Friday, November 13, 2009

Timing is everything

We've long known that the person sitting next to us in the plane may have paid next-to-nothing for his seat while ours cost an amount equal to a small country's debt. Now the same may be said, to a certain extent, of hotel rooms.

Needing one for a Saturday night in Dallas, I checked the opportunities at a hotel of choice. We'd never stayed there, but it was close to our kids' homes and since we would be seeing them as well as Christmas shopping, it was a prime candidate. It was booked. Choice number 2 belonged to my honors program and so I checked it out. There were choices in accommodations, varying from $99 to $141, depending on bed choice. I printed off the listing, checked with the spouse, and found he agreed that, given the nature of the venture--Christmas shopping--cheaper was better. Two hours later, I'm back online.

And the prices are $10 higher! Higher!

Not to be outdone, I called the hotel's reservations desk. Well, as the very nice clerk explained, there'd been a rush on rooms the last two hours, and so the computers automatically adjusted the prices to make them more valuable.

I could certainly understand that, so I booked before there was a $20 differential.

This morning, I checked again. How high could they go? I wondered. Well, not very. They were back down to $99.

I didn't cancel and rebook, although I thought about it. With my luck, there'd have been another "run" on the rooms while I was doing so. All I can say is: that place had better be full!

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