Most hotel brands will offer special incentives to book directly; whether its complimentary internet, enhanced rooms, or special rates. It’s clear hotels are trying to shift consumers from using online travel agencies for reservations, which has become the norm for most leisure travellers.
A lot of the big brands offer a best rate guarantee – if you find a lower rate for the same room through an online travel agency or any other source, they will match it and generally offer an incentive for booking directly. The value of a best rate guarantee will vary from property to property but a further discount of 10-20 percent off the lowest rate is the industry standard. I’m currently working on a comprehensive review comparing the different programs and what to expect when filing a claim. Unit then, I thought I would share a recent experience I had when booking The Four Seasons Jakarta a couple of weeks ago!
Japan Airlines recently became bookable using Alaska Airlines Miles and I took the opportunity to book a flight from Delhi – Tokyo – Jakarta to try their business and first class products. As such, I needed to find a place in Jakarta to stay for two nights.
I’ve never been to Jakarta, but knew I wanted to stay somewhere luxurious. Jakarta has no shortage of high-end properties including The Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Carlton, etc, but most seem to be past their prime. I had recently read about the recently re-opened Four Seasons and I was intrigued.
At less than a year old, the all-suites hotel looks stunning. Furthermore, they are currently offering a generous promotion where the second night is free on a 2 night stay. It’s not unusual for luxury hotels to offer 3rd or 4th night free offers, but this seemed unusually generous. The promotion applied to their Premier Suite only, which is the largest standard suite and includes extra benefits such as complimentary cocktails, pressing services, enhanced check-in etc.
The selling rate for this room is normally 5,950,000 IDR per night (or roughly $600 CAD). Therefore, a two night stay was pricing out at 2,975,000 IDR per night.
This promotion is also combinable with Four Seasons Preferred Partner rates, which includes a host of additional benefits at no additional charge, which I ultimately decided to book!
The following morning, I was using an online travel agency to show my partner Brad the room I would be getting. To my surprise, I saw the same room pricing out for approximately half of the rate I had confirmed the day prior.
I immediately booked the rate and received a confirmation email shortly after. A few minutes later I went back to the online travel agency to find the rate was gone, and rooms were pricing out at what I originally booked through my Preferred Partner Agent. Although I was thrilled with the new rate, I was disappointed that the new booking did not include the Preferred Partner benefits.
I decided to research Four Seasons best rate guarantee options and found the following:
Unlike most other hotel chains, The Four Seasons doesn’t offer any additional discount off the lowest price. Instead, they offer to match the rate, and include some vague commitments such as ‘access to the best service throughout your stay’. Thankfully the online claim submission is easy and only took a couple of minutes.
Within 24 hours of submitting the claim I was contacted by email from a Four Seasons reservations agent. He informed me the request was being sent to the property and I would hear back shortly. About 5 business days later I was contacted again by the same agent and informed that the claim was approved, and I would still have access to my Preferred Partner benefits!
In the end, I ended paying less than 3,600,000 IDR ($360 CAD) for a two night stay in a Premier Suite with Preferred Partner benefits valued at approximately $200 CAD – exceptional value for a room that normally sells for $600 CAD per night!
Do you have any similar experiences taking advantage of a best rate guarantee offer?