I have a few questions. Last week I had an eye appointment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I found out I had to be back very early the next morning; I live about 45 miles away and I decided to stay overnight so I started looking online at Marriott properties nearby. The was Residence Inn only a block away that showed the AAA rate of 98 dollars for the night. I didn’t book it at the time because I had to meet someone and was running a bit late. After my meeting I drove to the Residence Inn, went in without a reservation and said I noticed online there was a AAA rate of 98 dollars. The man at the front desk looked at his computer and said he showed a rate of 196 dollars for AAA members. HUH?? I didn’t pursue it, nor did I tell him I was a Marriott Gold member but went back out to my car, logged onto Marriott’s website and booked the 98 dollar rate.
I went back in and said I had a reservation and gave him my name. He thanked me for being a Gold member and told me the options for parking. Inside parking was 20 dollars a day and outside, which was only a half a block away was 10 dollars. I told him I would park outside. Then I said I know you have your policies and procedures but why couldn’t you book the 98 dollar rate I saw online. He said it didn’t come up on his computer. I thanked him and went to my room. I don’t know if he felt guilty or what but I noticed I didn’t get charged for parking.
Something similar happened a few years ago at a full service Marriott, I don’t remember the exact circumstances but I walked in without a reservation and asked if I could get the senior rate. At first I was told it was sold out but then I told her I was a Marriott Gold member and then she said she would check with her manager. She came back and said there were a few rooms left at the senior rate so she booked it for me.
I know booking online will give one the best rates but what I saw and what the Residence Inn quoted me was almost 100 dollars difference. Really?? The least he could’ve suggested was to go back online and book it. I realize Marriott is a business and a business needs to be profitable but has anyone else experienced this and do the front desk personnel really not see the rates we do when we log onto Marriott’s website? Does it help to state one is a Marriott Rewards member? Is it up to the discretion of the front desk whether they book a certain rate or not?
It would be hard to say what the front desk folks see on their computer vs. what we see on our computer. Whenever I have spoken with telephone reservation agents (I know, not the same thing as front desk people), most always, if not always, they see the exact same rates that I see.
This is totally just my take, but I'm certain that while the front desk clerks may not have the authority to override rates, the front desk management totally has the authority to override any given moment's published rate. Whether or not they will give you what you ask for is an entirely different matter. In the past, I have booked nights at a Marriott property that I regularly visit for extremely low weekend rates (ie., check in Thurs. night, check out Sun. morn.), and at check in, I have asked if I could extend my stay by one night for the same rate as the other three nights (knowing full good and well that the Sunday night rate cranks up to over twice the price of the weekend rate, which is why I didn't book it originally), and management has very kindly and generously extended the lower rate to me, because as they stated, they appreciate not only my loyalty to Marriott (platinum at the time), but also my repeat business to their property. I'm not saying they would do this for me every time or that this customer service philosophy exists at every Marriott property, but I am saying that it is my belief that they have the power to do pretty much whatever they want, insofar as they are willing to do so for their guests.
Thanks for your feedback. Yes it would be interesting to know what the front desk people see versus what we see when booking online.
As far as management overriding a published rate I’m sure you are correct; I imagine it is like a lot of things, if you speak to someone with authority and present your case in a respectful manner, one can probably get most anything they ask for.
I’ll also keep that in mind about extending a reservation at the lower rate; there are a couple properties that I stay at a lot in DC, they know me and might be willing to do the same thing for me if needed.
I guess the best thing is to have a reservation having booked it online.
I hope it works for you on some occasions in DC. I know how much you love that city. I've been going there about twice/year for the past 2-3 years now, myself. We should try to meet up for a drink one of these times.
I get to DC about once a month and need to book my March trip pretty soon. I'd love to meet for a drink, some conversation, and a few laughs. Since your visits are fewer than mine let me know the next time you plan to be there; I can get away pretty much anytime. It would be fun I'm sure!!
I've only walked into a hotel and asked for a room on the spot once, at the Marriott Waltham Abbey. They looked at their screen, tapped around a bit and readily obliged at the cheapest online rate available, which was a little cheaper than the regular and much cheaper than the rack rate. Strangely they couldn't actually take the booking for me at the desk but instead dialled central reservations and handed me the phone to me so I could do it there and then!
I've only needed to extend a stay a few times and as pluto77 remarked I found the hotel very ready to extend my stay at the same rate even though that rate wasn't obtainable for that night by the time I requested the extension.
And, yeah, love DC.
At a MRI favorite hotel in Seattle late last year I found the same. My situation was asking politely for an upgrade. I was told that all of the room types I was looking for were completely sold out. I mentioned that just 5 minutes ago I could book the room on the website. I was told that I was mistaken. So...I pulled out my IPad and went to the website and many rooms of the room type I was looking for were available. A little himming and hawing didn't change the fact that there would be no upgrade. I asked for a manager and after a few minutes she appeared and couldn't explain why I could book the room as she stood by the fact that they were all sold out.
I felt for sure I wasn't being told the truth, but decided to drop it.
I was on a road trip and tried to book a room online using a AAA rate. However, there was something amiss with my mobile app and I was unable to complete the reservation. When I arrived at the hotel shortly after, I tried to book again on my phone, but no luck. I walked in and explained the situation and asked for the best available rate for the night. The front desk clerk checked and said that the AAA rate was the best available and he would use that. The AAA rate on his screen was $15 LESS than the AAA rate I had seen on the mobile app.