Mission146
Mission146
Joined: May 15, 2012
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Thanks for this post from:
Joeman
July 29th, 2020 at 8:57:21 AM permalink
Quote: Joeman

Thanks for the insight, Mission! That was a lot of info. It feels like it could turn into an article.



Thanks! I could write an article about it, but probably not for here. It would be difficult to relate such an article back to gambling. Although, I have been able to write with a little bit of insight on certain things related to casino hotels, but that's only because certain aspects shouldn't be much different than any other hotel.

Quote:

I usually only use TPWs to get an idea of how much rooms/flights/cars cost. And I agree with you -- 99.54% of the time, the price is no better than booking directly with readily available discounts (AAA, AARP, Resident, etc.). And often, booking direct will get me other perks. One chain that I frequent gives free Wifi for booking direct, while TPW bookers have to pay extra.



Definitely! I pretty much do the same thing, but I don't mind actually calling places, (especially if it's going to save $25+ total over the course of my stay) so I might call and directly ask them to match the rate of the lowest TPW I find, if applicable.

Free WiFi for guests was mandatory for all guests of the property, per the franchisor, so we really didn't have a choice to charge for that. If we could have charged TPW guests for it, then we certainly would have.

Quote:

I did have a question about matching TPW prices. Would you honor pricing from 'opaque' sites like Hotwire? While they don't provide any hotel names before you buy, they often provide enough info to pinpoint which hotel it is. And often their prices are better than the best advertised price on the hotel's website, occasionally much better. So, if i called you and said I see a price of $X on Hotwire, but your best published discounted rate was, say $1.5X, would you give me the room for $X or tell me that that's not your property I'm looking at and to go pound sand?



It really depends. I would generally automatically honor them if I could go to the site and confirm the rate, or if it sounded basically right for that date.

Hotwire is interesting because then I could ask the person what rate they were asking me to honor, and often, they would quote me back a rate that is greater than I would have quoted if they hadn't mentioned a TPW in the first place. I'm definitely happy to, "Match," a rate that is more than I would have charged them to begin with.

Hotwire (at least, for us) was one of the sites that used the one-shot credit cards. Hotwire charges the guest, then we charge Hotwire. The result of that is that they would be quoting the guest a higher price than the hotel would actually be getting from Hotwire themselves. I'm only too happy to match both:

A. More than I would be getting from Hotwire.

B. More than I would be charging the guest in the first place.

So, if you ever call a hotel---don't just ask them to match right away. Get a quote from them first, then only ask them about matching if what they are quoting you is more expensive. It will often be less expensive.

If you asked me to match a price LOWER than what I would give you from just calling me directly and getting a quote, then I would refuse and tell you to book via the TPW. The reason that's true is because I had it set up such that calling me directly and booking through me was the lowest price you could possibly get. If you said anything lower than that, then I would know you were either mistaken or lying.***

***The only exception was people with no plastic who were paying cash. Their reservations were not guaranteed and we charged WAY more for them. We were one of only two hotels in town who would even take cash unless you had some kind of plastic to be authorized for incidentals. It's not because we were the junkiest hotel in town...we were right in the middle in that respect...but because I would charge $120 + tax for a room I'd sell to anyone else for $70.

Quote:

I'd also be curious to know if bookings through 'opaque' TPW's were treated any differently than other TPW's from the hotels perspective



Not really. I hated all TPW's equally. The opaque ones, I think, all used the one-shot credit cards...but even that could be wrong.

Quote:

Ha! Among friends and family, we have a joke about this -- we call it the "Hotwire Room." As in, "Yeah, they stuck us in the Hotwire Room," which meant that it was right next to the elevator, or at the very end of the corridor facing the interstate, or oddly shaped/smaller, etc.



You're absolutely right, but only if we were going to be busy that night. I wouldn't even give a TPW guest an undesirable room just for the sake of doing so, only if I needed the better rooms (or a certain room type) for a more desirable guest.

We had some families that would be passing through the area. You couldn't really hear the elevator too much from any of the rooms. We'd probably stick you next to a room full of kids...since we have to give the family with kids a room somewhere.

The conditions that would make a particular room in the hotel the least desirable on a given night can vary, but in most cases (except only being half full) that is the one that the TPW booker is getting. Also, if the TPW booker made a special request (first floor, facing the road...etc.) they just guaranteed that the request would not be fulfilled. I would go out of my way to deliberately NOT acquiesce their request.

Quote:

About 5 years ago, I booked a room at the Hyatt Regency in downtown STL through LMTClub. This was back before LMTClub became like every other TPW. At the time, it was the 'exclusive' branch of Last Minute Travel, and if you 'paid' (they would often run specials to join for free) to be in their 'club,' you'd get essentially opaque pricing while knowing the hotel name before purchase -- the best of both worlds. Anyway, I booked a really good deal, and was completely prepared for the "Hotwire Room." However, when we arrived to check in (around midnight), they gave us a suite on the top floor!

The front desk clerk didn't say why, or even that we got an upgrade, and I didn't ask. Not sure why that happened, but we were grateful it did.



If I had to guess, my guess would be that they didn't need that room type that night and a long-term stay DID want the room type you booked originally.

For example, let's say that you booked a Queen Suite at $80/night for a one-night stay. Okay. Let's also assume that my jacuzzi kings are probably not going to sell out that night. However, I get someone who wants a room for a week and is happy to pay my weekly rate of $400/week + Tax on the Queen Suite...except you've booked my last Queen Suite.

I don't want that weekly person to have a Jacuzzi room for one night and then have to move to the Queen Suite the next day because that's annoying for everyone. So, I'm just going to put them in the Queen Suite and change your reservation to the Jacuzzi King. You think I'm doing you a favor, even though the truth is I'm still p***** off and hate you for booking TPW....but we're both happy. I'm happy that I got a weekly, and you're happy that you got an upgrade...but I only gave you an upgrade because it benefitted me to do so.

And, that's probably the only reason (which does come up) that I would ever upgrade a TPW. I also wouldn't say anything to the guest about it unless they asked why.
Last edited by: Mission146 on Jul 29, 2020
Vultures can't be choosers.
lilredrooster
lilredrooster
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Mission146
July 29th, 2020 at 9:21:03 AM permalink
Quote: DRich

I will often use a service like Trivago that compares the prices from hundreds of different sources.




I also use Trivago
their ads are very strong and try to convince you that it's no longer necessary to search anywhere else

but I did - and a couple of times I found better deals on other hotel sites - not better prices but good hotels at good prices that weren't listed on Trivago
𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘮 - 𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘢 𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘮 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘮.........Poe
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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Mission146
July 29th, 2020 at 11:29:46 AM permalink
At the risk of looking like an idiot…

Mission mentions ‘TPW’ dozens of times without ever stating what that’s an abbreviation for. I kinda get he’s talking about services like Priceline, etc. but what’s TPW?
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
DRich
DRich
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Mission146
July 29th, 2020 at 11:35:10 AM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

At the risk of looking like an idiot…

Mission mentions ‘TPW’ dozens of times without ever stating what that’s an abbreviation for. I kinda get he’s talking about services like Priceline, etc. but what’s TPW?



I don't know either but am assuming the same as you.
Living longer does not always infer +EV
OnceDear
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OnceDear
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Mission146
July 29th, 2020 at 11:37:30 AM permalink
Third Party Website
Take care out there. Spare a thought for the newly poor who were happy in their world just a few days ago, but whose whole way of life just collapsed..
Mission146
Mission146
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July 29th, 2020 at 11:48:07 AM permalink
Quote: OnceDear

Third Party Website

Vultures can't be choosers.
ECoaster
ECoaster
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Mission146
July 29th, 2020 at 2:55:55 PM permalink
The search engine thing happens with airlines sometimes too... Then people call them up not realizing it isn't the actual airline, give them their account and flight details, etc.... Sometimes they just end up paying extra fees but it's risky in other ways too giving out that info.
Mission146
Mission146
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July 29th, 2020 at 3:12:42 PM permalink
Quote: ECoaster

The search engine thing happens with airlines sometimes too... Then people call them up not realizing it isn't the actual airline, give them their account and flight details, etc.... Sometimes they just end up paying extra fees but it's risky in other ways too giving out that info.



That's also an excellent point, which is true for hotels in situations where the TPW forwards the guest's credit card information to the hotel. Instead of one database having your credit/debit card information, (had you called and booked directly) there are at least two.
Vultures can't be choosers.
Wizard
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Wizard
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Mission146
July 29th, 2020 at 4:14:01 PM permalink
Quote: AlanMendelson

I was intrigued by the word "scam" in the title. But what's the scam?



The scam is slipping in the $20 service fee at the last step for a service that most competitors do for free. I'm sure you'll say "buyer beware." I agree with that, but also feel sites that overcharge people too lazy to do their research should be shamed.

Quote:

Paid ads usually do show up first in searches. You can't tell the difference between a third party site and a hotel's actual site?



Keep it up.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Keeneone
Keeneone
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Mission146
July 29th, 2020 at 4:49:52 PM permalink
I don't travel as much as in the past, but I never really cared for booking through TPWs - third party websites (or OTAs - online travel agencies) for hotels. I know people can and do save $$ by doing it (I also used to do it a lot in the past - long story). The savings imo do not justify it for me anymore. I generally book hotels direct mostly for loyalty program benefits (points/upgrades/customer service/changes and cancellations/price guarantees).

Many of these OTAs are owned by just a few companies from consolidation over the years.
Examples being Bookings Holdings (old Priceline.com) and Expedia Group:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booking_Holdings
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expedia_Group

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