Dynamic pricing for the super bowl

The New York Times reports that a three-night stay over Super Bowl weekend at the Ramada Limited Airport North in Phoenix went for a cool $2,382.78 while cautioning that the “deal” may no longer be available! Dynamic pricing is increasingly accepted by hotel guests but almost always with resignation especially during high traffic events like the Super Bowl. The Times notes that “the swankier hotels and resorts in the Phoenix area, of course, have been booked for months, or even years, for next Sunday’s game. But the astonishing room rates that even roadside properties are demanding say something about the three-day spectacle the Super Bowl has become.” The Ramada Limited cited in the article is indeed a roadside hotel and the internet gives adequate warning of what to expect. Presumably, given full disclosure, guests are voluntarily paying nearly $800 a night but that is unlikely to translate into a complaint free stay given the excessively high rates. Hotel owners are free to set their own prices under virtually any franchise system and, most likely, Ramada’s owners, Wyndham Worldwide, had nothing to do with rate setting for the Super Bowl but that is where the complaints will end up.

An interesting variation from the by now standard dynamic pricing policy is one followed by Travelodge in the UK. Some owners of the chain in London charge a fixed rate for all rooms and then levy a ““transparent event premium” of upto 40 pounds. With a continual stream of events in London every day, the premium almost always gets levied resulting in complaints that the “advertised rate” is never available!

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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