Today I want to comment on a number of articles I have seen over the past week.
#1 – Does a guest on a stay using points pay resort fees?
Last week a FlyerTalker raised this question on the Starwood Hotels forum.
The general reply was Yes, the guest does pay the “resort fee” when staying at a resort hotel on points. I found this to be the case with a $20 “resort fee” when I stayed at the Westin Mission Hills Rancho Mirage (Palm Springs area) in April on a Cash & Points rate. Here is my trip post about the Westin Mission Hills hotel in April 2008. Fortunately, most hotels do not have add-on “resort fees”.
#2 – Food & Beverage Pricing Tricks
This article gives hotels tips on how to trick the consumer into thinking the price has better value.
As a former mathematics content editor for state-level student assessments I find “Confusion Pricing” an interesting trick. If not many people can work out the nightly cost of a hotel room that is priced at $545 per week, then the hotel industry has little to fear from my blog that focuses on showing loyalty program value through simple math.
#3 – Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya has opened and is Russia’s first Hilton. The 28-story historic Stalinist neoclassical skyscraper underwent a two year $100 million dollar renovation. A sample rate check for October 16, 2008 showed the lowest available rate of $548.52 + $98.73 tax for a grand total of $647.25 for a twin deluxe room. No blackouts for awards with a Category 5 free night at 35,000 points makes for a much better value using points. A six-night GLON2 award for 150,000 points would have almost a $4,000 value. Now that is Points Power!
Hilton has big development plans for Russia with as many as 70 properties scheduled to open over the next decade.
#4 – Beijing Olympics Hotel Rates were triple the regular average rates according to STR Global. The average daily rate for hotel rooms across Beijing was $446 during the Olympics. Some of the Olympic sporting venues looked rather sparse in spectators on the TV, however, with hotel occupancy hovering around 80 to 90% city-wide there was probably quite a bit of spectator action in hotel lobbies. While Beijing was hopping with activity, the hotels in Hong Kong, host of Olympic equestrian, and Qingdao, the site of sailing competition experienced a decline in average hotel occupancy for the Olympics.
By the Tuesday after the games closed, hotel occupancy had dropped to less than 35% and room rates also dropped dramatically by 60%.
#5 – Resort Hotels Across the USA Lower Average Rates in 2008 according to Smith Research and this article from the Wall Street Journal. Resort occupancy declines in the 6% to 10% range being felt across the country and some hotels see no alternative but to lower rates. (But, remember those resort fees!)
#6 – Switching Hotel Rooms: Legitimate Request or System Scamming?
This New York Times article looks into people who check into a hotel and then seek a different room. And the article states women are more likely to request a room change.
My record is for the Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam, a Starwood property. I think I made two room change requests before the hotel gave me a room that I felt was worth my money paid. I have felt compelled to request room changes for the Pulitzer on at least three stays. Amsterdam is just too pretty to be in an interior facing room.
The number one benefit of elite status in a hotel loyalty program is the high probability of getting a room with a preferred view for the hotel site.