Marriott has recently been marketing itself with the catch phrase, “the lowest available price guaranteed.” Unfortunately I have found this not to be true. The last two times this month making reservations (14 nights) in 50% of the cases the rate quoted at the Platinum desk was as much as 10-15% higher than what is shown on the website. In over 20 years as a customer, I have never experienced this. In one instance the reservation agent handed me off to the local hotel to make my reservation. The local hotel quoted a higher price and only after they checked the website did they honor their web price. All of this is very “un Marriott” and makes me think I need to check the pricing and availability before I call. Is this a software issue or a change in operating philosophy? Has anyone else experienced this?
The 'lowest available price guaranteed'.....against what measure? Just who are they saying they are guaranteeing the price against? I have found, on numerous occasions, that the price as booked is not necessarily GOING to be the best price.
To wit: having booked many nights in advance on a 'moving' trip (going from city to city), I have found in many circumstances that the price I booked was the best available price, but only at the time I booked it. If the price goes down, Marriott is not going to change your reservation and book a lower rate. The rate you booked is the rate you get......unless you are diligent enough to re-check your future stay points for better rates. Many, many times (too many in my estimation) I have re-booked my stay and cancelled my original because there has been a decrease in the price of available rooms.....even as close as one day before I check in.
I don't blame Marriott...it's their business to sell rooms and when a room is sold, that's the end of their selling responsibility. If they were to look at rooms booked.....and then change rates for every customer for every room booked to a lower rate when the rate dropped......well, it doesn't work that way.
Calling the customer service line........pot luck at best to get a room rate that is 'the best' is what I have found. I ask customer service for a room over the phone only when I am in a 'dire' way and need help. You're gonna get scorched....
I know, we expect better as 'frequent guests'....but looking at the recent influx of 'bad experience' posts should have a thought process being invoked that we better take charge of our own situation.
In other words, buyer beware.....and be diligent.
I will oftentimes use a website like www.kayak.com to do a multiple-site search for hotels or other travel needs. The web site offers an immediate compare between some of the most familiar travel sites such as Hotwire, Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline, and Travelocity while also checking many smaller sites.
I just performed a test search for Beverly, MA (I am staying at the Marriott - Peabody for the next 12 months) and Kayak had checked 72 different web sites prior to displaying the hotel prices. When I clicked on the Marriott-Peabody details button, all the prices came in at $169/night for seven of the eight sites including Marriott.com; www.getaroom.com had the lowest price of $121. However, if using this site, I suspect no reward points or miles are earned. But when you consider this saves $50/day (equivalent to 6750 points for $1000 PP cheques), it is likely worth the $ savings rather than earning the points or another paid night - especially if you've already reached Platinum status for the year. Of course there are the Megabonus and other promotions that need to be timed correctly and considered.
This happened to us at the London Marble Arch property. I booked rooms and several weeks later the room rates dropped by 30%. Marriott Rewards for some reasons could not change the rate. After several phone calls and approval from the GM at the hotel our rates were change. It was a lot of work.
Marriott's lowest price guarantee is quite wonderful. If you find a lower price on a different website (kayak is best for finding who has the lowest price) book your room on Marriott.com and submit a best rate guarantee rate claim form within 24 hours. They will match the lower rate and give you an additional 25% off. This way you get to earn your Marriott points still and it gets to be quite a good discount, too!
Most of my travel is planned several months out. I usually book the hotels I want on line when I know times and destinations. I always check several times before the arrival date and most of the time I will find a cheaper rate on line at the Marriott site. They do raise and lower their prices. I just wish I knew what thei formula was. It takes time to do this but the savings can be substantial. Too bad that they won't let you know when the price goes down on something you have booked.