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FAQ: Difficulties booking the lowest rate shown on SPG.com (Phantom Rates)

FAQ: Difficulties booking the lowest rate shown on SPG.com (Phantom Rates)

 
Old May 16, 08, 9:40 am
  #1  
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Exclamation FAQ: Difficulties booking the lowest rate shown on SPG.com (Phantom Rates)

In trying to make a booking at Meridien Cancun Resort and Spa, spg.com shows rates starting at $138USD per night (12/25 - 12/31). However, when trying to book a room, rates start at $578USD per night. One would expect that if rates are advertised starting at xxx, there would be at least one room at that rate.

Called spg customer service, corporate customer service, and web assist line and was told on all occasions that this is the hotel's problem not spg. The hotel is allowed to advertise any rates they wish, even if there are no rooms available at those rates.

Is this really the case?
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Old May 16, 08, 11:16 am
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Originally Posted by wolvie007 View Post
What I find misleading is that the rate of $138 only appears when I enter the dates I want to stay. To me, this means that for those specific dates, there are rates at $138.

I would understand if it was a higher level promotion where the hotel has rates starting at $138 for an undefined period.
My explanation to you is that spg.com looks for the lowest available rates that a property is currently offering. Sometimes it is able to pull from a list of rates that are not available to the general public. Sometimes it is not. For instance, the hotel may be offering a nightly rate of $138 via a corporate rate, which is not available to the general public. Or, the hotel is offering a $138 nightly rate under a specific promotion. spg.com will only list certain available rates, but not all. However, the search summary will sometimes display the lowest available rate found, whether or not it is available to the general public. This is more of a spg.comb issue than false advertisement.

Platinum concierge or customer service will not know how to book this rate unless they know the specific rate plans. Your best option would be to contact the hotel directly and inquire about these rates. Ask to speak with the reservation room/revenue controller.
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Old May 16, 08, 11:20 am
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This is a common problem on spg.com.

My guess is that it shows the lowest rate plan for that day, but is sold out for the lowest rate.
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Old May 16, 08, 11:44 am
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I have noticed the same thing, particularly when booking for outside of North America, but often when I change the number of guests to 1, the lowest available rate showing on that first page will actually come up.
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Old May 16, 08, 11:56 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by BlissWorld View Post
My explanation to you is that spg.com looks for the lowest available rates that a property is currently offering......For instance, the hotel may be offering a nightly rate of $138 via a corporate rate, which is not available to the general public. .
In my experience, spg.com does not pull from any of the corporate rates other than your own that is associated with your number. Rather, it pulls the cheapest rate for 1 person, no bed preference, no smoking or non smoking preference.
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Old May 16, 08, 12:15 pm
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Originally Posted by wolvie007 View Post
What I find misleading is that the rate of $138 only appears when I enter the dates I want to stay. To me, this means that for those specific dates, there are rates at $138.
I have encountered this many times......

Have you tried checking the available rates listed under 'promotions and package deals' for those dates?

Simply change the rate plan description in the top or side menu to that....and then update the room list (or search again....depends on what SPG site you are using).

Another possibility for finding a better rate plan would be to check the specific hotel's "Special Offers" page to see if there are special rate plans that are valid for your dates.......as many of these rates never show up with any regular search methods (not even when you select promotions and package deals) as a specific code (automatically entered when you click on the book now link for the offer on the Hotel's offers page) usually has to be entered before you start searching.

A.J.
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Old May 16, 08, 2:04 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
In my experience, spg.com does not pull from any of the corporate rates other than your own that is associated with your number. Rather, it pulls the cheapest rate for 1 person, no bed preference, no smoking or non smoking preference.
I have, occassionally, seen spg.com pull the lowest promotional package and corporate rate on the search summary page but then not make it available under the room list unless you specifically search for it again.
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Old May 16, 08, 2:10 pm
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I find that removing my corporate account number pulls the lowest rate shown on initial search.
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Old May 16, 08, 2:45 pm
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I agree with the OP. Looking for eg next week, 24-25May08, in Four Points by Sheraton Panoramahaus Dornbirn, Austria, the hotel list promises rates from EUR85 but "Book now" gives rates as from EUR110. This has been the case consistently in the recent weeks.

If I search for hotels for N people, for dates D1-D2, I think I can expect an online reservation system to return rates that match my search criteria. The fact that this hotel might have lower rates for criteria different from mine is in this context misleading.

I would accept the display of these lower fares, however, if spg.com had a feature "show me when/how these fares are really available".
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Old May 16, 08, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by wolvie007 View Post
...Is this really the case?
No, I'm thinking there is probably some technical error that is displaying the incorrect "from" rate. I guess we won't know for sure what is causing this until E-Distribution completes their investigation.

Regardless, thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

[email protected]
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Old May 16, 08, 3:54 pm
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Originally Posted by timol View Post
I agree with the OP. Looking for eg next week, 24-25May08, in Four Points by Sheraton Panoramahaus Dornbirn, Austria, the hotel list promises rates from EUR85 but "Book now" gives rates as from EUR110. This has been the case consistently in the recent weeks.
Yes, I expect that it is fairly consistent that way.

If I search for hotels for N people, for dates D1-D2, I think I can expect an online reservation system to return rates that match my search criteria. The fact that this hotel might have lower rates for criteria different from mine is in this context misleading.
Well, it doesn't work quite like that. It says "from", which - unless there is some sort of technical error - means that it is the lowest rate that can displayed, but you still have to qualify for it.

I would accept the display of these lower fares, however, if spg.com had a feature "show me when/how these fares are really available".
Okay, then check for one occupant in the room and you will see the EUR85 rate.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

[email protected]
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Old May 16, 08, 8:38 pm
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Happens all the time to me, and I find it very annoying.
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Old May 16, 08, 8:47 pm
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Originally Posted by wolvie007 View Post
In trying to make a booking at Meridien Cancun Resort and Spa, spg.com shows rates starting at $138USD per night (12/25 - 12/31). However, when trying to book a room, rates start at $578USD per night. One would expect that if rates are advertised starting at xxx, there would be at least one room at that rate.

Called spg customer service, corporate customer service, and web assist line and was told on all occasions that this is the hotel's problem not spg. The hotel is allowed to advertise any rates they wish, even if there are no rooms available at those rates.

Is this really the case?
The SPG website has become much harder to use to search for rates over the years. The discrepancy between the teaser rate and the lowest actually available rate makes it a large waste of time.

Every website has quirks, but I agree that this is misleading and not helpful.
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Old May 16, 08, 8:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker View Post
Yes, I expect that it is fairly consistent that way.



Well, it doesn't work quite like that. It says "from", which - unless there is some sort of technical error - means that it is the lowest rate that can displayed, but you still have to qualify for it.



Okay, then check for one occupant in the room and you will see the EUR85 rate.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

[email protected]

The problem, William, is that it seems more like a new car ad that intends to get you on the lot than actually sell you the car in the ad. This is a time waster for people searching and a big turn off.
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Old May 16, 08, 10:14 pm
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Originally Posted by IcHot View Post
The problem, William, is that it seems more like a new car ad that intends to get you on the lot than actually sell you the car in the ad. This is a time waster for people searching and a big turn off.
Agreed. What actually frustrated me about an hour ago was finding rooms turn up with a rate listed when all rooms at the hotel were totally sold out.
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