Hilton 'Price match guarantee'.Back to Forum
Has anyone else tried to avail of this?
Hilton like most of the big hotel chains heavily promotes booking via their own in-house channel. The hilton.com headline is ‘Best price. Best Perks. If you find a lower rate we’ll match it and give you 25% off’. There are a number of criteria that have to (understandably) be met. Obvious stuff like same dates, same room type. Booking conditions must also be the same (you cannot make a claim on a non-refundable rate versus a flexible rate for example), the room must be for the same number of people, has to be a rate available to the general public, no ‘secret hotel’ rates applicable etc etc.
So I put them to the test booking a hotel in the USA.
I booked the cheapest ‘available to anyone’ rate which was a flexible rate on hilton.com: a total of USD718 for the four nights inclusive of all taxes. A google exchange and that’s GBP560.
A quick check on expedia.co.uk and I found a total rate, identical room, identical booking conditions £504.
I completed the Best Price Guarantee form online specifying all the details required and taking screenshots of the competitor price. Around three hours later I had a reply that hilton was unable to verify my competitor rate and did I have any screenshots? Emailed the screenshots off. Another hour later I get a reply denying my claim. The reason – despite my rate being cheaper it is quoted in GBP instead of USD. Urgh. Ridiculous.
So OK. No point debating the rules. I did go back online and found in the fine print that the competitor rate has to be quoted in ‘local hotel currency’. I don’t really understand why that is. Obviously global websites will quote you in GBP if booking from UK, euro from France, Aussie dollar from Australia. The point being it is still a lower rate.
But lesson learned. Instead of arguing the point I simply went onto the US site of booking.com. To my delight I was very quickly able to find a total rate for USD646. US72 cheaper than the hilton.com rate. Again – same room, same booking conditions, same tax inclusions etc etc. Victory for the little man, screenshot SNAP. Lodge a second claim. And waited. And waited for the result.
The result never came (they give a 24HR window for reply).
I found this absurd. So, I emailed Customer Relations, very matter of factly pointing out my complaint. I’d lodged a Price Match Guarantee and did not receive a reply either accepting or disputing my claim. Which was it? I received some absolute copy-and-paste drivel of a reply thanking me for my ‘feedback’ which they will forward to their Best Price Guarantee department to help them ‘improve the program’. Oh and of course they thanked me for my ‘ongoing loyalty’. But completely dodging the issue of accepting or refusing my claim against their price match guarantee!
What a joke.8 Nov 2019
What a remarkable coincidence! I have just fallen foul of Hotels.com and their ludicrous price match policy. I usually use them as my go-to and had a number of suites to book at a hotel in Rio, however, I found a price around £105.00 cheaper on Agoda. I only booked one room on Hotels.com and then screen-shot the better price/sent it to them awaiting their reply that they’d match. (That way I get the benefit of the 10 nights = 1 night free as well as the better price)
Hotels.com called it a “sea-view-suite” whilst Agoda called it a “sea-view-junior-suite”. No amount of arguing with their Gold team by phone or by email, nor their Twitter feed, nor their Facebook feed would make them see sense. Around 5 different employees told me these are different rooms. They are not, and I grew weary of their mucking me around so I have now cancelled over £8K worth of forward bookings with them, which I threatened to do and have now done.
I also booked 3 more suites at this hotel worth around £3.5K, none of which has gone to Hotels.com. No one has bothered to call, not a single email shows any sign of common sense and I am flabbergasted, a company I very recently championed can get it so wrong – I believe they have out-sourced their customer service, in doing so they’ve lost revenue from me of around £30 / £40k per annum.
See for yourself the room on the photo attached: (Edited to add – Hotels.com and Agoda both use the exact same Hilton image on their room description!)
You must be logged in to access attached files.8 Nov 2019
I recently had cause to book a hotel in Milan for 2 nights and did the usual trawl through many ‘booking’ sites, Agoda were the cheapest, beating both the hotel direct and other comparison sites by some margin. Had never used them before and to be honest half expected to arrive at the hotel and be given a blank stare, but no, everything was perfectly fine and their app is pretty good.
Have given up on the idea that the hotel based web site will always give you the best deal, as they promote, and in my case, Agoda were considerably cheaper, I just booked and turned up and got what I paid for, next time maybe they won’t be, but so much time can be wasted trying to get these organisations to stand by their ‘price match’ promises and they normally make you jump through too many hoops in the process.
It seems brand loyalty counts for nothing, best just to shop around between all the sites, as they all seem to have different offers for the same hotel at times.8 Nov 2019
I once tried to avail of Shangri-La’s price match guarantee. I’d booked a room and some months later found the exact same room on Hotels.com for about 30% cheaper. Technically I was outside the PMG window, but as Shangri-La were still showing the exact same price I’d paid on their web site, and it was a fully-flexible rate, I thought I’d ask anyway, and explained my reasoning.
They declined – because I was outside the PMG window.
So I simply cancelled the original booking and created a new one, exactly the same as the first one, but of course now within the PMG window. Immediately resubmitted the claim and this time it was accepted. Good end result, but a shame it took a bit of faffing to get past ‘computer says no’.
I suppose it just goes to show – the flow chart is set in stone and must be followed at all costs and under no circumstances must any common sense be allowed to prevail… 😉
I have had success with Hilton, on a couple of occasions as I recall, though it’s some years ago now. All done online and went very smoothly. Hotels.com on the other hand has typically been an absolute nightmare – I think I’ve made three attempts over the years, of which IIRC two were ultimately successful, but only after repeated attempts, lengthy email and phone correspondence, and in one case having to send hard copies of paperwork to the US. I’m inclined to think that hotel best rate guarantees are an area someone like the Advertising Standards Authority or Trading Standards (or their non-UK equivalents) should take a close look at…
1 user thanked author for this post.9 Nov 2019
So, an update on my situ. I’d cancelled a load of rooms with Hotels.com and booked further with Agoda. Hotels.com send me a questionnaire which I duly fill in and score them as “0” in all category’s.
Two days later I get an email confirming my refunded amount, and a £10.00 off my next booking voucher! But, the damage is done to their business now because they don’t employ a competent team to oversee the price match promises, instead they spout garbage.
So, right eventual result but Hotels.com have lost a ton of business and from now on if I see a cheaper rate, I’ll simply book with the other vendor now I know what a pain their price match is. Had one of them that I interacted with looked at my past 12 months revenue with them, none of which I price matched, they’d have seen I was worth placating.
Regards from a rainy Sao Paulo.
AOTG.14 Nov 2019
And once from me.
Literally a couple hours after posting this I received another email from ‘Hilton Customer Care’. Predominantly more cut and paste silliness (it’s so easy to tell when they haven’t even read your complaint properly) BUT at the end the option of contacting a named individual via their email address. ‘Should you need further assistance please email xxxx.xxxx@Hilton.com and they will respond within 72 hours’. FABULOUS! A real person.
Emailed this person at Hilton last Friday. Today, week later, not even an acknowledgement let alone a reply. 72 hours. Pfffft. I give up.15 Nov 2019
The tragedy is these chains are now so big that their phrase “we appreciate your loyalty” is meaningless. AOTG, while your revenue spend is no doubt a lot to you (and many others) it’s a drop in the ocean to Expedia (who own hotels.com) with their t/o being over $28 billion. In fact this even dwarfs Hilton at $10 billion.
I tried twice to get money back from a price match guarantee, and on both occasions failed with the most flimsy of excuses. One was identical, room, size, hotel, dates and currency. The excuse, I was booking (with booking.com) from South Africa and the Hilton server was in the USA (as was booking.com’s I thought?). Claim denied! I can’t recall the other one now.
Of course Hilton want us to book direct so they don’t have to pay the commission to hotels.com and their ilk. In fact to prevent you from going elsewhere they offer free high speed internet only if you book direct with them. On several occasions I’ve challenged this saying no hotel today could survive if they don’t offer wifi and each time they relented.
I now just look for the best rate wherever that may be, direct or via a booking service, and that’s the one I use. The only other thing I found, was Agoda would quote the lowest rate, but I then discovered it was the pre-tax rate, and adding the tax usually bought them up to or beyond the rate of booking.com
All in all my loyalty is to myself and my bank balance, and I’ve found today that loyalty does not count for much!15 Nov 2019