A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a question by email about an advance saver rate for a stay at the InterContinental Geneva that turned out to be higher than the current one.
You can access InterContinental Geneva’s website here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I booked junior suite in IC Geneva for 1 night (Geneva motorshow 🙂 in late Feb using the advanced saver rate, and it was this time 414 CHF. Today I find out occasionally that same room for same date and rate is “bookable” through IHG website for 391 CHF. Well – challenge accepted – it is not about 23 bucks difference, but about principle: I contacted (pretty useless) customer service, got response from the first line support that they can “do nothing but connect with Ambassador support”, then the most weirid discussion occurred: “we cannot change the rate as money has been already transferred, if I change the booking or cancel it to make a new one, it will be another transaction” – “well, in case first one will be refunded, it is fine” – “no, ” with quite a few rounds of repetition. At one of consecutive rounds I got another proposal – “but I can connect you with the hotel guest relations”, which I have had to decline 5 (five) times – as was a bit tired from the senseless discussions.
Next I file the claim for IHG Price guarantee, as booking.com rate was same as current IHG one and lower then in my booking – well, it was far more then 24 hours in between, so it was not falling to the program conditions, but I thought to give it a try – I got quite quick but very standard response though… with the time of booking referee as XX:YY Zulu time – have to google it, as not fluent with the US slang and thought only about Zulus in Africa 🙂
What would you recommend/expect from the hotel chain in such a case? P.S. Irrelevant here, but I am Spire Ambassador (almost looking for Marriott status recognition programmes 🙂
Any comments appreciated – and thank you for the great blog.
Hotel rates today are much more fluid than before. Technology has allowed hotels to better manage their room inventory and try to get the best price every night while filling up the hotel and maximizing the revenue/profit.
This means that advance saver rates that all chains and hotels offer are not necessarily the best all the time. If the advance bookings are soft, the room rate will likely go bit lower to stimulate more demand.
Hotels tend to be quite flexible (especially with elite members) if contacted when the rate drops. The hotel may offer you a higher category room or additional benefits such as breakfast/lunch/dinner or on property credit for the rate difference. Obviously they are not required to offer any of these but usually contacting the manager at the hotel can provide an acceptable solution for both parties.
The key here is that the central reservation of the chain are not able to overrule the terms under which the original reservation was made. They could have sent a message to the hotel and request a refund, however.
My advice would be to pick up the phone and call the hotel directly to discuss this with one of the manager’s there. IHG will be of no help.
I agree with the reader that it is not about the small difference in the price, but rather than “advance saver rate” should be just that.
Remember that all the IHG email addresses are in the form of firstname.lastname@example.org. You can easily Google the name of a management team member and drop him/her an email about the issue on hand.