Love your customer and stick it to the repeat buyers, thanks hotels.com

Something that I came across today, that for lack of a better description, just flat out pissed me off. I was booking a hotel room on hotels.com, and found some interesting pricing disparaty when I logged into my hotels.com account on another computer.

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Initially I had searched for available hotels, and found one for $145. I logged into my account in a separate browser, and low and behold, the price went up to $220. Tried from another computer and same result. I could add the hotel to my cart and then login and the price would remain the same.


So basically Hotels.com sticks it to their repeat customers and deliberately delivers them a higher price than someone that just happens to browse their site. I suppose an argument could be made from a pure profit perspective that their customers aren’t going to question the price that they’re shown once they’ve made purchases from them in the past. However, this sort of greedy, and in my opinion deliberately deceiving behavior, is just not acceptable. If I repeat a business, I don’t necessarily expect to be given a better deal, although marketing statistics would support this, but I damn well expect not to be deliberately ripped off.

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  1. Amy Birch 4 Apr, 2013

    This drives me insane. A lot of companies do this, including airlines. Delete your cookies before entering information, and remember to clear them after. That way they can’t over charge you. More people need to know about this. Thanks

  2. Neil Greene 4 Apr, 2013

    I can’t believe this actually happens, I thought it was just me going mad! I had seen a hotel on a work computer to book but then when I came home to book it on my computer the price had gone up by £75. I thought it was just because they had sold more rooms so the price had raised – after reading this, I will join you in being pissed off at hotels.com! Dirty tactics when there are so many other companies offering the online hotel booking service

  3. simon walker 6 Jun, 2013

    I referred my friend to book for a hotel in newyork through hotel.com as I was inspired by the hotel services so decided not to refer him directly and let the hotel.com get some credit as I happened to visit that hotel because of them. And when I said they will be charging $345 and he called me hey! Simon! I am lucky as I am getting it for $235. Now I realize that why it was different, LOL! I ignored that but I believe I should have dug into that. Thanks for sharing the facts.

  4. Angel DeMarc 2 Aug, 2013

    Thanks for this post. I was about to start researching my first major vacation ever. It’s always nice to know the ‘discount’ venues to avoid. Thanks again!

  5. Trevia 21 Aug, 2013

    It could be possible that the price went up in between the time you originally looked for a hotel and logged in. Not making excuses for them, but this has happened to me, and it can happen relatively quickly. If it helps, I now use Expedia which is extremely consistent as far as pricing goes and has some really great deals.

  6. John 23 Aug, 2013

    From my previous experiences in the business field, it really is good to make sure you love your customers, especially the ones that comes repeatedly. As mentioned, Hotels.com show the way businesses should treat their customers is a prime example.

    I’m starting off with my own business, Illumibuy, which is a store for many to come and buy what they like for a very cheap price. The customers are treated with the most respect, and we make sure to give them the best experience possible.

  7. Denise Johnston 29 Aug, 2013

    Thanks for this post. I was about to start digging really deep for my best options but I think you pretty much showed me here what they are. Great post!

  8. Sbazaar 31 Aug, 2013

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your experience with everyone.

  9. Mike 3 Sep, 2013

    I may be the lone person here who disagrees with you on this one. Clearly hotels.com has run metrics that says this works. They are a company trying to make the most money they can. If they have judged this practice to drive more revenue it just means most of their regular customers aren’t as technically adept as you are. As an investor in the company i am all for this practice. As a technical user it makes me upset and I may go elsewhere but clearly there are much less people like us then not using their site.

  10. Charles 11 Sep, 2013

    Just the title alone had great advice! Thanks for a good article on a subject important to me as a consumer.

  11. shopindexer 13 Nov, 2013

    I don’t know if they do this through cookies or their database. If this change is based on cookies, then we need to delete the cookies. But it this is based on their database, we need to register another account.

  12. Joe Rozsa 15 Nov, 2013

    There are so many promotional things that can be done based on customer segmentation that this is only one of them. In many cases that I’ve worked on, customers get segmented based on their previous shopping experience with the site, and then ideally they might get better pricing or some other sort of promotion. It seems hotels.com in this case is putting a larger value on customer acquisition, which admittedly is an expensive cost. It does hurt to see that “loyal” customers may often get the worst deals though. I’ve dealt with that many times, like when Directv gives new customers the NFL Sunday Ticket for free, but long time customers get squat (unless you call and complain, but I digress).

  13. Michael Towner 10 Oct, 2014

    So, if you’re just a potential customer we will give you a great price, but if you are already a customer (already ours) why would we give a discount? Here, pay more because that’s how we do business. These guys are really something!

    It’s great that you had the inspiration of checking this out while you were logged in to your account. Instead of offering you a better priced deal (even if it was $5 off) to make you even more happy to be their client, they chose to add $75 because, why not?!

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