how to beat Expedia at its own game

I welcome the challenge. Sometimes clients email me with price quotes from Expedia. I know from experience I can usually do much better for them at luxury properties.

A client wanted to book a two night stay at a major luxury hotel in Shanghai, China. He found an unbelievably low rate on Expedia. I looked into Expedia's deal and found that it came with some significant drawbacks:
  • The entire stay would be charged to his credit card at the time of the reservation (including taxes and fees, which were not mentioned in the low price quoted).
  • Any revisions or cancellations would cost $25.
  • Cancellations within 24 hours of arrival result in a forfeiture of the entire amount prepaid.
I was able to beat Expedia's deal in at least eight ways:

1. Price. I could match Expedia's price.

2. No pre-payment. No need to pre-pay the entire reservation... only a credit card guarantee was required. The client kept his money in his own bank account, earning interest, instead of giving Expedia the use of his funds.

3. Flexibility. The reservation I made can be changed or canceled without any cancellation fees.

4. Better cancellation policy. The deadline is 6 p.m. on the day of arrival, not 24 hours prior, and the penalty would be one night's charge, not the entire stay.

As this was a Virtuoso property, I was able to provide the following amenities at no extra charge:

5. An upgrade at the time of booking to the next room category.

6. Complimentary buffet breakfast for two every morning.

7. Complimentary Club Lounge access (providing all day food and beverage presentations, afternoon tea, cocktails, and more).

8. Customer service. Why were this hotel's rates were so low? That question concerned my client and me. Was the hotel undergoing renovations? I telephoned the Sales Manager, asked the question, and she set our minds at ease. The property was only three years old. The low room rate was simply the case of a hotel in low season (low demand) in a city with many hotels (high supply).

Even in this age of shopping the internet
, a Virtuoso luxury travel consultant offers real value. I prove that every day.

Virtuoso luxury travel consultant (Search here on google)

copyright (c) 2007 by David J. Ourisman. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.


Anonymous said...

It is esay to beat EXPEDIA's customer service. They are absolutely awful. Read complaints from EXPEDIA's customers at: http://www.expedianews.com

Don said...

I'm enjoying this blog, and especially enjoyed this post. Hope you don't mind if I borrow credited excerpts from you in the future! Keep up the good work!