Hotel chains have striven over the years to displace disintermediators from the booking process with the promise to provide the best rate on the internet with some companies going so far as to guarantee that.
However, the financial news website Marketwatch has a report that a website Hotelscombined.com devoted to price comparisons “that helps travelers’ worldwide search for hotels across a multitude of hotel websites” claims that “hotel websites do not always offer the best available rate. What’s more consumers cannot count on hotel price guarantees as most guarantees must be carefully documented if consumers are planning to file a claim. Even then it can be difficult to extract the guarantee”. Hotelscombined claims to have reviewed internet rates at four hotels across continents: The Hilton New York; Le Meridien Piccadily, London; Best Western, Opera St. Lazare, Paris and the Sydney Harbour Marriott hotel only to find that all had higher internet rates than what was offered compared to what was obtained via their site which “searches established online travel agent sites such as Booking.com, Priceline.com, Hotels.com, Orbitz.com, ReserveTravel.com and hotel chain sites”.
If true, the credibility of hotel online guarantees could melt faster than an ice cube in the summer. The airline industry has various sites such as Yapta that monitor price guarantees and lets consumers know when prices drop among other things. Perhaps an enhanced hotelscombined or similar site will soon attract the interest of price arbitragers to maximize pricing efficiency.