I recently booked a hotel for business directly through the Marriott website. Having previously conducted some analysis to determine whether it is best to book direct or through hotels.com and concluded that in the UK, direct is best. I thus didn’t feel the need to hunt around for the best rate and was also reassured by the existence of the Marriott Best Rate Guarantee.
Marriott v Hotels.com
Perhaps it was pure look on the day I did my research. Pure curiosity drove me to check the prices on hotels.com and discover that I could book my room for just £80 on the site compared to the £93 I had paid. Shock, horror! I couldn’t cancel my Marriott room as it was non-refundable, but I knew I could resort to the Best Rate Guarantee.
Best Rate Guarantee
On check in the following day, I explained the situation with my booking. I wrongly assumed that the hotel would simply reimburse me the difference, plus the 25% discount you receive should you find the same room on another site for a lower price.
Invoking the Best Rate Guarantee
Instead, I was advised to log on to Marriott and complete the online form. No proof of your cheaper room find is requested, so I assumed that this would be a pretty quick process. I figured they would simply do an online search to verify and then refund me the monies.
You have to be kidding, right?
First, I struggled to find the exact page to fill out the form. It seems to be hidden away. Perhaps to dissuade claims? Once I eventually tracked it down and filled it out, I pressed submit and waited. And waited.
That was last Wednesday (1st march) and still I’m waiting. The idea is that to qualify, you must have found the room cheaper elsewhere within 24 hours. Given it is now a week since I submitted my claim, how can Marriott possibly verify whether I had found a rate cheaper elsewhere now? After all, those rates will have disappeared from the system surely?
The website specifically says they will contact me within 24 hours but nada!
So is the Best Rate Guarantee any use? At this moment in time, I’m not too convinced.
What do you think?
Personally I don’t feel this is acceptable but maybe I am just incredibly impatient (for the record, I so am!). What do you think? Has anyone else invoked the Best Rate Guarantee and what was your experience. Frankly, I’m not feeling confident of a response and think the response time is pretty crap.