Jun212012

Are you paying $100 a night too much for extended stays?

Extended stays at a hotel create more opportunity for hotel revenue managers to play with room rates. Often this can work in your favor with a discount rate for a free or reduced night. Other times this can work against you for easily finding the lowest room rate for your hotel stay.

Yesterday, I came across a rate anomaly at the DoubleTree by Hilton San Jose, California hotel when checking rates for a 4-night stay. This rate search shows an example where your quick rate search might result in paying about $100 per night too much for the same room and dates.

DoubleTree by Hilton, San Jose, California

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Wednesday, July 11 – Sunday, July 15, 2012

AAA rate for this 4-night hotel stay.

  • 2 Queen Beds with balcony = $227 per night = $999.35 total.
  • 1 King Balcony, Club Level = $255 per night = $1,124.29 total.

Kayak.com

  • 2 Queen Beds with balcony = $191.09 per night = $876.84 total.

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Expedia.com

  • 2 Queen Beds with balcony = $203.15 per night = $930.88 total.
  • 1 Executive King = $228.65 per night = $1,047.24 total.

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Expedia.com room rate July 11-15

After checking the Hilton website, Kayak and Expedia the lowest rate is through Kayak.com at $876.84.

Turns out that Hilton website has this same rate of $876.84 through its prepaid, nonrefundable “The Great Getaway” sale. This rate requires prepayment at least 7 days in advance and is nonrefundable with no changes to the reservation allowed.

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Hilton.com Great Getaway rate for DoubleTree San Jose July 11-15, 2012.

Is this prepaid, nonrefundable rate the best rate for this 4-night hotel stay at DoubleTree San Jose?

No. There are other options available when booking a 4-night hotel stay.

“Seize the Possibilities” when booking extended stays

Extended stay dates sometimes pull up different rates when the rates are checked for separate date patterns among the four nights of the hotel stay. These four nights from Wednesday, July 11 to Sunday, July 15 offer many different patterns for booking the same room on the same dates. There is no rule that you need to book a 4-night stay as one reservation. You can book this 4-night stay as separate reservations. The hotel might merge your separate reservations into one, but they can’t change the rate you booked.

Combinations available for booking a 4-night stay as separate reservations:

  • July 11 (1 night) + July 12-14 (3 nights)
  • July 11-12 (2 nights) + July 13-14 (2 nights)
  • July 11-13 (3 nights + July 14 (1 night)
  • July 11 (1 night) + July 12-13 (2 nights) + July 14 (1 night)
  • July 11-12 (2 nights) + July 13 (1 night) + July 14 (1 night)
  • July 11 (1 night) + July 12 (1 night) + July 13-14 (2 nights)

Chances are you are not going to check all these different rate combinations. And hotel revenue managers know this. These different patterns can result in different total rates.

Here is an example of how the rate changes when one of these other patterns for booking the same four nights is checked.

DoubleTree San Jose July 11, 2012 = $236 for King Balcony (AAA rate).

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Thursday, July 11 room rate = $270.90 total. 

DoubleTree San Jose July 12-15 AAA room rate for three nights on a separate reservation.

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  • 2 Queen Beds with Balcony = $107.10 per night = $369.60 total.
  • 1 King with balcony = $107.10 per night = $369.60 total.
  • 1 King Balcony/Pool View = $116.10 per night = $400.41 total.

Breaking this 4-night stay into two separate reservations drops the total rate significantly.

  • July 11 King Bed Pool View = $270.90 total.
  • July 12-15 King Bed Pool View = $400.41 total.
  • Grand Total = $671.31 for July 11-15 (AAA rate).

July 11-15 Great Getaway prepaid, nonrefundable rate for 2 Queen Beds

  • 2 Queen Beds, balcony, pool view = $191 per night = $913.15 total (prepaid, nonrefundable).

July 11-15 AAA Day before Arrival cancellation with no penalty.

  • 2 Queen Beds, balcony, pool view = $227.21 per night (AAA) = $1,041.00 total.

Breaking this 4-night stay into two separate reservations reduces the AAA rate from $1,041 total down to $671.31 total for a $370 rate savings. These two reservations for July 11 and July 12-14 also saves $242 using AAA with day before arrival cancellation with no penalty compared to the Great Getaway prepaid, nonrefundable rate.

The DoubleTree Hotel will likely merge your two reservations into one reservation, but your booked rate savings is guaranteed. The hotel can’t change your rate from what you booked even if they merge your reservations into one reservation for the 4-night stay.

Takeaway Tip: You need to be aware when booking multiple nights for a hotel stay that there might be lower rates available by booking your extended stay as separate reservations.

Revenue rate managers are betting you do not take the time to search different combinations of dates for your hotel stay.

Trying different date combinations takes time, but as I have shown here, the rate savings can be significant.

 

Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. I always check individual nights when booking for more than one night. In addition to the potential cost saving it allows much for flexibility if travel plans changes (i.e., arrive later or leave earlier without the need for rebooking and repricing).
    The hotel always combine the reservations to one reservation. Almost always I can keep the room I originally checked into (even if it been upgraded – for which the chances are good when the hotel see one night stay).

  2. Very interesting article about extended stays, which is our niche. This is just one of many strategies that revenue management practice to obtain higher ADR. It may not seem worth it however if you take $100 x 300 nights this can quickly add up for a hotel. USA Today just recently conducted a survey and found that over 80% of travelers never check to see if hotel rates drop prior to arrival. Searching for the lowest hotel and travel rates require more expertise and time than ever before and we always suggest that customer use the service of a professional that specializes in their need. http://www.ourextendedstay.com/about

  3. Great post. I had seen this on a couple of my Hyatt 3-4 night stays and saved some by breaking them up, but had not realized how extensive this rev mgmt practice was.

  4. Good to know. I’ve seen Best Western list the different nightly rates, but haven’t looked at it separately for each night.

    I notice that the higher rate night is the starting night. Do you think having a high rate for a 4 night stay is because the higher rate is on the first night or have you also seen this when the higher rate is in the middle or the end? Does this happen with certain chains and not others or with them all?

    Seems like a lot of work to check and book this way, so I’m wondering if there are times when you don’t need to check or times when you should definitely check.

    How often do you get a cheaper stay by booking the whole 4 days together?

    Do taxes/fees change any when doing this or are they all based on a percent of the room?

    @MDDCFlyer – When your plans change and you rebook:
    When do the hotels combine them into one reservation? During/after the stay? Or before? I’m assuming during/after, so you have the chance to change the reservations separately, if needed.

  5. Just like MDDCFlyer, I always make one night reservations, back to back, on multiday stays. It is always cheaper. This gives me so much flexibility, to make changes, or cancellations, etc, and then as a good upgrade strategy, it is more likely for the hotel to give me a suite when they think I am just staying for one night. At checkout, they combine the reservations into one, getiing just one bill, one stay credit, all points, etc.

    Sometimes I have a paid stay on the first night, and then award stay (or third party) on the following, so I get all points, benefits.

  6. @MDDCFlyer – I didn’t show the nights as four 1-night stays for DoubleTree San Jose, but booking Thursday night as a 1-night stay had a rate of $200 rather than $107. The rate drop only happened when Thursday was combined with Friday.

    @Charles Clarke – I have seen this type of pricing across most hotel chains. There are not too many times I have extended stays of three or more nights, but when I do, this often comes into play and I find lower rates by booking separate reservations.

    @OurExtendedStay – I am definitely one of the 20% who changes reservations frequently. The rate often drops in the two weeks before a hotel stay. I try to book hotels with no penalty cancellation so I can rebook lower rates if they appear.

  7. Sometimes it’s even helpful to check the Hilton MVP site. I was booking a 5 night stay in July where the ADR was $139 for the BAR, $118 prepaid for the Great Getaway Sale, and $111 on Hilton MVP with day before arrival cancellation.

Comments are closed.