Hilton HHonors - You can't charge more then rack rate... right?
Mar 9, 04, 1:24 pm
Last night I noticed a card in the closet of the HGI - Dallas (Las Colinas), that said the maximum price for single occupancy of the room was $144. But I had a $149 rate!
I took the card out and showed it to the front desk manager, upon check-out this morning. She had never seen anything like the card. After consulting with the general manager for a few minutes, they lowered the rate to $144. Her comment, "you learn something new every day".
The woman was very nice, and was pleasantly amused about the rack rate card. However this got me thinking, how often have I been overcharged over the years, in various properties (Hilton et al)?
I know some rack rate cards I have seen mention "special event" pricing could be higher. But there certainly was nothing going on last night, although the hotel did seem fairly full.
I took the card out and showed it to the front desk manager
Mar 9, 04, 1:48 pm
A while back a co-worker and myself booked rooms for a Saturday night at the Nottingham (UK - east midlands) Hilton, I booked the cheapist rate which was around £130 . At check in the tariff board very clearly stated 'weekend £90 a room' - no other detail.
After seeing my room was only a standard, I returned to the desk and asked for the duty manager who reduced the price by £30 - so yes I paid £10 over the rack rate.
In most U.S. states (don't know about Texas specifically), hotels are required to post the maximum allowable rate for the room "in a conspicuous place", like the back of the door. The hotel very well could be breaking state law in selling you the room at $5 over-rack.
Fortunately, I don't think I've ever had to pay anywhere near rack--usually closer to about half of whatever's posted. The day I get charged above-rack will be an interesting one.
Mar 9, 04, 2:39 pm
Personally , the day I am charged rack ( on my own account) I will faint with shock!! http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/biggrin.gif
Mar 9, 04, 2:50 pm
It's hard to find good information, but I did find it for New York state with a little Googling: <font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">No keeper may charge a rate higher than the one posted.... The customer is entitled to collect three times the amount charged ... if any requirements concerning the posting or charging of rates are violated.</font>It seems to imply the total amount charged, not the overage. In this case (if it was in New York) that would mean $447!
I'll leave it up to someone else to see if they can find the TX law.
Here's my source for New York:
Mar 9, 04, 2:59 pm
I found it for TX. Unfortunately, they have to "knowingly" charge a higher rate, and then the worst that can happen is "a fine of not less than $25 or more than $100" and/or "confinement in jail for a term not o exceed 30 days".
Too bad. I really like the NY law. By making the penalty a reimbursement to the customer x 3 you both incentivize those most able to enforce the law and provide a reasonable penalty.
[This message has been edited by Rut Dog (edited Mar 09, 2004).]
Mar 9, 04, 3:43 pm
I always check the door just to get a laugh. Some hotels list what I call
"the end of the world" rates. Rates so high you'd only pay it to watch the end of the world from that room.
They post such ridiculous rates to make sure they don't make the error of overcharging.
Mar 9, 04, 3:55 pm
I believe if they charge you a rate more then what it says on the back of the door, then they did so knowingly.
Those numbers didn't get there on their own.
I have never seen a hotel where that rack rate was anywhere near what I was paying, always wondered who would pay $600 for a room I'm paying $150 for. Wonder if somebody took a card and that was an old one behind it or something from 20 years ago.
Mar 9, 04, 4:17 pm
Most hotels get around this by posting the most outrageous rate they can think of - the $450 Hampton Inn comes to mind. Some jurisdictions must actually check them, as some like the ones posted above, are not terribly out-of-line. OTOH I've stayed in very average hotels with rates posted over $1000 a night.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by yyzflyer:
Most hotels get around this by posting the most outrageous rate they can think of - the $450 Hampton Inn comes to mind. Some jurisdictions must actually check them, as some like the ones posted above, are not terribly out-of-line. OTOH I've stayed in very average hotels with rates posted over $1000 a night. </font>
I agree about the average hotels having really high nightly rates listed on the back of the door. I was in a rundown Hampton Inn that had a rate of $1250 listed. I joked about how you could probably buy the entire hotel for that much.
I am surprised about the $144 rack rate though. That seems really low to me. Too bad Hilton doesn't offer 50% off the rack rate like the SPG50 certificates.
Mar 9, 04, 5:20 pm
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Wonder if somebody took a card and that was an old one behind it or something from 20 years ago. </font>
One of the Dallas locals can annotate, but it sure seemed to me that the HGI in Las Colinas is pretty new.
BTW, the Four Seasons (Las Colinas) that I'm staying at tonight, posts a rack rate over double what I'm paying.
Mar 10, 04, 11:57 am
I was a revenue manager at two resort hotels several years ago. The rate card really did not have a lot of meaning to us. It was an arbitrary number that we assigned and we could change it at any time by typing up more cards. We usually used the highest rate we would charge for reservations for that room type on our biggest demand special event date, then add $50 or so because we would sometimes charge more for walk-ins on special events.
Good for you for taking the card to the desk. The staff is just being lazy if they are raising rates and not at least changing the cards...
[This message has been edited by buffy888 (edited Mar 12, 2004).]
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe one of the purposes of posting a rack rate is that if you wish to stay in your room without a reservation (e.g., you don't tell the front desk you're staying longer, or you do but all the rooms are already booked, etc.), the rack rate is the rate you will pay.
Mar 13, 04, 5:02 am
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JS:
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe one of the purposes of posting a rack rate is that if you wish to stay in your room without a reservation (e.g., you don't tell the front desk you're staying longer, or you do but all the rooms are already booked, etc.), the rack rate is the rate you will pay.</font>
My understanding is that in most jurisdictions the hotel cannot evict you from a room if you choose to extend your stay, as long as you are paying the rack rate. A $1,000/night rack rate allows for a de facto eviction.
But the story I was told by my seventh grade Civics teacher (generally a trustworthy source) was that the mandatory rack rate cards came around with civil rights legislation, to counter hotel owners who had been forced by legislation to take down the "No [insert minority group]" signs, and instead switched to quoting outrageous rates to "unwanted" customers. I'm not sure how well the rack rate cards worked to that end; maybe it was before hotel owners got "smart" and started calling those outrageous stay-away rates the rack rate.
Mar 13, 04, 6:53 am
I was in the lobby of a hotel once where a customer was loudly asserting his right to remain in a room where he was paying rack rate. The hotel had entered his room, packed up his stuff and holding it for him after he refused to check out earlier in the day. They wound up calling the police to evict him -- neither the hotel nor the cops were impressed with this legal theory.
Mar 13, 04, 7:15 am
Once or twice I took the time to actually read the small print and I did not see anything about guaranteed stay as long as you pay the rack rate. It basically stated that that's the most the hotel is allowed to charge for that room and what your rights were if they charged you more.
Obviously this could vary greatly from state to state, county to county and even city to city. So the "no eviction" rule could very well be true in a different city.
777 global mile hound
Mar 13, 04, 8:05 pm
The fact of the matter is that most hotel companies overprice and underprice their inventory. It is mind boggling.
One has more smoke and mirrors then ever before to find the fair market rate.
Remember the good old days.
It was a pleasure to set up a reservation and book your room.
Finding a wide cross section of rates and packages was easy to access.
They actually advertised good value rates that could be easily booked without 16 insider codes.
You actually could cancel up to 6 PM day of arrival.
Non Refundable was almost unheard of for a hotel room.
I never thought I would see the day where buying an airline ticket was a more comforting thing then booking a hotel room.
This was not possible to think of a few years back.
Many airlines to their credit have done a very good job in creating better benefits in their program and offering stronger value.
I see some hotel companies not doing as well as in their past efforts.
Now that demand is up I think we will see that some of the worst is yet to come.
It takes satisfied customers who trust in their relationships to build longer term brand loyalty.
Its going to be an interesting future to watch that is for sure.
[This message has been edited by 777 global mile hound (edited Mar 13, 2004).]