Best price guaranteed: the different policies of the hotels
Some people prefer to turn to
hotel reservation sites
like Trivago, Expedia or Hotels.com.
However, hotel groups (such as airlines) are now seeking to regain full control of their customers’ reservations. Thus, they have implemented the policy of “
best price / guaranteed rate
Therefore, if you find a better rate on one of these booking sites, the hotel group commits to :
- Align your price
- Maybe even offer you an additional discount
- Or even a free first night
How does this best price guarantee policy work?
The rule is the same for all hotel groups
All hotel booking sites offering a “
best price guaranteed
All hotel websites with a ” ” policy have the same rule: the lower rate must be found within 24 hours of booking.
This is how companies protect themselves from the vagaries of the market and from promotions that may occur from time to time.
However, it is quite easy to find a lower rate. But will you “waste your time” claiming the difference for a 1% difference?
Maybe not. Unless you were offered a substantial discount or an additional freebie.
The conditions of reimbursement are different
You found cheaper elsewhere: for the same room, the same services. Very good! However, refund policies differ from one hotel group to another.
And it all depends on how many nights you plan to stay in the hotel.
Of course, if you’re only booking one night, Choice’s first night free policy is the best, as you’ll see below.
But what about when you stay more than one night? You will need to do the math on which hotel group will offer you the best price for your situation.
See the table below for the different policies for each site, as well as links to the pages detailing the terms and conditions.
Best Price Guaranteed” chart
For example, I assumed a rate of $200 per night for which you would have found a rate of $180.
If you only book one night, here is what it looks like:
|Hotel Group||Policy||Adjusted price||Price paid||Net price||Percentage Reduction|
|Accor||10% to 25% discount||$162||$162||$162||19 %|
|Best Western||Gift card 100 US$||$180||$180||$80||60 %|
|Carlson||25% discount||135 $||135 $||135 $||32,5 %|
|Choice||US$50 gift card
(for North American customers)
or First night free
(for international customers)
|$180||0-180 $||0-130 $||35-100%|
|Hilton||25 % discount||135 $||135 $||135 $||22,5 %|
|Hyatt||20% off or 5,000 World of Hyatt points||144 $||144 $||144 $||28 %|
|Ihg||Difference and 5 times more points||$180||$180||$180||0 %|
|Marriott Bonvoy||25% discount or 5,000 points||135 $||135 $||135 $||32,5 %|
= Best price guarantee policy practiced by the hotel chain
= New price validated by the chain following the presentation of the lower rate found. This price will apply to all nights of the stay.
= The price of the first night paid
- The net price = Price paid – commercial gesture of the chaincard for example)
= Gain over the initial price paid of $200.
How to read these numbers?
If you stay only one night
there is no need to hesitate. Choice offers you the first night if you find a better price, even if it’s only $0.01! It is therefore a good way to stay in a hotel for free.
Then, Best Western can be a good choice as well since the chain offers a $100 card .
Assuming that your room costs around $100, this corresponds to a “quasi-free”.
However, if you stay more than one night, you will have to make calculations based on the “adjusted rate” proposed by the chain.
Some hotels apply an adjusted rate of 25% off, compared to the best price you have found. This new rate will apply to the entire stay . Therefore, it is very interesting if you stay more than 4-5 nights in the same hotel.
The conditions to be respected
Before submitting a claim, it will be very important to verify that all these conditions are met:
The type of room must be identical
Customer service will check:
- Type and number of beds: twin, double, queen, king
- Smoking / non-smoking room
- The exposure: garden view, sea view, mountain view…
All these criteria must be clearly stated on both sites, otherwise your claim will be rejected.
The services must be identical
Then, customer service will check:
- Microwave, refrigerator in the room
- Lunch included or not
- Wi-Fi included or not
N.B.: The names may vary between the hotel group’s website and the reservation website you found (e.g.: buffet breakfast vs. continental breakfast).
The customer service department will then focus more on checking the above mentioned caractéristiques of the room first.
The reservation conditions must be identical
As a general rule:
- Free cancellation = Free cancellation
- Non-refundable = Non-refundable
Therefore, you cannot request an adjustment of a “free cancellation” rate against a “non-refundable” rate.
On theother hand, the opposite is possible: if you have booked a “non-refundable” rate and within 24 hours you find a site offering a lower rate that has, in addition, the merit of being able to be cancelled for free … the hotel group will probably align its price.
My advice: before booking on a third party website, check the rates offered by the hotel (if it is part of a hotel group).
And be sure to compare all the caractéristiques listed above (smoking/non-smoking room, type of bedding, breakfast included or not ….).
If you are sure, then you have a chance to get a substantial discount… or even your first night free!