so I'll give that a whirl, too.
I'm relatively new to this site, but what a great resource.
Traveling with family for Grandmother's 90th birthday, my son-in-law is a Marriott Elite member and convinced the group to book at the Courtyard Waikiki. We are all AAA members so we booked under that room rate. We noticed on-line that the rate was $45 cheaper than the rate they were charging us. My son-in-law asked the manager to honor the lower rate for all of our group as it was the lowest rate advertised and Marriott represents that they guarantee the lowest rate when booking on their web-site. SHE REFUSED!!! The difference was $450!!! Since the cancellation policy is 3 days before stay, we didn't even have the option to move hotels. We were trapped
Bringing back an oldie (a two week old post) but goodie. After just defending Marriott's communications over the Gaylord acquisition, I'm back to my ol' gadfly self. Thinking we had put this post to rest with the warm feeling that by removing cookies and using other browser techniques etc, we could all be more comfortable about the Marriott pricing matrix, the monster raises its ugly head once again.
One statement that caught my attention this week on the Marriott earnings release and Arne Sorenson's interview on CNBC was that occupancy wasn't expected to rise, but revpar (revenue per available room) would due to higher prices. This warned me to look out regarding upcoming rates; Marriott is feeling their oats, flexing their pricing muscles (deservedly so, when I'm wearing my shareholder hat). This lead me to hunker down this morning after a full plate of Saturday sports and start trying to hunt down 2013 values (having fun just being alive, I go where the best values are).
After running into rates that were shown, but couldn't be found for the fourth different city, I finally broke down and called the plat line. Using the Marriott.com matrix that said view alternate properties and then display the rates (before anyone writes otherwise - these were regular rates; not offers), a very polite and polished service rep tracked down the properties in question and she neither could find the infamous 'from' rate. Her response (very calm, agreeable, and professional) was, "oh yes, this comes up often, the operative word is from". She was by no means argumentative, just matter of fact and we both shared a mutually understanding laugh when I said, "Well following that pricing policy, they could offer us 1988 prices, they just are no longer available". As Keith Jackson used to say, this pricing strategy "could go down as an all time, all timer".