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Priceline guests get a bad rap? How to fix?

Priceline guests get a bad rap? How to fix?

Old Mar 4, 10, 2:04 pm
  #46  
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Originally Posted by bhatnasx View Post
I think part of the problem is that you have 3* hotels offering $35 PL rates. If they're doing that, then they're getting a $35 customer. The $35 PL customer is often times more demanding than the biz travelers and often times more apt to trash a room. I can completely understand why hoteliers don't like the PL customer, but it's their fault for willing to take such low rated business.
I normally use PL & HW quite a bit for hotels and have only gotten the "attitude" a few times at the front desk; most of the time no different treatment. Never a problem using amendities such as the airport shuttle or complimentary breakfast. The way I look at it I like saving money and really could care less about what opinion a front desk employee would have about me.

The best way to fight this is first and foremost act polite and leave the room in acceptable condition. Second, both PL and HW usually follow up with customer feedback surveys and use that to report any problems with front desk personnel.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 3:56 am
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I still don't get the stereotype that someone paying $35 is somehow more likely to "trash" a room. If anything, people who can bargain the cost of their room down to $35 are more likely to be frugal people who are in the habit of not staining carpets, etc.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 1:43 pm
  #48  
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Originally Posted by mbstone View Post
I still don't get the stereotype that someone paying $35 is somehow more likely to "trash" a room. If anything, people who can bargain the cost of their room down to $35 are more likely to be frugal people who are in the habit of not staining carpets, etc.
I guess another way of looking at it is that the higher dollar traveler is more likely a business traveler and is less like to use the room for social purposes (especially on the weekends). I'm not saying that all $35 travelers are trashing rooms, I'm just saying that, from my experiences in the hotel industry, the $35 traveler is more apt to do so. Not all will. I guess when a hotelier has 5-10 experiences with it, it's just a stereotype they make.

For what it's worth, I know one hotelier who hates taking employees from their own chain because the employees are usually the ones who party hard and trash the rooms (and this hotel is located in Vegas, so that may be part of the problem! )
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Old Mar 26, 10, 11:34 pm
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Could this be a rogue property? At all of the hotels I've stayed at PL; I've never been stereotyped as someone likely to cause trouble because of the low rate I paid.. I've been given an inferior room once, maybe twice, but that's about it..
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Old Mar 29, 10, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by N5408UA View Post
Could this be a rogue property? At all of the hotels I've stayed at PL; I've never been stereotyped as someone likely to cause trouble because of the low rate I paid.. I've been given an inferior room once, maybe twice, but that's about it..
The whole premise sounds a bit nuts to me
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Old Mar 29, 10, 10:38 pm
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Originally Posted by bhatnasx View Post
I think part of the problem is that you have 3* hotels offering $35 PL rates. If they're doing that, then they're getting a $35 customer.
I think you're right about that. It's a very general stereotype but there is probably some truth to it. Even it's a small percentage who fit in the that category, a small percentage of the hundreds of guests per month adds up to a lot of problems.
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Old Mar 30, 10, 3:46 am
  #52  
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If hotels have an issue with pre-paid credit cards, they should decline to accept them. I can't imagine there's an obligation on their part to accept them.

As to debit cards, they link directly to a bank account so I don't understand why they would be considered a risk?
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Old Apr 4, 10, 1:21 am
  #53  
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Originally Posted by USA_flyer View Post
If hotels have an issue with pre-paid credit cards, they should decline to accept them. I can't imagine there's an obligation on their part to accept them.

As to debit cards, they link directly to a bank account so I don't understand why they would be considered a risk?
Oh, trust me--they are a risk.

Debit card customres are MUCH more likely to be problematic than credit card customers. While there are many exceptions, generally, someone who only has a debit card only has a debit card because they cannot get a credit card (whereas it's really easy to get a bank account). That is, they tend to have a shoddy credit history, which is usually representative of general irresponsibility.

These people also tend to live paycheck-to-paycheck, meaning that there is often not much in the way of excess funds in their account. This can make it hard to charge for extensions--or even more importantly, damages or incidentals, which is doubly bad because these kinds of things tend to happen more with irresponsible people.

I've also seen people close their bank accounts right in the middle of a transaction. Because bank accounts are often free or have no commitments, it's easy for a shady person to simply uproot, close a bank account, and disappear without paying what they owe (and, in the case of my industry, to take our car with them). Although it's of course possible to close a credit card account, someone responsible enough to have the credit required for even a basic credit card is much more likely to feel invested in that card and much less likely to just ditch it. And someone who has the credit score necessary to close and reopen cards (yay Citi churners! ) is likely to be responsible enough to be entrusted with a hotel room or rental car.

And people who only have prepaid cards? Blech. Those are reserved for the absolute lowest tier of society--people not responsible enough to even get a basic checking account with a debit card...

(Pardon my cynicism, but I've been bitten in the rear far too many times from people I went out on a limb and trusted, bending our policies because I believed their promises and had sympathy for their situations...)
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Old Apr 4, 10, 1:43 am
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In their never-ending search for new fees, banks have taken to covering debits that overdraft an account and charge a "convenience fee" for doing it. Which means less refusal of debits. That may have the consequence of debit cards being more risky. If banks were less hungry for fees, they'd simply refuse to authorize a charge that exceeds an account balance. That'd really be better for merchants.

As for the prepaid, my theory was that the magnetic strip kept track of remaining balance. If they are actually sending an inquiry somewhere, and that somewhere updates on a batch basis, a card owner could overspend before the balance is updated. I've only used gift cards, never prepaid Visa or Mastercharge, so I can't say if the receipts show a remaining balance. If they can calculate the balance, then it should be safe for the hotel to take them.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 2:52 am
  #55  
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Originally Posted by LuvAirFrance View Post
In their never-ending search for new fees, banks have taken to covering debits that overdraft an account and charge a "convenience fee" for doing it. Which means less refusal of debits. That may have the consequence of debit cards being more risky. If banks were less hungry for fees, they'd simply refuse to authorize a charge that exceeds an account balance. That'd really be better for merchants.
All I can say is I've seen MANY debit cards decline for charges that are due...

Originally Posted by LuvAirFrance View Post
As for the prepaid, my theory was that the magnetic strip kept track of remaining balance. If they are actually sending an inquiry somewhere, and that somewhere updates on a batch basis, a card owner could overspend before the balance is updated. I've only used gift cards, never prepaid Visa or Mastercharge, so I can't say if the receipts show a remaining balance. If they can calculate the balance, then it should be safe for the hotel to take them.
Some private-label gift cards at some vendors may work this way, but the Visa/Mastercard-branded ones do actually go out and seek real-time authorizations. The issue isn't with charges not being honored--it's when the customer owes more money (usually after the fact--when they've already gone) and the prepaid card declines. At LEAST with a debit card, there's a chance that the person may deposit more money in their account, so the merchant can keep trying and eventually get the bill paid. With a prepaid card--once it declines, it's absolutely useless.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 3:07 am
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Some private-label gift cards at some vendors may work this way, but the Visa/Mastercard-branded ones do actually go out and seek real-time authorizations. The issue isn't with charges not being honored--it's when the customer owes more money (usually after the fact--when they've already gone) and the prepaid card declines. At LEAST with a debit card, there's a chance that the person may deposit more money in their account, so the merchant can keep trying and eventually get the bill paid. With a prepaid card--once it declines, it's absolutely useless.
So the authorization amount isn't deducted so it can't be respent somewhere else? That is how a credit card works. If I have a credit limit of $5,000, an outstanding balance of $4,500, and the merchant asks for an authorization of $100, my credit limit shrinks by that $100, so I can't go out and spend it after the initial authorization. If the guest ends up spending more than the $100, the new amount should be re-authorized. If the hotel doesn't do that, it is creating the risk, not the guest. If you run a hotel, you should ask for what the likely final bill will be. I can see when people order liquor and food and valet service, that might be a surprise, but your software should alert you to take action before the spending exceeds the guest's credit line.
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Old Apr 5, 10, 9:27 pm
  #57  
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Originally Posted by LuvAirFrance View Post
If the hotel doesn't do that, it is creating the risk, not the guest. If you run a hotel, you should ask for what the likely final bill will be. I can see when people order liquor and food and valet service, that might be a surprise, but your software should alert you to take action before the spending exceeds the guest's credit line.
Yes, THAT is the problem I am talking about. What you propose is not always realistic, though. Many times, things that are chargeable items like this are not processed in real-time and can, in fact, not be known until after the guest checks out. What about the following?

-Large late room-service breakfast order taken right before checking out [or even worse, just leaving without checking out]
-Damage to the room with evidence of drunken partying
-Missing items from rooms (towels, sheets, alarm clocks, even TVs)

Or, switch to my industry:

-Empty tank of gas
-Extra couple of days--hundreds of dollars in peak season
-Vehicle damage
-Worst--the car DOESN'T get returned, and the customer's card is declining for extensions

The cost of these can easily overwhelm the meager $100 extra authorization placed on the card, but it's not feasible to authorize a card for much more than that (say, $1,000 for the TV at the hotel or $30,000 for the vehicle at the rental car agency) without risking the vast majority of good customers' ire. There's a balance of risk the merchant needs to accept, but screening debit card customers is one way to significantly minimize that risk. While there are some Amex Centurion cardholders that are just as likely as low-socioeconomic-strata debit card holders to party drunkenly in a hotel room and scratch up the walls, bash the shower head off, break the toilet seat, and crack the glass on the TV, at least with a Centurion card, you're pretty well assured they'll have the funds to pay for their fun.

For more fun reading, check these articles out:
http://news.travel.aol.com/2010/03/1...om-your-hotel/
http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/...100251332.html
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Old Apr 5, 10, 10:32 pm
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The title of this thread and the initial discussion had to do with Priceline guests getting a bad rap.

I have successfully NYOP for dozens of lodgings and have never had any problems with any hotel. I think that anyone who is shrewd enough to get a 3* hotel for $35 has demonstrated that he is a smart person and smart people do not go about misusing or destroying hotel property.

There are more than 50,000 hotels in the US alone. It should be expected that some of the desk people are unhappy with their jobs and act accordingly.
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Old Apr 6, 10, 12:18 am
  #59  
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One other thing I thought about while reading Jackal & LuvAirFrance's posts above is about credit limit versus actual checking account balances. For example, many people have credit cards with $10k balances - a $500 authorization for a few days may not make a difference to them. I would imagine that most people don't just leave $10k in an non-interest bearing checking account. I imagine that most people (and I'm making a generalization based on my non-FT friends in my own age group - 30 years old) generally do live paycheck to paycheck & don't necessarily have a large balance in their checking accounts, so they're more apt to notice (and complain) about a $500 authorization. Personally, I don't keep a lot of money in my checking account as it earns minimal interest relative to other savings type accounts.


And on a side note...

Originally Posted by rmiller774 View Post
I think that anyone who is shrewd enough to get a 3* hotel for $35 has demonstrated that he is a smart person and smart people do not go about misusing or destroying hotel property.
You don't have to be shrewd to get a 3* hotel for $35 - you just have to have a hotelier who is desperate enough to offer their 3* hotel for $35.

Originally Posted by rmiller774 View Post
There are more than 50,000 hotels in the US alone. It should be expected that some of the desk people are unhappy with their jobs and act accordingly.
And with those "50,000" hotel rooms get filled each night, there are surely some customers who are problem customers.
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Old Apr 6, 10, 4:59 am
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Debit card customres are MUCH more likely to be problematic than credit card customers. While there are many exceptions, generally, someone who only has a debit card only has a debit card because they cannot get a credit card (whereas it's really easy to get a bank account). That is, they tend to have a shoddy credit history, which is usually representative of general irresponsibility.

These people also tend to live paycheck-to-paycheck, meaning that there is often not much in the way of excess funds in their account. This can make it hard to charge for extensions--or even more importantly, damages or incidentals, which is doubly bad because these kinds of things tend to happen more with irresponsible people.
Sorry to take this thread slightly OT, but this post strikes me as extremely ignorant... what data do you have to suggest any of the above? Or is it just a blind assumption?

I have debit cards because I want to use real money and not credit, and ditto for many other people I know. That's my choice and the choice of a lot of others. And what exactly is the relationship between having a debit card and living paycheck-to-paycheck? Again, myself and lots of others I know don't fit into that category.

And yes, I have one credit card that I ONLY use at hotel check-ins (hardly ever pay anything for incidentals) and to secure car rentals (pay at the end with my debit card).
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