Repricing hotels, my new hobby

I’ve always thought of hotel prices as being pretty “sticky,” not like the airlines where prices can fluctuate hundreds of dollars in a matter of five minutes. Well, while it’s not quite as drastic of a difference, I’ve been noticing quite some fluctuation in hotel prices, especially Hilton properties, which are my main focus right now.

Saturday night I’ll be in LA, and decided to go with the Embassy Suites LAX South. Originally it was $119, which, while not great, was good enough since I’m trying to go for Diamond with Hilton, not to mention I’ll get free breakfast, evening snacks/drinks, and internet as a Hilton Gold. Well, a few days ago I checked the price and noticed it went down to $109 for a “Mothers Day Special” (odd since it’s not even Mothers Day weekend as far as I know),  something which saves me $10+ thanks to the rate decrease and of course the decrease in taxes too. Two days ago I checked and the cheapest “best available rate” went down to $104, so I decided to reprice. Yesterday I rebooked it on a AAA rate, which went down again to $98, and lastly I rebooked with the Hilton “Team USA Advantage Program,” which is open to everyone and always provides pretty nice savings, making my rate in the end only $93. it’s weird since I would have booked the cheap rate above before booking the AAA rate, but it wasn’t availabile originally, so I guess it takes some time to update in their system. It’s pretty nice to save right around $30 for a few minutes worth of work.

Similarly there are about 20 FlyerTalkers going to Hawaii for a weekend in a couple of weeks. Many of us are booked at the Doubletree Waikiki, which was originally $170+tax, not bad but not great either. A few days ago it went down to $152+tax, and yesterday I rebooked again using the “Team USA Advantage Program,” which brought the price down to $134. I’m hoping they’ll be paying me to stay there soon!

I’m not sure if it’s the weakness in the US economy right now that’s bringing down occupancy or what, but I’m not complaining! I understand that the hotels want to attract last minute guests, and I’m betting very few people in the grand scheme of things reprice like I do, so lowering prices closer to the date probably makes sense for the hotels. Just another reason to book a flexible rate and not be locked into whatever you pay, since my rate now at both of these hotels are substantially less than the “net direct rate,” whereby I would have had to pay everything upfront.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. That’s normal and nothing new. Unless a non-refundable rate offers a massive saving over flexible, I always book flexible rates and check back regularly.

    Earlier this year a Hilton in Australia I got down from $350(!) to $120 over a period of a couple of months before my stay.

  2. The Hawaii price drop might be motivated by the demise of Aloha and ATA (thus less capacity to the islands).

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