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ALL Gold Member Overcharged - Sofitel Los Angeles

ALL Gold Member Overcharged - Sofitel Los Angeles

Old Feb 10, 20, 8:24 pm
  #1  
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ALL Gold Member Overcharged - Sofitel Los Angeles

I recently booked in to stay at the Sofitel Los Angeles, and was charged $345 for one night. I booked a month in advance, and booked the Advance Saver rate, trying to get in before a price rise.

Out of curiosity, I checked again today only to find that the price for the same night is now only $295! I called ALL to query this, and was told the price had been lowered because demand was lowered, but they're not willing to match the price or refund any money.

My question is - why wasn't this the price originally? When I booked a month ago, demand would have been low then as well. So why wasn't the price reflective of this? And as a Gold member, surely I should have access to the best rate possible? I can even get on Hotels.com right now and book the room for $309.

What is the point of having any sort of loyalty to a hotel program, and booking early, when it means there's a chance you'll pay MORE than anyone else?

Accor have told me there's nothing they can do, and aren't willing to help at all. I've kicked it up to management, but doubt I'll get anything in response. Am now looking for suggestions for other loyalty programs I can join.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 8:36 pm
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I guess I don't see the problem. It sucks to have the price of something drop after you've purchased, but doesn't it work that way with most things? Hotel rates go up and down with demand. So do airline ticket prices. So do car rentals. I always book flexible rates on my hotels, because I figure the price can drop, and it often does fluctuate a lot after purchasing, and when I see it drop, I rebook at the lower rate. I don't expect an airline to kick me money back when the ticket price drops any more than I expect a hotel to do the same. It would great if they did, but I certainly wouldn't expect it from any vendor.

And you ask why wasn't that new price, the price originally? I don't understand why you think the price should be fixed, when you previously said you booked early to lock in a price in case of an increase. So, you either you expected prices could change, or you didn't. If prices can rise, surely they can fall too?

Last edited by CanadaDH; Feb 10, 20 at 8:42 pm
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Old Feb 10, 20, 8:58 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by CanadaDH View Post
I guess I don't see the problem. It sucks to have the price of something drop after you've purchased, but doesn't it work that way with most things? Hotel rates go up and down with demand. So do airline ticket prices. So do car rentals. I always book flexible rates on my hotels, because I figure the price can drop, and it often does fluctuate a lot after purchasing, and when I see it drop, I rebook at the lower rate. I don't expect an airline to kick me money back when the ticket price drops any more than I expect a hotel to do the same. It would great if they did, but I certainly wouldn't expect it from any vendor.

A fair point. Unless the loyalty program you're part of promises the best rates, and gives a guarantee that you'll get the best price. I wouldn't expect an airline or hotel to give me a refund either, but when this happens frequently (it isn't the first time), to someone that gives the brand alot of business, the question has to be asked "Is there REALLY a best price guarantee?" And what's the point of loyalty if the reward is minimal or non-existent.

Clearly all hotels factor in the potential for lower prices if demand isn't there, so it drops closer to the date. Shouldn't loyalty members have access to this rate early? Wouldn't be that hard to do. Essentially, those who regularly give their business to a particular brand are asked to gamble on getting the best price, like everyone else. A little certainty isn't too much to ask.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 11:33 pm
  #4  
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It's the 'Best price' at that particular moment. If you read through the BRG t&c's of Accor (or any other hotel program), they make it clear that the 'guarantee' is is only valid for 24 hours or so from the moment you make the booking. The guarantee is relative to other booking channels. There is no promise the same room could not be sold cheaper at a later date.

It is a common misconception that booking months in advance, booking an 'advance saver rate' etc always gives one the best price.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 12:27 am
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Isn't this how market economies work? Prices go up and come down based on demand and availability of product.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 1:34 am
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If you were happy the price when you booked...... or you could have booked and the price now has gone up. Its always a gamble. Try booking refundable rates next time ? ( or do not look at today's price ). I have empathy for you, as we book may weeks in advance and this happens to us. But its how life works, we pay for guaranteed travel plans ( as much as that can be )

Try to e mail the hotel and see if they can either upgrade you ( on arrival ) or some F and B spends .... its not like $50 is going to break the bank ( as you can afford a $ 300 room ), and it is only a 12% or so change in the room rates ..... ( You can save that using quidco etc btw )

Just forget it - and have a good time at the hotel and take all the toiletries ..... lol
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Old Feb 11, 20, 1:35 am
  #7  
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I really don't see your point. You have not been overcharged, but charged at the rate you booked. As said by other posters, prices are going up and down based on demand. This is true for every hotel chain in the world, every airline, etc. Would you have booked a flexible and refundable rate, you could have cancelled and rebook at the new pric. As you booked a non-flex rate, then you have to stick with it. That's life. Nothing extraordinary here and I can promise you it will happen to you again.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 1:56 am
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Agree with others. And you’ll find that every hotel chain does the same.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 5:28 am
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It's called yield management. Apparently the algorithm has determined that you (one month in advance) are willing to pay a higher rate.
Moreover, due to the corona-virus outbreak travel demand is down worldwide. The number of Inbound tourists from China to the Los Angeles Area are way down. This has possibly affected the yield management calculations, hence, prices have been lowered.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 5:28 am
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If market demand dictates that, on the date of arrival, the rate goes up above what you initially paid, would you say you were under charged?
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Last edited by Maelstrom; Feb 11, 20 at 10:21 am
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Old Feb 11, 20, 5:33 am
  #11  
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In FT spirit, I could suggest that an equally appropriate title would be:

"ALL Gold Member Charged The Correct Rate Despite A Change In Prices - Sofitel Los Angeles"
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Old Feb 11, 20, 10:19 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by gibosity View Post
Essentially, those who regularly give their business to a particular brand are asked to gamble on getting the best price, like everyone else. A little certainty isn't too much to ask.
Have you never purchased a plane ticket in advance? How about a ticket to a sporting event or concert on the aftermarket? All pricing is dynamic.

it sounds like you expect the hotel to lower its rates for you after you accepted their price offer. But suppose you'd accepted an advance price of $200, and then the day you arrive the price offer is $400? I doubt you would be pleased to show the same flexibility you expect from the provider.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 10:39 am
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There's an easy solution: don't check prices for things that have already been paid.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 11:50 am
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Maybe Sofitel should change the tactics and reimburse money in this case. On the other side - of course - the guest have to pay the difference at time of checkin if the price has increased
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