What Would You Do?

What Would You Do? The Increasing Hotel Room Rate Edition

hotel room reservation, hotel room, hotel deals


I had an experience last week that I want to share and have you give me your thoughts. I was surprised at what happened, but I was even more surprised to watch my wife, who’s always looking to get the best price on everything, willingly pay more for a hotel room.

We were making late hotel reservations for an event out of town, wanting to secure a reservation at the same hotel some friends were staying at. The reservation assistant initially said that they were completely booked, but then admitted that they did have two non-standard rooms available. By non-standard she meant that they were “fantasy suites” in a 1950’s theme. The rooms had an actual ’57 or ’59 Chevy in them, converted into a bed.

The weekend rate was $159, which was the same price as other hotels in the same vicinity. My wife told them we were coming for a charity bike rally hosted by my brother-in-law’s Army unit and asked if we could get a military discount. The receptionist typed away for a minute before she quoted us a new price of $89.

We booked the room immediately, and cancelled another reservation we had made at a different hotel.

A few hours later, the phone rang. It was the reservation assistant calling us back to inform us that after talking to a manager, it turns out they wouldn’t be able to give us a discount on that room. The price was going to be $159 if we were still interested. I was sure my wife was about to not so calmly explain that we had already cancelled our previous reservation because of the lower price. Instead, she said this:

“I understand. To tell you the truth, I was a little skeptical of the $89 rate you quoted earlier. That was an unbelievable deal. We’ll take the room.”

This is the woman who got us a discount on a room in Chicago because she disputed the quality of the view that cost us extra. This was the same person that asked the manager at Bed, Bath and Beyond if we could have a discount on our patio furniture. Yes, this is also the savvy shopper that got 10% off our liquor bill just by asking.

I actually disagreed with her. Once a price is quoted, that should be the maximum the customer pays. If they quoted the wrong price, well, so sad for them. That’s the way business usually works.  The interesting thing here was that the two non-standard rooms were the only two left in the hotel. Obviously they were having trouble filling them for that night. On the other hand, the other hotels in the area were all filling up due to various events in the city.

We had a fantastic time at the charity bike rally, and enjoyed a super cool room. But it would have been even cooler if it would have cost $60 less.


Image courtesy of Kittisak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What do you think, Clever Friends? Should we have let the Hotel get away with upping the price AFTER we had made the reservation?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I would have asked for a split. Maybe the desk clerk made too much of a cut into margin and the manager was pissed, I get that. However it isn’t your fault that they made the offer and you accepted.

  • I’d probably assume that it was a mistake made by the person that took the reservation. If you look at it from that perspective, would getting the discount be worth knowing that someone potentially got in trouble or lost their job because they made an error or looked something up incorrectly? If I went with that line of thinking, I’d probably be OK with the price knowing that it hopefully made someone elses day a little less stressful.

  • “Once a price is quoted, that should be the maximum the customer pays.” – I totally agree here. I would feel bad for the employee that they made a mistake but in this ‘customer is always right’ world we live in the hotel should be obligated to stick to the quote if for no other reason than to build up customer goodwill.

  • This may sound geeky but I would think of it in terms of probability. If the chances of getting the discount were high, then I would dispute it. If the chances of me getting annoyed were higher than getting the discount then I would say life is short, move on. Long story short, I would agree with your wife.

  • Hmmm. I guess it would depend on how badly I wanted to the room. I don’t think what the hotel did was right. They should have at least offered something – a discount, breakfast, coupons etc. I would be unhappy and let them know but sometimes a mistake is mistake.

  • I at least would have tried to (politely) argue it. Explain that I had opted out of a better rate because of the one quoted over the phone, so this was putting me in a difficult (financial) situation.

    If they still couldn’t do anything, I guess I’d understand. But if that had been explained, I feel like the hotel would at least have tried to cut the price or comped something.

  • @Luke – I hate confrontation too…..but my wife seems to thrive on it. Which is why I’m super surprised that she didn’t lay into the person that called her back or at least ask for *something* in return for the price increase!

  • @Dan – That’s exactly what I was thinking……in the end the room was pretty cool though. One of those “once in a lifetime” sort of rooms.

  • @Moneybeagle – Good point….I certainly wouldn’t want someone to get in trouble or fired because they made a mistake. I’d be interested to know how the desk clerk came up with the number though.

  • @Jeff – Yeah, I wouldn’t think they would build much customer goodwill by calling their customers and telling them they have to pay more for their room. LOL.

  • @Nelson – Ahhh, good analysis. That may indeed have been what was going on in my wife’s head. Knowing that the discount on the room was HUGE, the chanced of them sticking with it may have been low. Although, like one of the previous comments, maybe offering to split the difference may have left both parties satisfied.

  • @May – We wanted a room at that hotel pretty bad – that’s where everyone else in the group was staying. Maybe they sensed that…….but I agree – I would have thought they could have offered a little something in return.

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