As I read about roomkey.com, watch CNBC shows about the sophisticated Marriott pricing algorithms (and they are), and bang my head against the wall swimming through the Marriott pricing matrix at marriott.com (seeing two different AAA rates, seeing member exclusive rates higher than the standard, seeing package rates that many times just add the two components together at little or no savings etc etc) I fully understood why Marriott didn't make the securing of the best price easier (they don't want you to find it) - but I always wondered why there wasn't some sort of app that did. An IT friend said it could be done, but might be difficult to effectively monetize - but over on our sister forum Flyertalk-Marriott it appears someone is attempting to craft one. MRCChecker
I would be curious what our Insiders IT pros alrenaissance jkernitzki and other knowledgeable players think about not only this link but the concept in general. As I proved yesterday in my sloppy steppingstones post (thanks pluto77 for cleaning it up) about his new book Anadyr, End of the Cuban Revolution; I'm one step below the Amish in understanding this technology stuff, so I'll just be a lurker on this topic (other than to add my occasional comment about the Marriott pricing grid). Thanks for your thoughts.
If all it's doing is using the public reservation interface and plugging in each code sequentially, it's sort of a brute force approach. It will get a one-time static return (meaning that if the rate on something changed tomorrow, you'd have to rerun the search). It doesn't allow for convenient comparison shopping between properties or different dates.
As was noted on his site, you wouldn't be eligible for many of those codes (and you'd have to know which ones, because if you get it wrong you're just hit with "Best Available" at check in), the list of codes has no mechanism for updating (many of them are no longer used and there are new ones not in the list), and not all codes work at any property. So why would I want to use a tool that has no means for me to exclude rates that I'm not eligible for anyway, nor add new ones that I am?
I think if someone was really that obsessive about getting the last buck shaved of the room, I'd just manually try the handful of rates that would be most appropriate in my search. This tool is just not an efficient way to go about it.
Good stuff jk - thanks for taking the effort to read thru everything. The fact that I'm holding off on "correct answer" (not that you cared) is not related to the quality of your response, but to encourage other interaction and keep the discussion open.
This is my day at Insiders, where I camp out all day and watch this rascal. So folks, please take a look (BTW, I should have labelled it Code checker - when you go to the link, they check out all of the different promotional codes) and post your thoughts. JK - I think I would know what codes I was eligible for, and if I wasn't sure, if it was a material saving, I would call someone - so to me, that's not necessarily a knockout punch. I often do check several of them manually and sometimes to my surprise, a mem, m11, m12, lpr, saves me real cash (although the "check back" strategy has often provided the best savings). Not so much for the BAR (best available rate) - which is truly a misnomer.
In the environment where LNF Guarantee requires a significant amount of training (no argument from me - just not my cup of tea, yet - once I studied it), BAR is almost never the Best Available Rate, member exclusive offer or special rate is not to be confused with member exclusive deal or special savings, and Platinum Premier represents the Top 3% of all Marriott customers yet merits virtually no discernible benefits over next level down, I enthusiastically search for a counter weapon that might help even the playing field in going up against one of the industry's most formidable pricing strategist, specifically in the Marriott.com pricing matrix. I'm ok with being beaten by an outside web site on prices, that's a tactical decision that is mine to make; it's getting crushed (and it has happened) by an undiscovered (until too late) Marriott price that gets my goat. I would like to feel comfortable that at the time of the reservation, I'm getting the best price Marriott.com has to offer at that time, and it's getting more difficult to feel that way, based on my past experiences dancing around in the grid.
Again, thanks for diving in john, hopefully we're on our way to a meaty discussion.
erc's editor's note - bordering on tmi - I know
I don't want to redirect the thread's direction yet - but to me, this seems to be the way to eventually get to an app that could that tell us when/where all the member exclusive offers are (in spite of Marriott's response to the contrary - this animal does not exist) and other across the grid type searches. That's not necessarily of value to the business traveler - you must go where the action is - but to the leisure traveler, I'll go (within reason and decent airfares) where the deals are.
JK nailed it to the wall. Very inefficient. It only does barely half the work for you and at a cost that wouldn't provide an acceptable ROI (you would still have to make requests every which way from Sunday - each search argument change constitutes a "new" search for a fee.) Additionally, the rates and discount codes are highly dynamic as well as more often than not, inapplicable (although all it would take is one "good" discount code for a bullseye). Still, it would be like wrangling particles.
It's a nice thought though!
Thanks pluto77 between two pros like you and jk, that's enough for me. Oh well, I dream of the day we can conduct a variable search (flexible dates) for promotional code rates or find directly Marriott's 'From' price of their Member Exclusives. Being that I have the same e-mail problems that californian has/had and therefore can't track the activity (other than checking every half hour), I'll call it a day on this project.
I did find though posts expressing similar desires and concerns from 2009 from steppingstones - Price Spreads and jerrycoin Room Pricing, so it points out to me at least, that little has been done on the consumer side to even the odds.
As I shared earlier, the hotels become more and more sophisticated in our battle for value; a colleague of mine has mentioned several times he has gotten different prices on Kayak mobile vs. Kayak online at the same time - so the future is now. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to eat less,.....naaaah
PS- If I was clever enough, I would have marked your answer Correct or at least Helpful - but apparently I can only learn so much tech stuff in a day. Thank you for the insights.
The system is very polluted. Constantly the corporate rates I search for are way higher then standard. It seems that across the board AAA hits the best the majority of the time.
Sometimes the corporate rate I am "entitled" to can be in excess of $100 more per night.
I understand why, but it certainly does not make for much fun searching and querying across these rate tabulations.
Especially when rate shifts come into play based on weekdays vs. weekends vs. holidays which are thrown into the fold.
Let's all invent another form, and make some quick cash, and the learned respect of our fellow travelers!!