Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Beware of lodging price gouging

22 replies to this topic

#1 Ni28_Stars

Ni28_Stars

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2018
  • Loc: Broken Arrow, Ok

Posted 29 September 2023 - 03:41 PM

I made a online reservation for 3 nights at a property in the eclipse path for $130 per night. They came back and now want $250 per night with a 4 night minimum. Capitalism at its worst.



#2 kfiscus

kfiscus

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8,104
  • Joined: 09 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA

Posted 29 September 2023 - 04:49 PM

I'd cancel- they made a deal and are breaking it.  There are still other options, especially if you are willing to camp farther away from the center line and move in wherever the weather allows.  Good luck.


  • Jim Haley likes this

#3 SkipW

SkipW

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,433
  • Joined: 03 Feb 2011
  • Loc: Oklahoma, USA

Posted 29 September 2023 - 04:55 PM

Join the club.

 

I had a room for $78/night. The property called a couple weeks later saying telling me it was going to be changed to $399 per (maybe $499... I forget) and told me that new price was a bargain; I had to agree to the change or the reservation would be cancelled. I told them to shove it and found another room later that day, at a better place, for about $160/night. 

 

I used to stay at that first company's properties (Wyndham) quite often when traveling. I plan to never stay at one again.


Edited by SkipW, 29 September 2023 - 04:57 PM.


#4 Bryguy

Bryguy

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 270
  • Joined: 12 Dec 2006
  • Loc: Frederick, MD

Posted 29 September 2023 - 09:41 PM

I made a online reservation for 3 nights at a property in the eclipse path for $130 per night. They came back and now want $250 per night with a 4 night minimum. Capitalism at its worst.

How long ago did you make the original reservation? Can you tell us in which state and what property it is? It would be helpful to keep track of these shenanigans.



#5 columbidae

columbidae

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 350
  • Joined: 08 Sep 2022
  • Loc: Texas

Posted 29 September 2023 - 09:59 PM

This isn't a good sign regarding traffic...



#6 BarrySimon615

BarrySimon615

    Pa Bear

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,786
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2004
  • Loc: New Orleans, LA

Posted 30 September 2023 - 04:43 PM

Based upon going thru the reservation exercise back in 2017, I offer the following advise, which, of course, is likely too late now for the upcoming April 8th, 2024 eclipse.

 

1) When a reservation is made, get your rate in writing.  As rooms start to disappear I can understand why rates can go up however earlier reservations should not be modified.  Some people making reservations are totally unaware of the eclipse so it is even harder for them to understand a rate increase.  Additionally a 4 night minimum makes no sense at all.

 

2) I assume that all jacked up crazy rates are at locations within the path of totality with locations closer to the actual center line the most expensive of all.  Accordingly perhaps the best option for all looking for accommodations will be at a location outside of the path of totality that has reasonable prices.  Additionally a little homework should be done to see what highways might be available to parallel the path of totality.  You never know when you might need to chase clear skies to see the eclipse.  We were prepared to do that in 2017.  Luckily we did have clear skies at our location about 20 miles to the east of Jefferson City, MO.

 

3) For this eclipse I will be in or near Dallas, TX.  Both of my daughters live there and the western shore of White Rock Lake is just about 3/4 mile from my eldest daughter's home.  My location has parking, restroom facilities, some shade and unobstructed areas to set up.  I will be able to share the eclipse with my daughters, their husbands and my grandchildren.

 

Barry Simon


Edited by BarrySimon615, 30 September 2023 - 11:10 PM.

  • Jim Haley likes this

#7 kasprowy

kasprowy

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 568
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2021
  • Loc: Chicago

Posted 30 September 2023 - 04:48 PM

For the April 2024 total eclipse I paid $14 to camp in a state park in southern Illinois, with a 50%-55% chance of clouds vs Texas' 45%-50%. I never understood the rush to be in Texas, and the associated gouging. Also, if anyone is looking try the World Shooting Complex in Sparta, IL. They have over a thousand campsites, most probably still unreserved. But they may "gouge" there, like $20 or $22. I watched the 2017 eclipse there. It was fantastic.

Edited by kasprowy, 30 September 2023 - 04:58 PM.


#8 Nicole Sharp

Nicole Sharp

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,651
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2018
  • Loc: Cumberland, Maryland, USA

Posted 04 October 2023 - 05:01 PM

I made a online reservation for 3 nights at a property in the eclipse path for $130 per night. They came back and now want $250 per night with a 4 night minimum. Capitalism at its worst.

I got lucky.  I made my hotel reservation 366 days before the April 2024 Total Solar Eclipse and then the very next day, 365 days before the eclipse, the rates tripled!

 

Little tip for future eclipses: you cannot reserve hotels more than 365 days in advance online.  What I did instead was call the hotel directly to make the reservation.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 04 October 2023 - 05:02 PM.


#9 Nicole Sharp

Nicole Sharp

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,651
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2018
  • Loc: Cumberland, Maryland, USA

Posted 04 October 2023 - 05:04 PM

Join the club.

 

I had a room for $78/night. The property called a couple weeks later saying telling me it was going to be changed to $399 per (maybe $499... I forget) and told me that new price was a bargain; I had to agree to the change or the reservation would be cancelled. I told them to shove it and found another room later that day, at a better place, for about $160/night. 

 

I used to stay at that first company's properties (Wyndham) quite often when traveling. I plan to never stay at one again.

I reserved a Wyndham hotel but they gave me a good rate and haven't tried to contact me for any price-gouging.  What happened to you does not seem ethical or legal.  That may be something the hotel manager did independently without Wyndham's authorization.  You should file a complaint with Wyndham and also with the Better Business Bureau.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 04 October 2023 - 05:05 PM.

  • NickLandis2023 likes this

#10 Nicole Sharp

Nicole Sharp

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,651
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2018
  • Loc: Cumberland, Maryland, USA

Posted 04 October 2023 - 05:06 PM

How long ago did you make the original reservation? Can you tell us in which state and what property it is? It would be helpful to keep track of these shenanigans.

I reserved in Erie (Pennsylvania) but I don't have high hopes about the weather there in April 2024.



#11 SkipW

SkipW

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,433
  • Joined: 03 Feb 2011
  • Loc: Oklahoma, USA

Posted 04 October 2023 - 07:43 PM

I reserved a Wyndham hotel but they gave me a good rate and haven't tried to contact me for any price-gouging.  What happened to you does not seem ethical or legal.  That may be something the hotel manager did independently without Wyndham's authorization.  You should file a complaint with Wyndham and also with the Better Business Bureau.

I definitely agree that was not ethical and certainly poor business practice. Whether or not it's legal depends on what the reservation agreement says.

 

When I got the call asking me if wanted to rebook at 6 times the original rate, or cancel, I asked if I could think about it for a week and they said yes. During that time I looked for the reservation agreement online and - not surprisingly - there are weasel words in it, so I doubt I could win a lawsuit. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm not going to pay for one or invest a lot of time, emotion, and effort in what looks like a very long shot. I also got in touch with corporate and they gave me a not exactly rude, but hardly polite, brush off.

 

Meanwhile, I located a room elsewhere, still well within the path but not as close to the center line, for their standard rate which is about twice the rate I had booked the original room for, this for a much better room in a better property than a Super 8, anyway. When they called me back for my answer I told them to buzz off and that I'd never darken their door again, nor any of their sister properties, some of which I had considered good value and used to frequent fairly often when traveling. No more.


Edited by SkipW, 04 October 2023 - 07:49 PM.


#12 Nicole Sharp

Nicole Sharp

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,651
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2018
  • Loc: Cumberland, Maryland, USA

Posted 05 October 2023 - 03:01 PM

Explore Scientific says:

 

"Sadly some people who had made early reservations in advance of the 2017 total eclipse found that their lower-priced reservations were cancelled only to become available at a new higher price.  ...[A]ny business owner is free to cancel orders and change prices for products or services without notice in the United States...."

 

https://explorescien...es-expeditions/

 

So apparently it is legal for a hotel to cancel your reservation unless you agree to pay a new higher price.  That is awful and should be illegal.  Eclipse chasers should organize a letter-writing campaign to elected representatives to get a new law passed that requires businesses to honor any reservations made in advance.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 05 October 2023 - 03:03 PM.


#13 Alan D. Whitman

Alan D. Whitman

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 470
  • Joined: 14 Oct 2020
  • Loc: South of Penticton, British Columbia

Posted 05 October 2023 - 06:04 PM


So apparently it is legal for a hotel to cancel your reservation unless you agree to pay a new higher price.  That is awful and should be illegal.  Eclipse chasers should organize a letter-writing campaign to elected representatives to get a new law passed that requires businesses to honor any reservations made in advance.

But in another post you said: "The bigger problem is that the website says there are no cancelations or refunds.  That is just not practical.  I have no idea where I am going for the Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14 and could end up anywhere from Texas to Utah.  All of my hotel reservations have free cancelation so I can change plans at the last minute."

 

Many eclipse-chasers who vehemently object to a hotel cancelling their eclipse reservation have stated on Cloudynights that they have made numerous reservations all along the path, and that they are planning to cancel most of those reservations just before the eclipse based on the weather, and so leaving most of the hotels that they are dealing with, without a customer at this time of many eclipse-travellers. And that also results in other eclipse-chasers being told that all the hotels along the path are full when many of those reservations will be cancelled at the last minute.

 

Perhaps the law that you want should state that rooms that are fully paid for in advance cannot be cancelled and sold to others willing to pay more.


Edited by Alan D. Whitman, 05 October 2023 - 06:11 PM.

  • SteveInNZ likes this

#14 Nicole Sharp

Nicole Sharp

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,651
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2018
  • Loc: Cumberland, Maryland, USA

Posted 05 October 2023 - 06:45 PM

But in another post you said: "The bigger problem is that the website says there are no cancelations or refunds.  That is just not practical.  I have no idea where I am going for the Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14 and could end up anywhere from Texas to Utah.  All of my hotel reservations have free cancelation so I can change plans at the last minute."

 

Many eclipse-chasers who vehemently object to a hotel cancelling their eclipse reservation have stated on Cloudynights that they have made numerous reservations all along the path, and that they are planning to cancel most of those reservations just before the eclipse based on the weather, and so leaving most of the hotels that they are dealing with, without a customer at this time of many eclipse-travellers. And that also results in other eclipse-chasers being told that all the hotels along the path are full when many of those reservations will be cancelled at the last minute.

 

Perhaps the law that you want should state that rooms that are fully paid for in advance cannot be cancelled and sold to others willing to pay more.

I considered reserving multiple hotels all along the eclipse path but I decided that it's too complicated and it felt unethical to make reservations that I knew I will have to cancel.  It is the same problem with free returns.  People abuse the system and buy things just to try them out without the intention of keeping them.  It is legal but not ethical.

 

I would consider this an issue of consent.  The business can provide their consent to allow the customer to cancel a reservation, which is a common practice.  But the business should also have the informed consent of the customer in order to cancel the customer's reservation.  Businesses who want to be able to cancel the reservations of customers simply need to make sure that they have their customers' informed consent that either party can cancel the reservation, not just the customer.  Requiring the consent of the customer in order for a business to cancel a reservation may actually be quite profitable for the business --- customers will pay for a reservation that either party can cancel but might pay even more for a reservation that only they can cancel.

 

The fact that many people are surprised and frustrated when their reservations are canceled shows that they are not informed.  At minimum, a law should be passed requiring businesses to inform customers at the time of their reservation that their reservation may be canceled by the business.  Even if it is legal, I have never seen this advertised or made public before.



#15 Nicole Sharp

Nicole Sharp

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,651
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2018
  • Loc: Cumberland, Maryland, USA

Posted 05 October 2023 - 07:28 PM

Every time you cancel a reservation, that is logged with the company, the same as for product returns.  I have heard that some companies will refuse to accept returns for people who abuse the system and return products frequently.  I wonder if hotels are more likely to cancel reservations for people who they know are frequent cancelers themselves?  I would be curious to know if people who have had reservations canceled on them by the hotel have a history of canceling reservations themselves.

 

I think I read once that for example first-time customers at a hotel get flagged in the hotel computer system so that the hotel employees know it is the customer's first stay there and they make an extra effort for a good first impression to try to get the customer back again.  I would speculate that a customer that cancels frequently could get flagged in the hotel computer system and then might be the first to get canceled on by the hotel.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 05 October 2023 - 07:33 PM.


#16 xonefs

xonefs

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,062
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2020

Posted 05 October 2023 - 07:37 PM

Any time this happens name and shame the hotel. What is the point of being vague about it?

 

 

Comfort Inn in Gatesville, TX cancelled my $130 a night reservation and everyone else's claiming they were closing the hotel for sprinkler reservations. I'm waiting to see when they start posting the rooms available again or I'm wondering if they rented the whole place out for a private event. 



#17 jrussell

jrussell

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 305
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2021
  • Loc: DFW Texas

Posted 09 October 2023 - 10:37 AM

I had a reservation at the Comfort Inn in Gatesville as well, but a few days before they cancelled everyone's reservations I cancelled mine as I had decided on a different plan. If you're ok with camping, the Corps of Engineers parks started accepting reservations for the days around the eclipse over the weekend. There were a few different ones I was looking at and reserved mine Saturday morning. After looking again this morning though, there are still several sites available. I think it's still a month or so before the state parks start taking reservations.



#18 stomias

stomias

    Vostok 1

  • ****-
  • Posts: 147
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Blue Island IL

Posted Today, 10:54 AM

Any time this happens name and shame the hotel. What is the point of being vague about it?

 

 

Comfort Inn in Gatesville, TX cancelled my $130 a night reservation and everyone else's claiming they were closing the hotel for sprinkler reservations. I'm waiting to see when they start posting the rooms available again or I'm wondering if they rented the whole place out for a private event. 

$898 a night!!



#19 Phillip Creed

Phillip Creed

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,490
  • Joined: 25 Jul 2006
  • Loc: Canal Fulton, OH

Posted Today, 01:05 PM

$898 a night!!

This is why I never even considered lodging along the centerline.  All that matter is where you are for up to four select minutes.  Where you wake up or fall asleep is irrelevant...except in the wallet.  I live in NE Ohio at roughly 11% umbral depth.  I'll likely drive an hour or so for longer totality.  Plan B is starting E-Day in Jonesboro, Arkansas, right on the edge of the path to lower the chances of such price shenanigans.

$900 is bad enough if you have to pay that monthly to keep your car out of the Repo Depot.  900 per NIGHT is a hard no.

Clear Skies,

Phil


Edited by Phillip Creed, Today, 01:05 PM.

  • stomias and jrussell like this

#20 Daniel Dance

Daniel Dance

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,005
  • Joined: 08 Jun 2016
  • Loc: Eastern United States

Posted Today, 03:13 PM

I made a online reservation for 3 nights at a property in the eclipse path for $130 per night. They came back and now want $250 per night with a 4 night minimum. Capitalism at its worst.

I guess you're not too well versed in economics.

 

There is nothing wrong with price gouging, and in fact, it is a good thing for many reasons.  For one thing, it prevents shortages of the commodity in question.  Because of that price gouging, it will likely keep some vacancies in key areas.  And also, if prices were kept low, then everyone would be booking multiple places, which then reduces supply again.  It also provides incentives to other individuals / companies, or what have you, to provide additional accomodations.  If the prices were kept the same, there would be no incentive for this and you'd end up with a shortage worse than it is now.

Remember - supply vs. demand.  As demand goes up, so do prices. 



#21 MEE

MEE

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 749
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2010

Posted Today, 04:28 PM

It’s not price gouging unless a business is significantly raising prices on necessary goods and services due to a disaster

This is different- just people taking advantage of the opportunity for extra money.

I’m not defending it, but just clearing up the terminology

Also, if people are willing to pay $700+ per night, when they can easily book for a lower price near the edge of the path or just outside (with the intention of driving in), then that’s on them
  • jrussell likes this

#22 timelapser

timelapser

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 92
  • Joined: 21 Oct 2022

Posted Today, 04:31 PM

I think the main complaint hasn't been about the high prices per se, but about hotels cancelling low-rate reservations and hiking the prices to rebook substantially, whether the practice is legal or not.  Why should people have to scurry around late looking for a new reservation after having booked well in advance with forethought, just because a hotel hadn't been aware of an event that was sure to be high demand and which was predicted decades ago?



#23 AstroFalcon

AstroFalcon

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 236
  • Joined: 30 Dec 2012
  • Loc: Colorado Springs, CO

Posted Today, 08:30 PM

I had a similar experience. I had an AirBnB booked in Waco, but rather than raising the rates and forcing me to rebook at a higher rate, the owner of the property just delisted it, forcing a cancellation. So we switched gears, found a less expensive AirBnB in St. Louis and will now drive into Illinois for totality.

Keith



Reply to this topic



  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics