During a two-hour window yesterday, the hotel in Bostonís Back Bay offered up to five rooms for $18 per night through Sept. 24. Those 345 rooms sold out in less than 20 minutes as the hotelís Web site was swarmed by 23,000 hits. The hotelís reservation site averages just 533 daily hits.
Unlike online ticket purchases, which provide buyers a specific amount of time to complete a transaction, the hotel-room buyers had to complete the booking process before the deal was finalized. So if one person was still entering credit-card data to secure an $18 room, another person who typed a bit quicker wouldíve locked up the rare room. That led to many customers seeing error messages and failed transactions - and higher rates.
Ugh, lame. The hotel also put 1,000 rooms up for grabs at a less-exciting (but still discounted) $118, but only sold 450 of those.
The lesson here for us: for gimmicky under-$20 sales like this, have your iCal alert you at least 10 minutes before the sale starts and get the ol' clickin' fingers ready and when you get an error message, abort your mission. It's probably not just your Firefox acting up.