Have you ever asked a travel company to match an advertised price from a competitor?
Most airlines are copycats anyway. When one carrier drops the price on a route, the other carriers flying that route will match the lower price. When the sale is over and fares goes back up, they magically go up from all carriers.
In the pre-Internet days, every once in awhile I was able to convince an airline to match a deal from another airline. Not always, but sometimes.
Today, airlines offer a take it or leave it menu of airfares. They would no sooner offer a customer an unadvertised price than they would let you fly the plane.
Rental cars are the same.
Often I will find a tremendous deal with another car rental firm. So, I will use the phone and talk to a representative. They are almost always friendly, professional, and competent. Sometimes they even find a little bit lower rate than I find myself. However, they never match the fantastic deals of other firms. They just don’t.
Lodging is another story.
On road trips, I will pick up hotel coupon books from welcome centers and rest stops (or use the associated mobile app). Surrounding properties often match a competitor’s rate even if they do not have one of the listed coupons. Thus, I will drive by a line of hotels and motels, pick the nicest one, and ask if they will match the lowest rate coupon. Often Yes but sometimes No.
I once made a mistake on a reservation and went to the wrong chain hotel. I drove to the wrong hotel (which was much, much nicer than where I made the reservation) and of course they could not find my reservation. I insisted and even showed my reservation number. The agent said that was not their reservation code and they had no rates matching that.
However, they would extend me a courtesy rate assigned to industry personnel (flight crews). After checking into my room, I dug out my paperwork and saw that my reservation was at a different hotel. Oops. Good thing that it was a reservation that I could cancel without penalty.
Even though I made a mistake by going to the wrong hotel, I felt travel karma helped me out because I was patient and friendly.
Your results may vary. Mine certainly have. There were many other situations where a property did not match a competitor’s rate.
What are your experiences asking for matching rates?
Previous McCool Travel post ====> Co-Terminals
To read previous posts in the Road Trip Diet series click here.
© 2012, Charles McCool