A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us an email about a rate drop at the InterContinental Wellington after committing to a prepaid reservation.
You can access InterContinental Wellington’s website here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I wanted to tell you about my recent experience with the Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington, New Zealand to see if this is standard hotel behaviour.
In July I booked for 2 nights in October under the ‘Winter Escape’ package which included breakfast and cost $563 a day.
I didn’t really look too closely at the booking figuring they would give me the best deal going, however I looked last week and with still 2 months to go the rooms for the same date are $350 a day (and now they are doing a package that includes breakfast, valet parking and a drink on arrival).
I rang the hotel to complain that the reason I booked and paid as early as I did was I expected the best deal not to pay $213 more a day. Their response (which took 4 days) was
“I can certainly understand that you feel surprised with regards to the rate difference.
Our rates do change everyday as they are based upon our availability at the time of the booking.
Past bookings are priced at the time they are book and we can’t compare these to our rates that we offer today or tomorrow.
We do offer different rates which are catered to our members and guest wants and needs which we understand that everyone is unique.
Please let me know if there is anything further I can assist with.”
This basically added insult to injury. Is this just a lesson to me to not book and pay in advance? (I can’t cancel as it is non refundable as well)
Or is this bad behaviour by the hotel?
Any advice gratefully received….
Hotels have mostly moved to dynamic pricing where rooms are priced based on the projected demand. This has lead to significant price swings from day to day. The price that you have locked in advance may go up or down depending on the demand.
The reader has done what we suggest to do in a situation such as this and contacted the hotel to see what they can do. Hotels may offer to lower the price, throw in some extra benefits or give rate difference in F&B credits. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case here.
Hilton is the only hotel company that I know of that allows members to alter their prepaid rate reservations in the Americas for a modest fee (read more here).
The problem here is that if members are burned with higher priced advance reservations they are not likely to lock in to the prices in the future that may cause issues for the hotels (difficulty predicting the demand).
The price at the InterContinental Wellington went down by 40% and the rate now includes more benefits. The reader could always drop an email to the General Manager who has the last say. IHG’s email addresses are in the form of email@example.com.