When you see an eye-catching hotel offer advertised online, how confident are you that the deal will actually be available at that price? After telling us your stories of unavailable offers, we decided to investigate.
Whenever I see an offer advertising prices that range ‘from’ a certain amount, instinct tells me that my chance of getting that price for the dates I actually want will be something like 60/40 against.
But even those odds are probably hopeful in the light of our members’ feelings about hotel offers. In our hotel survey, many of our members gave poor ratings to several hotel chains for the availability of their offers. That might suggest that people are finding it difficult to get rooms at the rates at which they’re advertised.
An offer you can’t
We decided to have a look at website offers for the chains in question to see how often we could actually get the ‘from’ price advertised. We looked at these offers and checked availability for more than 1,000 dates. Overall, we found we could get the advertised offer price on 25% of the dates we looked at.
The lowest level of availability we found was for a ‘weekly offer’ from Britannia hotels, which promised rooms from £29 per night throughout one week in September. On the day the offer was released, we looked at availability for the whole week, and found we could get the offer price for only 25 out of 231 nights (11%) across 33 hotels.
We found Travelodge had an offer available at only 9% of hotels in five cities for a specific weekend in November, although the proportion rose to 32% when we widened the search to weekdays in the same month. The best proportion we found was 63% of rooms available at Thistle Hotels’ offer price across a week in November.
Getting a good spread
According to the Advertising Standards Authority, the minimum rate of availability should be 10%, and this should be spread across the full period of an offer – not bunched together on particular dates.
What’s your experience of trying to get offer prices advertised on hotel websites? And what proportion of rooms do you think hotels should have to make available at the given offer price?