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Are You Kidding? Best Western Sets Super Bowl Rates at $1,000 a Night

December 27, 2013 at 11:33 AM | by | ()

Logic would suggest that, as a notable event approaches, the excitement one feels for attending said event would increase.

The 2014 Super Bowl, however, keeps trending in the opposite direction.

When it was announced that the NFL's championship game, traditionally played in warm weather or in the comfy confines of a dome, would take place outside in North Jersey during the month of February, we scratched our heads. Then when our sister site Jaunted reported that the NFL had put a ban on tailgating for the Super Bowl -- meaning we wouldn't be able to get properly hydrated for the game -- we really dug into our scalp. Potential sub-zero temperatures and no pre-game cocktails? Hmm...

As if it couldn't get any worse, we took a peek at the prices for some of the hotels in the area the other day, just in case Santa happened to leave us a wad of cash in our stocking (he didn't). We were absolutely disgusted to see that the Best Western in West Orange is asking for $1,000 a night for a room that typically costs $100/night. Sorry to single you out Best Western -- we know others are doing this, too -- but then again we're not really sorry. Ten times the normal rate? We know price gouging for events is "nothing new," but at what point does it become offensive?

At the risk of sounding a bit naive, we will go on record to say we are pretty disappointed with how the hotel industry has approached big events in recent years (such as the World Cup, for example). We have no problem with properties who responsibly adjust their prices to demand, but if a $1000/night room at the Best Western isn't enough to convince you that things have gotten out of hand, then we guess the hotel industry has officially brainwashed the consumer into submission. Purchasing a room at that rate is basically telling the hotel industry that they call the shots -- which is absolutely not the case.

Best Western's position and role in the industry has been to serve as a budget hotel for travelers. With this pricing decision, it has completely turned its back on its client base, abandoning its traditional approach in an attempt to make a few extra bucks.

Not cool!

[Photo: Best Western]

Archived Comments:


Could not agree more with this comment.

Revenue Management Trick

As a former hotel Revenue Manager, I see this differently. When you list your property as "Sold Out" with the chain, that means you have to fill every room or face a potential penalty. That means if you have a 100-room hotel but only fill 99 rooms on a "sold out" night, you get penalized. (For the two chains I worked for, "no-shows" didn't count. It had to be a real guest in the room.)

Revenue Managers can use rate and stay controls to effectively close the hotel to new reservations without listing the hotel as "sold out". I tended to use stay controls: A minimum stay requirement of 7 nights always worked because our average length-of-stay was between 2 and 3 nights.

I'd bet that this Best Western isn't actually expecting anyone to pay $1k to stay there. The outrageous rate is simply to keep people from booking new reservations. I'd also guess that while certainly more than there average daily rate, the people have reservations at that hotel aren't going to be paying anything close to $1k.

Capitalism speak for itself

well, personally I choose to stay at budget hotels but this is true, they really are behaving like crazy sometimes. there are lots of options though, you may choose to stay somewhere a little far from the venue place if you dare to use the public transportation. here are a few picks <a href="http://cheaphotelsnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/" title="worth staying">worth staying</a> that I made during my stays. but be sure to read comments before you go.

Capitalism speak for itself

well, it did not work i guess, here is the link: http://cheaphotelsnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/

Other possibility - Diamond Elite BW Rewards guest

Another possibility is this: does BW have a guaranteed availability policy for its top tier (Diamond Elite) Rewards guests?  

If so, the property may be setting its rates intentionally obscenely high on the event a Diamond Elite guest tries to invoke guaranteed reservation.  The hotel would be required to take the reservation even if sold out, meaning potentially walking another guest.  In a Super Bowl situation, walking a guest means walking them a most unpleasant distance away to a hotel that has a room, not to mention expense to the hotel for walking a guest on a guaranteed reservation.  

The hotel probably cannot stop the Diamond member from booking but can set the rate so high the Diamond guest will probably not want the reservation, and hotel avoids a really bad forced overbook situation.  In this case, there may have been a cancellation that happened to open a room and caused the $1K rate to show.

As mentioned above, the hotel probably doesn't expect to actually get $1K reservation but wants to avoid reservations it really cannot take.

Diamond Elite BW Rewards guest

As mentioned above, the hotel probably doesn't expect to actually get $1K reservation but wants to avoid reservations it really cannot take.