Starwood Preferred Guest appears to be testing the waters on offering customers discounts for booking through their website. They sent me an e-mail this week detailing offers of up to 10% off their lowest rates when booking through the SPG website. It’s only a short 3-month trial balloon, running through January 31, 2016. I took a look at a few properties and found discounts of 5% and 10% off of lowest rates at most of them. Here’s one example I took from a local DC property where I have a stay coming up in a few weeks. For a stay tonight, they’re offering a 5% discount off of the prepaid rate. And, for one week later: I was interested to see that I was able to book this rate tonight (and that the discounted prepaid rate was still available). I took a quick peek at Hotel Tonight, and they have the hotel available for $88. That’s $1 more than SPG’s regular prepaid rate and $5 more than these new member rates. I’d certainly save the $5 and book directly, but I know some folks who rely on products like Hotel Tonight (I’m generally not a fan).
To me, this is another attempt for hotels to take more control over their inventory. Even with shrinking OTA commissions, they’re still probably giving away in the range of 10% to 3rd party booking services.
It’s interesting that there’s no elite fence around this like Hyatt’s My Elite Rate. Ultimately, I’m guessing Hyatt found the discounts they were giving (usually larger than 10% when offered) weren’t driving the sort of sales increase they were hoping for. I’d certainly like to see the numbers behind these programs and how they affect customer behavior.
This is a nice little plus for members of SPG’s loyalty program, but I’d be surprised if continues after January. Take advantage while you can!
Full T&C below: