Feb042014

Nor-1 eStandby Upgrades at Hyatt, IHG and Hilton

Chances are that if you booked a room at a full-service hotel in the past few years, after receiving your booking confirmation page, there was a follow-up page asking if you want to apply for a discounted room upgrade for an additional fee.

This is the technology of Nor-1. Several major chains use Nor-1 technology to pitch upgrade offers to guests after they have a confirmed booking at a hotel. In the hotel industry, this is called the ‘upsell’.

This post will show how Nor-1 upgrades worked for a recent Hyatt Hotel reservation I made.

Nor-1 eStandby Upgrades

How it Works for the consumer:

Hyatt MSP eUpgrade-1

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis eStandby Upgrade offer.

After a customer has made an online booking at a hotel and completed the credit card entry and received the room reservation confirmation immediately after the booking is complete, then there are times an upgrade offer will appear on the screen.

Last week I booked a room at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. After my reservation confirmation, the Nor-1 eStandby Upgrade page appeared to upsell my reservation.

Hyatt Nor-1 how it works

Registering for an upgrade does not confirm the upgrade room. The process just offers a chance at a discounted upgrade room. The guest commits to paying the upgrade fee at time of check-in. The guest learns at check-in which room upgrade is offered. There may be no upgrade at all.

My offers for Hyatt Regency Minneapolis included four upgrade opportunities.

Hyatt MSP upgrade-2

City View room is listed as $10 extra per night.

At the time I booked my hotel room, the rate for the City View room was only $8 more than the room I booked. In my past experience, the Nor-1 rates are generally a discount compared to what was available at time of booking. This is not a good deal.

Executive Suite is listed as $23 extra per night.

At the time I booked, the basic room rate was $119 and the price for an Executive Suite was $145. This offer is $3 less than the rate offered at time of booking. Again, not a compelling upsell offer.

Hyatt eUpgrade-2

eStandby Upgrade offer for Select and VIP Suites.

Select Suite $140 per night or VIP Suite at $144 extra per night.

The interesting aspect of these eStandby Upgrade offers is these room types were not displayed as a booking option when I made my original reservation.

On the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis hotel’s website, there is a page showing the different suite types with a number to call and request a suite.

The eStandby Upgrade page prompts the guest to select all options to improve the chance of an upgrade. This also commits the guest to paying the additional room rate for each night of the reservation for whatever type of room upgrade is offered at check-in.

This could mean a room rate change from $119 per night for the basic room to $263 per night for the VIP Suite.

Nor-1 eStandby Upgrades can be a way to get a room upgrade, even a suite, at a discount price. It can also mean paying for more room than you really want if you check all the eStandby Upgrade options.

Why I ignored my eStandby Upgrade offers

In my case, I booked the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis on a Best Rate Guarantee claim citing a lower rate I found on Orbitz.com. The room rate dropped from $119 per night Hyatt Daily Rate to $95 per night for a 5-night stay on an Advance Purchase prepaid rate on the Hyatt website. Orbitz reduced that rate for the basic room at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis by 20% from $95 to $75 for a 5-night stay booked on their website.

Hyatt reduced the $75 per night Orbitz rate by another 20% to $60 per night with my approved Best Rate Guarantee claim.

As a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member, I redeemed one of the four confirmed suite certificates received annually for my Minneapolis stay.

Depending on the suite type I receive, the upgrade certificate I redeemed for a five night stay might be worth $700+ after tax.

Nor-1 eStandby Upgrades offered a chance at a full suite for the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. In my case, I had a cheaper alternative to upgrade. There have been a couple of times in the past at other hotels where I applied for a full suite upgrade at a hotel using the eStandby Upgrade offer, however, I did not get the suite at check-in.

I have used the eStandby Upgrade option in the past and there are times when the savings are good compared to what the hotel website offers at time of booking. I find it most useful for requesting a high floor or preferred view room at a hotel for an extra $5 to $10. These eStandby Upgrade upsell offers are often good deals for a guest without elite status.

Nor-1 eStandby Upgrade technology is used by several hotel chains including Hilton and IHG.

How have nor-1 eStandby Upgrades worked out for you?

 

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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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. For guests with disabilities the system is flawed to the point they are useless — in that the upgrades offered are not matched with upgrades that are actually wheelchair accessible.

  2. I Requested the suite upgrade during my summer vacation to Stockholm and it was very very very much worth it. We got the Junior suite at the Hilton Stockholm for about $49 extra per night. Great deal because it came with lounge access (Free food and cocktail hour) along with 2 free drinks at the hotel bar. As you know Stockholm is super expensive so the cost paid for itself. The mixed drinks at the bar were $30 per drink, and I never would have paid that out of pocket. Great Deal!

  3. @Carole Zoom – thanks for pointing out a flaw in the system. Sounds like an issue that needs to be accommodated with the upgrade system.

    @Nathan – I think I had about $200 in drinks in the airport lounges in Oslo and Helsinki last March. Food was so expensive that I was generally ready to eat and drink my fill at the airports. Nor-1 upgrades certainly offer good value in some hotels.

  4. How did you double up on the best rate guarantee? Looks like you’re saying that you used the Hyatt site to trigger Orbitz price guarantee (at 20% discount to Hyatt site) and then further used Hyatt’s best rate guarantee to get another 20% off the Orbitz price. Is that right, and if so, what did you offer as proof for the last discount?

  5. @Matt B. – I did not double up on best rate guarantee. It was simple BRG claim.

    Hyatt Daily Rate was $119. On a 5-night stay Hyatt had $95 advance purchase nonrefundable rate.

    Orbitz was $95 rate, but on a 5-night stay Orbitz dropped rate an additional 20% to $75 and that rate was refundable with equivalent cancellation policy to Hyatt Daily rate.

    Over the phone with Hyatt, before booking any room, I submitted best rate guarantee based on Orbitz lower rate. It was approved and Hyatt reduced Orbitz $75 rate another 20% from $75 to $60 per night.

    Then, I applied a Hyatt confirmed suite upgrade to the reservation.

    http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2014/01/30/beating-priceline-again-with-a-minneapolis-hyatt-suite-brg/

  6. I just stayed at the Hilton Miami Downtown on Monday night. I had booked a junior suite and was offered an estandby upgrade to a view junior suite or a one bedroom suite, and accepted both options. When I arrived, I was told that, as a Hilton gold, I had been given a “complimentary upgrade” to a junior suite, which was exactly what i had booked. I asked about the 1 bedroom suite and she said that they had none available. When I got to my room, I checked and they were still offering one bedroom suites on their website. Are these estandby upgrades a one way street? I know that if they give it to me at check in, I am committed to taking it, but do they not have to give it to me if I have asked for it and it is available?

  7. @far north trader – I think they are a one way street.

    As a high-level loyalty elite member, I have been upgraded for free to a room with a view on high floor most times I have applied for eStandby Upgrade and not charged the $10 or $15.

    I actually think Hilton Miami Downtown is the only eStandby Upgrade request I ever successfully landed for a junior suite for something like an extra $15. I did not have Gold elite status at the time in 2012.

    I also don’t ever recall getting the highest category room I requested through eStandby Upgrades.

  8. FYI – Fairmont uses Nor 1 as well.

    Occasionally an attractive offer, but I usually skip it.

    Off topic: Is Marriott doing a better job managing pricing channels to avoid BRG’s?

Comments are closed.