Best rate guarantees are one of the tools hotel chains use to earn more direct bookings. Each of the hotel chains employ different strategies all to arrive at the same goal, to get more customers booking directly with them. They pay a commission to online travel agencies like Expedia and Orbitz. If they can encourage customers to book directly with them, they make more money.
Hyatt reached out to me yesterday to advise me of a change to their best rate guarantee. The current best rate guarantee offers a 20% discount on your stay if you find a valid lower rate somewhere other than the Hyatt website.
The new offer will be for a $50 credit that can be used on a future stay. You’ll have up to a year to use the credit once it’s issued, which will be shortly after you complete your stay. The new policy goes into effect on July 31, 2017.
Is Hyatt’s New Best Rate Guarantee Better Or Worse For Customers?
My first impression when I saw the change was that this was bad. And, if you pay for all of your own hotel stays, a $50 credit is likely to be less than 20% off except on short stays at limited-service hotels.
But, here’s the thing. What if you don’t pay for your hotel stays? If your company pays for them, saving 20% is good for your company. However, it’s not good for you.
I’d like to think that everyone would do what’s best for their company, but that’s just not reality. Websites like Upside and Rocketrip are trying to help companies conquer the waste in travel spending by rewarding employees who save money on travel.
In some ways, a $50 discount that goes to the person booking the reservation might actually be more of an incentive than saving their company 20%.
The Final Two Pennies
Like most of the big hotel chains, Hyatt wants more customers to book directly with them. Bringing back “Members Only” rates last year was a nod in that direction. I’m guessing that’s what the change to the best rate guarantee is now. I’m just not sure it’s enough. It’s not like this is the first time I’ve said hotels should be working harder to gain more control over their inventory. We’ll have to wait and see if this helps.
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