Recently I have booked rooms via Marriott.com only to find out upon check-in that I have booked a reduced pre-paid rate and paid all room charges in advance. I have not notice anything during the booking process to indicate that I am selecting a pre-paid rate. This has not been a problem for me yet, but as a business traveler my plans frequently change at the last minute. If I book one of these rates in the future and then can't cancel my room (per the conditions of the pre-paid rate) I am not going to be happy.
I am sure there is some indicator during the booking process that states this is a non-cancellable rate, but it needs to be made more obvious: a pop-up window with an acceptance checkbox would be a good idea.
Anyone one else frustrated with this? Anyone else been burned by having to pay for a room you didn't want?
Agreed. It would be extremely rare for me to select a pre-paid, non-refundable rate - especially, if it was a personal expense. Plans change way too often. Example, had a breakfast meeting, a lunch meeting and a 4:00pm meeting in three different towns today - all reached back to reschedule.
I've often looked at prepaid rates, but never used them. Even leisure travel can be unpredictable and as others have pointed out the savings don't amount to much. I almost booked a prepaid night at the Renaissance LHR, but ended up finding another rate that turned out to be cheaper (I think it was a senior discount and since my mom was traveling with me, I felt justified in using it even though the reservation was in my name and I paid for it).
Sometimes it just takes a bit of digging to get the best rate. On occasion, I've found the AAA rate to be higher than what I could get with no discount (might have been a discounted weekend rate), but the point is to check all your options before booking. I work for the Federal Government and sometimes the government rate is not the cheapest. It pays to research carefully.
In my opinion, having the flexibility of being able to cancel a reservation (which I've done more times than I'd care to admit) is usually worth the slightly higher rate.
This is one of my major irritants with the Marriott.com pricing grid (as I have written about several times in this forum).
NathalieF can you share some light on what Marriott's stated position on this pricing presentation is?
I.E., what is Marriott's explanation for showing prices for a six night stay, one night (often a weekend) at $99 and the other five nights at say $179 as 'from' $99? Why not, like several travel sites, post an average per night cost, (showing nightly rates) so when Marriott customers are researching rates the process is simplified? This enables us to compare apples to apples between Marriott properties with fewer steps (which, of course, I do take, but it certainly seems easily remedied).
I promise not to argue with Marriott's response, but I would appreciate hearing the explanation behind it. Thank you.
January 29 - twelve days after the request above
Flyertalk participants have faced similar frustrations with the time wasting effort of the Marriott.com pricing grid, where the lowest rate is listed as the from rate forcing a customer to check several properties to truly discover the lowest multi-night stay total rate. Observe the slip of the tongue of the Marriott customer service rep (in bold below), perhaps the truth has been shared (which would explain why the normally responsive comm. mgr. remained mum on the subject);
Posted 1/28/14 by FinnishFlash
I had a long and very frustrating e-mail conversation about this problem with MR customer service but when they after about ten e-mails still didn't understand what I wanted and kept on copypasting their "answers" to something else entirely I finally gave up.
In my final answer I tried to clarify by giving IHG as an example how I would like to see rates and the answer I got was "what is IHG?" and "Our site is designed for busy executives who take the rate they get" or something similar.
Without a doubt, not only do you have the obvious problem of not always being able to communicate or interpret the specific meaning without give and take feedback, e-mail also allows the accountable party to obfuscate the issue or just out and out wear you down with repeated incomplete responses.
For the eight folks (four of them Marriott) who might read this; (this was a link off of the recent Pricing Quirks post)
1) the above non-response is apparently an example of res ipsa loquitur/the thing itself speaks (for itself). It would be far more customer friendly of Marriott to show the true lodging costs saving the lodger time by not having to go property by property, night by night, so keeping the status quo must accrue to Marriott's financial favor.
2) Here's today's reading - about how our brains are being rewired to read differently (at the cost of concentration)
Here's an excerpt from the article (since our brains directed us away from the article ):
Ramesh Kurup noticed something even more troubling. Working his way recently through a number of classic authors — George Eliot, Marcel Proust, that crowd — Kurup, 47, discovered that he was having trouble reading long sentences with multiple, winding clauses full of background information.
3) I have observed this first hand in some of the very bright, twenty-something year old entrepreneurs I work with.
merb, The specified item was not found. and ansaa you can thank me later for making you read my rambling, wandering, long sentences with parenthetical thoughts and winding clauses full of background information.
Keeping America Strong!
I have often noticed that in the classes I teach, where information appears in a paragraph goes a long way in determining whether it will be read or not. On a recent assignment, the last sentence of the "format" section read, "First person is not to be used in this assignment." A full three-quarters of the class of 52 students missed that line, used first person throughout, and lost a few points. Also, I can usually tell which students read a lot -- and I mean books -- on the very first paper they write for the class. Their varied sentence structures and mostly correct punctuation are the tell-tale signs that they're readers of prose. So I, too, thank you for your "rambling, wandering, long sentences with parenthetical thoughts and winding clauses full of background information." I enjoy a slow read.
Did readers actually read a story about reading? To bring the side note of current reading trends to a close (and as an FYI to this thread; yes, folks are frustrated by the Pre-Paid Room Booking Process)
Summary: 31% actually read the article about reading (and it did make it onto the Craig Ferguson show)
25% didn't scroll past the headline (many articles up to 90%)
With the 'superabundance' of information online there's a lot of 'scampering around' (which is what I do with the Economist - between all of the uprisings, civil wars, and genocide reports, my head would explode otherwise) so 31% is considered a high score of readership (which makes sense, I've already lost 90% of you who read the blue link ).
The author stated that he had a lollipop for anyone who read through the entire article. Marriott Insiders can pick theirs up at the neighborhood SpringHill. Here's to a terrific week ahead Insiders.
You're speaking to this choir, foxglove! I can't tell you how many times on tests and papers that students have skipped completely over a not, whether I do not,not,not or not/NOT. You are also so right that it is easy to tell the students who read from the ones who don't. A particular challenge here lately has been a large number of international students. Interestingly, however, some of them write English better than American students.
This is actually true on most hotel and consolidator sites, at least if you go to the section on 'all available rates.' Since I'm using flying from the US to Europe (and we all know how that sometimes goes), I never do advanced purchase rates, even if it means paying somewhat more. It would be another thing if I was staying locally and booking a few days ahead, but NEVER for international trips. I once got dinged with a $1500 bill because I had a short long weekend trip to the southwest of France and my Boston flight was cancelled and they couldn't rebook me on any other airline till the day I was supposed to return.
LESSON LEARNED THE HARD WAY!
I think the website is pretty clear on what is advance purchase and what is a regular rate. I use advance purchase on personal travel if the discount is big. If it is a difference of $20/night, I usually don't bother. But I stayed at the SF Marriott Marquis recently and their advance purchase rate was $149/night while their regular rate was $209/night. It made the decision easier since I knew I was definitely making the trip.
Personally, I like the flexibility and you really need to study the room rates to see if you are really getting a good deal. Usually, you are but sometimes it not be as big of a deal as you might think.
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I guess I get going a little too fast sometimes and I didn't notice the gray bar at the top of the screen indicating it is a prepaid rate. I still maintain that for something like a non-cancelable prepaid rate Marriott should have to get your active acceptance of the rate through a pop-up window or something. It's just good User Experience design.
In switching back and forth between AAA, standard, and pre-paid, it is sometimes easy to overlook that the cheaper rate is a pre-paid, fortunately I haven't yet committed a booking error, but I can understand your frustration.
I have a question for bejacob and lakersfan (it doesn't apply to 'sweetie', he's so far over the other side of the threshhold, no one would dare inquire ). I'm still creeping up to the senior rate (which many times beats my AAA rate by $6-$10 per night - again, representing a nice sandwich) and often take my mom along with us with her own room; I've always been reluctant to use the senior rate even for her room, (I'll wait for my own eligibility for my room, it's not worth the potential headache) out of concern that I wouldn't receive points for the room (often several nights, so a relevant number). So here are my questions: lakersfan, do you provide your ID when you check in (thus, of course, not needing anyone to ask about eligibility)? and bejacob, do you receive points on the room that you use the senior rate? Thanks
erc, I don't often travel with my mother, so I haven't tried this often, but I did use the senior rate at the Ren LHR back in November. When I checked in, I made sure she was with me so the desk staff wouldn't question the rate (they didn't). I booked the reservation in my name and paid for it with my MR Visa. As such I earned points based on my spending and elite level.
I suppose the worst that could have happened is that I would have paid the regular rate (or used my AAA card or my government ID in an attempt to get a different discount). In any case, I had no problem. Like most of us, I like to get the best rate I can find. That said, my plans change often enough that I am cautious about using the prepaid rate. I'd have to be pretty certain and the discount would have to be substantial for me to go that route.
Thank you, that's useful info. I may try that on an upcoming trip where only one night is at risk, because not being a govt. worker, the worse that could happen could be ugly; that being the non-availability of a AAA rate and being hit with the last minute rack rate being offered (but of course, what the heck, mom could always sleep in the chair, if that happened !).
The Rhodium Elite program comes with the world's smallest shoeshine cloth (q.v.) and a strangely-shaped bar of soap, all at no additional charge. Upgraded rooms next to the elevator shaft are sometimes given, uppn request. One room even had two stick pens, which of course I borrowed!!!!
There is no downside to the Senior Rate (which I have been using for about 5 years). If it available, it is often the best rate. All points are given, room preferences honored, bonuses given,,etc. And, the rules allow you to book two rooms at the Senior Rate which I have done many times when we need a second room for our three grandkids.
I have employees travelling to the Encino, CA home office often. I have found the Platinum reservation department very helpful in combining rates (Pre paid + weekend+AAA+Senior). They will utilize a different discount each night if it is to my advantage. (I must pay for the employee's stay).
I have found the Pre-Paid nights, albeit confusing and sometimes hard to figure out, a important money savings feature for my company's business expenses
I agree with the extra warning when you are ready to book. People make mistakes. This is why when you go to cancel a reservation, you are asked again if you really want to cancel. The same for deleting files, etc. When you make a pre-paid reservation, you are charged at that time and can't get refunded if it were an error.
I have a friend and sent the departure time as 17:26 as written on our ticket. In conversation, she mentioned that we had till 7:30.
I have had a hotel cancel a reservation after the 6pm cancellation deadline without penalty when I have been stranded at a connecting airport and can't make it in. This seems to be at the hotels choice because when I contact reservations to cancel, they call the hotel.