(Advice) Advance Purchase stay is turning out to be more expensive then Easy Cancellation Rates

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by WilliamQ, Mar 4, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    I am not sure if I have any grounds at all to squeak, much less "complain" and am trying to understand what is the normal practice / response in such situations.

    Hampton has an Advance Purchase rate that requires payment in full. Forward 1 month later (~ 2 weeks+ before stay), I happened to check the site and noticed that their Advanced Purchase is much cheaper then when I got previously. In fact, even their current Easy Cancellation rates are cheaper than my previous Advanced Purchase rates.

    Do I have any grounds to request for the rate adjustment on the basis that it was marketed as "Book Early and Save" and I did not save?

    Previous.
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    Now
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  2. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    Yes, if you agree that if rates went up in the meantime they could charge you more ;)

    I frequently book a month or two ahead and then check back a week before my stay begins. The rate is almost always lower then -- sometimes substantially so -- and I rebook at the lower rate. But sometimes the rate is higher, so yeah, advance purchase rates are a gamble, but personally I find they seldom pay off so far in advance. I've had better luck with advance purchase rates a week before, but still I rarely do it, but that's just me.

    If only the first night was paid in advance I'd just rebook the others at the lower rate. If the entire stay was paid in advance I guess it could't hurt to call and ask if they can do anything but I don't think they owe you anything. You both agreed to the price. Same thing happens with airfares and most airlines aren't accommodating there either.
     
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  3. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    @bigx0
    Thanks. I was hoping to hear something different as Hampton promotion states "Book Early and Save with Hampton"
    Part of me sees your point but it is still a struggle to reconcile the facts as they are.
    I did drop an email seeking (appealing) to have the rates matched but I am not too optimistic.
    Just hoping they will do a goodwill gesture since Hampton has a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee for their stays.

    I believe there is an option to make a change at a USD 25.00 fee which is still a saving due to the big price drop and I might have to do that.

     
  4. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    Fantastic news, your own advice seems the best course.
     
  5. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Ok. This is a wrap-up on this little learning experience of mine.
    I finally got around to calling the Advance Reservation help desk and spoke with a nice lady who helped me with the cancellation / re-booking.
    The price went up since I last checked :confused:

    Anyways, my original booking was USD 238.85.
    Current rate is USD 195.24.
    Service Fee is USD 25.00.

    "Savings" = USD 18.61

    Not much but I felt I should still do it anyways.
    My guess is that there were some major cancellations and the hotel ended with more inventory then anticipated.

    upload_2014-3-11_7-33-5.png upload_2014-3-11_7-34-11.png
     
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  6. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    Well let's see. Say you purchased a small item, like a car or a refrigerator or a house or something similar. Then several weeks later the seller decides that they have more inventory left and they try to get more purchasers to buy their product, so they reduce their prices a bit more. Are you then entitled to a refund because the new price is now lower then what you've paid? Do airlines sometimes drop fares closer to a flight's departure to try and fill a few more empty seats,even though you've booked weeks earlier? I'm not arguing with a price match guarantee offered by hotels when you book from their website and then find a lower same day price on another site within 24 hours, but if the same property, auto dealer, appliance store, or airline drops their pricing at a later date for the same item, are we all entitled to a chance to cancel and start over with the purchase? Seems that would put more firms out of business over time.
     
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  7. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Yup. I certainly learnt to my lesson here.

    (Previously,) I assumed the advance purchase was similar to early bird pricing for events such as concerts / conference which are always cheaper and never gets undercut even if the event did not sell well (at least not from the organiser directly) which I learnt now is foolish of me.

    I do understand where you (and Hilton) is coming from hence I did not asked to be matched to the lower price while on the phone although I still felt a little stung.

    What I did was just cancel and rebooked after paying the penalty of USD 25.00 as stated in the Terms and Conditions.

    It was a valuable learning experience for me nevertheless (and I am glad for it) as I had always (wrongly) assumed that prices increase as the date comes nearer.

    This is unlikely going to change my booking habits though as I value the fact that I have a known, confirmed room waiting for me.

    The experience instead taught me that I should still monitor booked rooms and if on the occasions that prices do fall beyond a certain margin, I might get to save some money.

    Lots of times, the rooms I booked have no Advance Booking rates available and for the easy cancellation rates, this would not even have been an issue.

    Just thought that I would share the lessons I learnt
    1) Prices fluctuates and savings from Advance booking is referring to that point in time. (seems silly of me now that I write it like this)
    2) No cancellation rates could still be cancelled provided you make another Advance Purchase booking (subjected to certain conditions).
     
  8. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    I'd note that the easy cancellation rates are usually slightly higher then the advance purchase rates, as with the latter the hotel immediately charges your CC usually for either the full amount of your stay or at the very least for the first night's stay. To me it's worth the couple of extra bucks to have the ability to cancel online with no problems, and that's always true with the AAA/CAA, Senior, or MVP rates if available if you cancel at least a day or two before arrival and subject to their booking terms. Special sale or Advance Purchase lower rates obviously have more restrictive terms and that's what you're getting along with the savings.
     
    WilliamQ likes this.
  9. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    That depends on the rules. Many establishments have price guarantees extending for some time after the purchase. That often makes sense because some people would just return the item for a refund and then repurchase it at the lower price, which would cost the store even more. (Not saying I agree but that's not the point.) WilliamQ followed the rules exactly and paid the penalty so I'd say all is correct.
     
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  10. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    In my examples above, I don't think there's too many establishments that have pricing guarantees for "some time" as you've mentioned, other then department stores that may extend their return policies for items purchased during the year end holidays as gifts. Airlines, hotels, auto dealers, and more haven't shown a desire to guarantee their prices will be the same or lower for some time after a purchase, and often imply that a penalty will be charged for cancelling or exchanging something. The 24 hour cancellation policy of some airlines may be an exception of course, but that's certainly not for any long length of time after purchase. As you mentioned, WilliamQ followed the rules exactly.....after he found out that they wouldn't automatically cancel and rebook for him without a penalty charge. In his case it worked out to a small advantage, but as he and you have also noted, sometimes the prices also go up after purchasing something.
     
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  11. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Best Buy: 15 days (BB price only). They sell refrigerators (one of your examples).
    Fry's Electronics: 30 days (Fry's or competitive price), limited to 15 days on some items. They sell refrigerators, too.
    Sears: 14 days (Sears' or competitive price). Oh, and they sell refrigerators, also.

    Shall I keep going?

    With the exception of the refrigerator, I don't think your examples are on point. Most of my airline ticket purchases are sub-$1000, or at least sub-$2000, and perhaps there's a median price in the $200-300 range (I like one-ways!). All of my hotel purchases are sub-$1000 (per night). Based on price alone, throwing a house or car into the mix really isn't fair, but there's an even bigger difference: how substitutable goods are. Houses are almost never the same. Even developer-built tract homes will have differences in finishes (carpet v. wood) and location (corner lot) that lead to pricing differences. Apartments in multi-unit buildings suffer the same thing: you may pay more for a higher floor, a desirable view, or to be on the far end of the floor from the trash chute. So it's hard to imagine a trivial price comparison working. Hotel reservations, by contrast, are highly substitutable: most properties have cookie-cutter rooms and, even if there are subtle differences between rooms, they're advertising a single price (or maybe three, for the "standard", "superior" and "deluxe" rooms), which makes price comparison much more practical.
     
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  12. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    With the exception of Fry's who I'm not familiar with you've made my point about businesses losing money by extending guarantees of holding prices for a short time. Sears has had losses, and at least up here are closing large stores in major malls, and Best Buy also hasn't had stellar earnings, so two out of three examples as I see it, prove my point. Of course there's other reasons for not having profits, but those two examples are not exemplary to me. Living in a large apartment building, I'm well aware of the increase in rents as you go to higher floors.
    Using your hotel examples, yes, there's much choice among all the different room types in most cases, with the rates for each type clearly displayed at time of booking on the website. And not all "cookie cutter" rooms may be the same, but the OP's point here is not that he wanted to get a better room, rather that he saw a lower rate for the same class of room he'd booked and tried for the lower rate knowing all along that he'd booked a rate that was non-refundable, at least not without a penalty.

    Price matching guarantees from competitors (supermarkets and other stores) is happening up here, as I guess it's also in the States, but do you really think that those matching guarantees will be accepted for items bought many weeks or a month prior?
    Taking it even further, looking at rates on the (Hilton in this case) website, while they show the rate for the starting date of your reservation, the rates may, and frequently do, change during a stay, such as weekends in Las Vegas, and other changes during a stay at busy times. This is shown when the "show rates" line for the room type is clicked. If someone doesn't bother looking at the rate page that then comes up, can they just say, "well I wasn't aware of the rate change, and I'd now like all days at the same rate". I've sometimes been surprised when looking at rates for a multi-day stay to see some days are lower then the first day's rate shown on the website, but more often then not, the other day's rates are higher. So when looking at the daily rate breakdown page, if a lower interim rate appears, does the customer then call and ask that his higher first day's rate be paid for their entire stay...I think not.
    Using my examples of a car or a home or even a refrigerator, when we buy any of those items, most people usually look around for best prices and compare models and options, etc. Even before the internet that was possible (newspaper ads, flyers, calling to compare pricing) and now with it it's even more easily done. Since now with the internet there's a more descriptive breakdown of a hotel's room options, and you'd expect to get what you paid for, so choosing a rate with a lower price but more restrictive rules for the same room, doesn't leave much leeway for expecting the rules to have them make exceptions.

    Guess we can agree to disagree, but the point remains that you get what you pay for, and among the lower sales, early booking, "special" rates, there's usually some "gotcha's" that may come into play when the fan hits the ....!
     
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  13. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    Apple: 14 days ;)
     
  14. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    Thanks, OP's quote:
    "Hampton has an Advance Purchase rate that requires payment in full. Forward 1 month later (~ 2 weeks+ before stay), I happened to check the site and noticed that their Advanced Purchase is much cheaper then when I got previously. In fact, even their current Easy Cancellation rates are cheaper than my previous Advanced Purchase rates." One month later, 2 weeks plus before stay. ;)
     
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  15. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    But I wasn't referring to the OP. I quoted and was making a wise-ass comment in reply to your observation that most stores offering price guarantees are in poor financial shape:
    I do understand your point and perhaps we've gone a bit off-topic comparing retail to hospitality. Actually though, I do think Hilton does this one well by having those who pay in advance share the risk. They're nice enough to allow you to cancel for only $25, which they certainly don't have to do, and I think better of them for doing so. Well, better of them on the "these guys are human" side anyhow -- if I was a Hilton bean counter I might feel differently.
     

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