• Report: #105091

Complaint Review: SUPER 8 MOTEL - PHOENIX METRO NORTH

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  • Submitted: Mon, August 23, 2004
  • Updated: Thu, May 26, 2005

  • Reported By:Somerton Arizona
SUPER 8 MOTEL - PHOENIX METRO NORTH
8130 N. BLACK CANYON HWY , PHOENIX, Arizona U.S.A.
  • Phone: 602-995-8451
  • Web:
  • Category: Motels

SUPER 8 MOTEL - PHOENIX METRO NORTH SENIOR CITIZENS RIP-OFF - AARP AND SUPER 8 VIP MEMBER MADE BEST RATE AVAILABLE RESERVATIONS ONLINE - DESK CLERK DID NOT PROVIDE ME WITH CHEAPER WALK-IN PRICE PHOENIX Arizona

*Consumer Comment: Rates fall within a RANGE - you pay for what you get

*Consumer Suggestion: Less a scam than ineptitude

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Initially I made reservations for 1 night 8/20/04 for $36.00 online using www.super 8.com, I selected - Best Available rate, which was $36.00, and included my Super 8 VIP number, and AARP number in my online reservation.

This is a cut and pasted from my email confirmation from Super 8 motel - AARP MEMBER AND SENIOR DISCOUNT DISCOUNTED RATE FOR AARP MEMBERS THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING SUPER EIGHT 36.00/night NONSMOKING ROOM WITH ONE QUEEN BED STANDARD AMENITIES COMFORT AND QUALITY, CANCEL BEFORE 6PM TOTAL ROOM COST 36.00 (United States Dollars).

Upon my arrival at this property from the southeast I parked under the office canopy, I observed a yellow with red lettering 3 foot by 5 foot "from $31.99 1 person" banner hanging from the southwest wall of the building where the office was. I didn't think twice about the banner when I entered the office thinking I was assured my 1 person room was the best rate available. The male clerk treated me with dignity and respect agreeing - Yes, you can get some great deals online. Since my trip plans had changed, I decided to book a second night for 1 person at this property. The clerk never mentioned anything about the difference between my quoted $36.00 and the $31.99 banner price. After paying for my 2 nights I still had no idea I was being duped. Upon returning to my car and driving around to my room , my attention was again was drawn to this Super 8 $31.99 banner. I then saw a lighted sign on the competitor Motel 6 next door beaming their $31.99. It was late afternoon and I just wanted to get settled in to my room.

On 8/21/04, when I went to the office for their continental breakfast - coffee, juice, and a Otis muffin, I asked the desk clerk lady if she could credited me for the difference from my online best $36.00 to the $31.99 banner price, and that I was a VIP and AARP member. The lady looked a my room card and said that there is nothing she can do because I had already booked and paid for the room. She said I should have asked for the discount when I checked in. I also spoke to a male desk clerk he was even less help, and only provided me with a business card with the manager's name JOHN CRUZ. He then suggested if I had a problem I needed to speak with him. I told the male desk clerk that I included my VIP and AARP information on my reservation to identify myself. The male clerk then told me that my room for AARP was listed at $48, and that already $36.00 was a good rate, considering all of the rooms were low prices.

I feel I was discriminated as a senior citizen, that I was a AARP member and was not considered to be provided a $31.99 1 person walk-in rate.

PERHAPS OTHER SENIOR CITIZENS ARE BEING VICTIMIZED AS WELL BY SUPER 8 MOTELS.

William
Somerton, Arizona
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/23/2004 11:54 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/SUPER-8-MOTEL-PHOENIX-METRO-NORTH/PHOENIX-Arizona-85051/SUPER-8-MOTEL-PHOENIX-METRO-NORTH-SENIOR-CITIZENS-RIP-OFF-AARP-AND-SUPER-8-VIP-MEMBER-105091. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Rates fall within a RANGE - you pay for what you get

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

Room rates are like airline rates in many places....the further out you book, you are more likely to get the accommodations you want at a reasonable price.

Rates may go up as the date gets closer or occupancy is higher. Then...if there is a glut of rooms left at the end, rates can go back down.

You book a flight 1 year ahead...great deal. Book 1 month...much higher. Book same day and you could find yourself either shit-out-of luck...or if they have way too many seats...a bargain basement price.

By booking your room/flight early, you ensure you are not shut out and you are not gambling that there will be a "last minute" room available. You pay for that lack of risk with a higher rate. People who gamble may end up without a room at all...or one at a far lower price if they are just "dumping" the last room or two...or hundred.

The previous response was somewhat accurate, but I too have been in the industry quite awhile from resort places like Lake Placid NY (room rates vary by $100 in any given week or day for the same room) to San Franscisco to Fort Lauderdale to Chicago.

Now...the "range" of rates are to be posted on the door of the room by law. If it falls outside that range, then you can bitch about it. Otherwise...just your risk game not played well.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Less a scam than ineptitude

AUTHOR: Garry - (U.S.A.)

on the part of the motel. I understand your concern that you and other seniors may be targetted for a scam, but my professional experience based on 20 plus yrs of lodging management (note so much as a day of it with Super 8, which incidently is the target of 18 of the 92 reports in the motel section of this site. That is a huge percentage and suggests something is way wrong with the chain) is that this motel hadn't figured out its rate stratigies.

I'm offering what follows as some consumer info that folks can use to protect themselves in the future.

Issue number one about rates found online and via 800 numbers. These rates are commissionable and feeable to the individual motels. You can expect the motel to make a maximum of 90% of the rev they charge you for your room. Depending on the agreements in place (and I don't know Super 8's fee structure with its toll free number, the motel may be charged commission on the booked rate rather than any lower rate negoticated at the property after the resv is made. As such, this motel may have been contracted to pay Super 8 fees and commissions off the $36 rate EVEN if it cut your rate to $31. The money saving key for the traveler, after finding an attractive rate on line, is to call the motel and inquire as to whether they are offering a lower rate for a direct resv. Motels MAY pass their savings in commisons and such on to you.

Next question to ask when making a resv is 'What is your policy if you drop your rate between now and my arrival date?' If there is a promise to drop yours too, ask them to confirm this by email (you should also ask that any resv made via phone be forewarded to you via email. . .this gives you a hard copy of what otherwise is just a verbal quote and can deteriorate into he said/she said garbage.

It sounds to me as though this motel was selling one rate to walk-ins and a second rate, with the commission/fee load built in, through comm based outlets. From a cost end I can understand how they couldn't reduce your first night, since they aren't in postion perhaps to cover they net if they have to deduct fees from the $31 rate, but they should have given you the lower rate on the second night.

This issue is one that the lodging industry as a whole is somewhat unsettled on. Yield management methods borrowed from the models which have worked to varrying degrees of effect within the air travel industry have been adopted by the lodging industry. This flies against the intuitive thinking of many travelers - even those quite savy at shopping air travel rates - who believe that all motel rooms of the same type should carry the same price tag. In reality motel managers try to manuver rates, via time, booking venue, and stay characteristics in order to max out the revenue from each room. Essentially it is market ecconomics in action, and when it is done properly it works quite well. When it is done improperly it works horridly.

One of the big issues is 'what happens when the motel has empty rooms tonight?' when there are 6 or 7 hours left to do business, otherwise the rm sets empty and the chance of renting it that night is shot. The response is to dump rooms on the mkt at rates that barely cover costs. Better to get something than get nothing. Same thing happens if the motel next door is advertising a low price. .. like gas wars of old, everyone else at the exit that plans to compete on price has to match or beat it.

So, the property has resvs for that day with rates sold at $5, 20, and $50 above the final dump price. Some of these higher rates are in fact discounted rates (say rack is $70 at the time, AARP disc becomes $63, but at 5pm the motel might throw its 10 remaining empty rooms on the market at $50 for anyone, just to move em.

My view is that this is akin to an airline dumping seats for standby passenegers. . .the people who seek rock bottom, but also assume the risk they might not get a seat at all. In my ecconomic model the person who makes a resv is paying, among other things, for the no sweat assurance that his/her room is taken care of, that by reserving early they were able to get the jaccuzi and the view and all the rest of the bell and whistle package rather than pot lucking into the room beside the elevator. The person who travels without resv may luck into a low rate, or he may run into 'no vacancy' after 'no vacancy'.

The problem - and I agree that it is a problem - that like Adam Smith's market forces model in general, it presumes equal and perfect knowledge from all parties. Guests don't see it this way, they believe that if they reserve at $60 and arrive to see a walkin getting $50 that they too should have $50. This is not an unreasonable view, consider Circuit City which retros prices downward if you bought an item 30 days before it went on sale.

The motel side of this arguement is that we may need to avg $55 on each occupied room to meet our revenue targets. As such, we were only able to drop a rate to $50 b/c we already had a $60 locked in. We can't rent both rooms (the resv and the walk-in) at $50. That said, the guest with some reason replys 'cover your costs with someone else, I brought my business to you first, I deserve better treatment than the walk in'

So, it becomes a dilema. . . one that is less about what goes on in a motel rate meeting than what goes on inside customers heads. For consumers by and large have tended to accept that 200 passengers on a plane may be paying 200 different rates for 200 different reasons, but they have a different set of expectations for what they're charged by motels.

This gulf of opinion needs to be bridged, either by motels becoming more responsive to cusumer expectations and simplifying and standardizing rates, or doing some educational work - starting at the front desk level with curteous and informed geust service reps - so that guests can see how this system benefits them.

Yes, benefits them. For while it might seem that my offering a low rate to a couple late arriving walkins cheats my other guests, my view is that bieng able to make an extra 2-3% on the margins over the course of the year helps fund upgrades to the facility . . . meaning better products for my guests. Shave my ability to make the final $300 of the day and I might have to up my other rates to compensate for those loses. Yes, that knowledge that I can bring in my last $300 via low rates for midnight arrivals helps me keep the rate on another room at $89 rather than $99 when reserved a week out.

My advice to consumers is that the moment the clerk can't resolve a rate issue for you, demand to speak with someone who can. The reason the clerk can't resolve it is b/c mgmt itself hasn't resolved the inherent contradictions in its pricing philosophy. Consider Cxl'ing your resv and go elsewhere if need be (make sure your credit card is aware of your reasons in anticipation of a no show chg which you'll need the cc company to treat like a red headed stepchild). . .but before that, this is where it helps to have the aforementioned email where the motel's policy on honoring (or not honoring) downward rate adjustments after the time of the resv.
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