Le Parker Meridien has again sent out an email blast touting award availability at 20,000 Starpoints per night for the Coachella weekend when the paid rates are in excess of $2,500 (minimum three night stay).
Parker hotels (this one in Palm Springs and the other property in New York) got caught few years back falsifying their occupancy records by checking in “phantom” guests in order to get higher award reimbursement from Starwood. The companies went to court and I have covered this on my previous posts here, here, here and here.
You can access Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs website here.
Why Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs is sending these emails?
You must first understand how hotels get reimbursed for award stays. The base level compensation is usually quite low, but with Starwood it is higher compared to Hilton or Marriott.
The compensation when the hotel is full (at 95% or higher) is tied to the ADR (Average Daily Rate) of that night.
It is better for Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs to dump the unsold rooms to awards and get the ADR of the night reimbursement (as long as most of the guests have paid that ridiculous $2,400 per night) than discounting and getting lower compensation. The key, however, is to ensure that the occupancy rate is at 95% or higher.
It seems that the Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs has learned something from the past and is not trying to have “ghost” guests on these high occupancy nights to get the ADR reimbursement.
The strategy nowadays seems to be to have a full email blast and get members to book the nights that would then trigger the max compensation from SPG. There is nothing wrong with this.
SPG may, however, object that the property has blatantly farmed all the email addresses that the guests have had on file at the time of making the reservation (I believe that this is against the agreement that hotels have with Starwood) and then added them to an internal mailing list outside of Starwood.