Dynamic Hotel Pricing in Action (I promise I’ll write about something other than Hyatt soon)

I’ve been keeping an eye on hotel prices in New York, since I have a trip coming up in a few weeks, and I want to see if any good hotel deals open up. If anything looks especially good, I might cancel the points bookings I made and book a revenue stay instead. While surfing Hyatt’s website, I found some interesting dynamic pricing that I wanted to write about. It shouldn’t have been a surprise to find this, and I suspect it’s not especially newsworthy. If anything, it’s a good reminder to to check whether booking individual days could save you money. (By the way, I’ve done this a couple times, even at fancy hotels, and I’ve always had the hotel combine them into one stay, rather than making me check out, vacate the room, and check back in. I suppose that’s a risk, though.)

I’m going to be in town from Friday to Monday, so I looked at the pricing on three hotels for each night, and I averaged those nightly rates for Friday/Saturday, Saturday/Sunday, and Friday-Sunday. I then compared the averages of the daily rates with the average per day that Hyatt displayed when I searched for hotels over the same date range. Here’s the data:

hyattpricing2

So, if you were to book the Grand Hyatt for two nights on Friday and Saturday, you’d pay the same as if you paid the daily rate for both days. However, if you booked it for Saturday and Sunday, you’d pay 20% more than if you booked those days individually. The Hyatt Herald Square always saves you money over the daily rate if you book for multiple days, and the Andaz Wall Street will save you money if you book for two days at a time, but it will charge you more if you book all three days.

I also looked at IHG hotels, and I didn’t see any pricing anomalies like this (the displayed average was always just the average of each individual night). Like I said, I expect that this is a known issue to most frequent travelers, but I was surprised by how much the price can vary versus booking individual nights. A 20% premium to book the Grand Hyatt for two days seems pretty outrageous, but I guess it’s a good way to wring extra revenue out of weekend travelers. I doubt it’s that nefarious, though, since the pricing is all over the place. I’m intrigued enough to look into it further to pan for gold and see if I can find inventory that’s loaded incorrectly. Hey, it happened once!

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