Hotel research proves valuable

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, February 28, 2009

Anymore if I am going to be gone on a weekend or longer journey and have an early morning flight departure I will book a stay park and fly package at an airport hotel. For me this saves wear and tear on the body plus the longer I’m gone the more cost effective it becomes. Frequently what you will spend on accommodations is equivalent to what you would have spent on just parking.

On an upcoming 6:00am departure out of Port Columbus Ohio (CMH) airport I needed to book lodging for the evening before the flight. For this need I decided to shop a few hotel only websites that I was not familiar with. These are some of more aggressively marketed, heavily promoted and widely advertised sites so I wanted to give them a test browse and compare rates with other sources.

The prices were pretty much the same on all the sites but I did discover some interesting similarities about how they presented their rate quotes. I would almost call their displays deceptive and misleading. Almost a bait & switch tactic which in most places is illegal.

Email newsletter signup

Let me explain this claim further. I typed in my search criteria-the airport name/code the arrival and departure date then submitted it. The initial display screen had a few hotels that were in the ballpark of daily rate that I wanted to pay so I clicked on the respective properties. Then the surprises started. The next screen presented the actual rates and availability that applied for the dates requested. The rates had drastically changed. I was puzzled why I had started with a $79.00 a night rate and was now looking at $139.00 a night.

I back arrowed to the original search page and reread the information a couple of times. Then I had my epiphany “Ah Ha” moment! I had misread or elected to miss the “average” rate and interpreted it to be the offered rate for my request. The $79.00 a night rate was the average rate over a period of who knows how long. Now it all made sense to me. In my search process I had checked a few of the airport hotel websites before going to these 3rd party ones. What initially looked like a deal on the 3rd party sites was actually the same rate that was available directly from the hotel’s website. Actually booking on the hotel web site was a better offer because of the bonus frequent travel points and room upgrade that they were offering.

Being a good comparison shopper I performed diligent research then made an informed buying decision. If this process doesn’t interest you or it you don’t have the time then it is best to call your travel agent.

Got travel questions? Contact me at 740.533.4559 or thetravelprofessor