Most people believe that third party sites such as Priceline and Expedia offer the best prices in terms of hotel room rates, but is this really the case? With the Best Price Guaranteed policy offered by most hotel brands, you can easily find yourself locking in a good deal.
Below you can find just a few policies offered by recognizable hotel brands:
|Brand||Terms and Conditions||Policy||
|Best Western||Within 24 hours of booking.||Honour lower rate||$100 Best Western travel card|
|Hilton||Within 24 hours of booking.||Match the publicly lower price||$50 credit to Hilton bookings|
|Accor||Within 24 hours of booking.||Match the lower price and less 10%||Further reductions of 10% off booking|
|IHG||Within 24 hours of booking.
Only one night will be matched.
Other nights will be averaged out.
|Match the lower price|
||Within 24 hours of booking.||Match competing rate||3000 Wyndham Rewards points|
|Hyatt||Within 24 hours of booking.||Match the lower price||Additional 20% discount on entire stay|
|Choice||Within 24 hours of booking.||First night free and rate for subsequent nights is matched.|
|SPG||Within 24 hours of booking.||Match the lower price||Additional 20% discount or 2000 Starpoints|
|Marriott||Within 24 hours of booking.||Match the lower price||Additional 25% discount off the booking|
As the hospitality competition increases, between hotels, bed and breakfast, Airbnb, third party booking (i.e. Priceline, Hotwire, Expedia), etc., you can find that most hotel chains will indeed match a lower price (if you happen to find one). Not only that, you can also receive additional savings for all your hard work. Further reductions or loyalty points can be exchanged for finding a lower price than the rate you have made your booking at.
On average, most people believe that third party sites give the best rates as they summarize all the hotels offering rooms at that particular moment. However, booking directly through the hotel site automatically entitles you to the Best Price Guaranteed policy, matching you to the lowest room rate publicly available.
Additionally, booking through the hotel will entitle you to any government or special rates if you fall in that category. You will also have the opportunity to earn hotel loyalty points when booking directly as opposed to a third party site.
If there are any problems which occur during your stay, the hotel will be able to attend to it. This is also the same for any changed or upgrades which need to be made during your stay. There is a degree of flexibility. If you booked on Expedia, any problems or changes which need to be made will be dealt with Expedia.
With the Best Price Guaranteed policy, we can easily take control over our own bookings and be granted with the best price. Unfortunately, this does not include opaque bookings. For sites such as Priceline and Hotwire who own a bid function on their website does not apply to this policy.
Word of Caution
Note that in many cases, the best price guarantee prices listed with hotel chains usually have less generous cancellation policies. In some cases, you may be purchasing non-refundable tickets, refundable tickets with a fee, or you may have a tighter cancellation date to get a full refund.
While I would recommend booking through the hotel website directly for planned bookings, I would suggest using Priceline and Hotwire bids if you do not frequently stay in hotels as the pricings are incomparable. In a recent last-minute trip to Toronto, I managed to win a bid on Priceline for $58 dollars to the Holiday Inn in Markham. This was an unbelievable price for one room with two queen size beds. Although you lose out on some hotel loyalty points, you can still earn credit card loyalty points. The bidding method is great if you are going with a large group of friends and a consensus cannot be made on the hotel brand.
The bottom line is, Best Price Guaranteed protects you from paying for overpriced room rates and in most instances, allows you to earn even more if you happen to find a better price leaking on the Internet.