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Marriot Now Screwing Over Press Who Will be Covering Amazon’s Launch Event

Amazon sent out invitations yesterday for their next press conference. It’s happening 2 weeks from yesterday in Santa Monica, Calif.

I will of course be going, and thanks to the long flight I’ll be coming in the night before and staying at a local hotel. For the sake of convenience I decided to stay at one of Amazon’s picked hotels and use their shuttle bus.

While none of that is newsworthy, I wanted to take a moment today and point that I’m getting screwed on the hotel charges.

I bought my plane ticket yesterday, but I held off on the hotel room so I could get the better rate that Amazon had negotiated with the hotels.

Stupid me; I should have registered immediately. I just got off the phone with Marriott, and the base rate for a hotel room at the Marina del Rey Marriott is now $270. Amazon knocked that down to $250, a minor discount. The thing is, yesterday the price was $200 for the same room. (And if I want to stay Friday night, the cost is suddenly down to $200 again.)

Yes, Marriott jacked the price up by $70 overnight. I’m getting screwed on the price, and I’m calling out Marriott for price-gouging.

Now, I’m still going to pay it, but I’m also sharing this as a learning experience. If you can, register before the hotel knows about an event. That way they won’t have a chance to jack up the price.

Update: My Amazon contact gave me a direct link with the correct discount code. Now I’m only being gouged out of an extra $30.

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Mike Cane August 24, 2012 um 12:37 pm

Ha! I just saw a report about something like this on TV about two weeks ago. It involved hotels jacking up their prices for people who were displaced by a big fire. If they can, they will bleed you.

Legal Minimum August 24, 2012 um 1:11 pm

Nate: Book it, but watch back to see if the pricing changes. This is more a rule for flights than hotels but it works: book mid-week for the best rates. You’re booking on a Friday which is when most leisure travelers are booking and leisure travelers are less price-sensitive than business travelers (surprisingly except maybe not: leisure travelers don’t have corporate policies). So unless you prepay the room you might be able to cancel and rebook at a lower rate.

Also think about investing the $50 in TripIt if you fly a lot: it monitors the prices of things for you and tells you if there’s a price break. I’ve made about $700 with it this year.

Peter August 24, 2012 um 1:11 pm

Could you get a different hotel and just taxi it over? I’m thinking that would be less than the $70 price difference.

But there may be other advantages to staying in an approved hotel.

Nate Hoffelder August 24, 2012 um 1:36 pm

Yes I could.

But I chose the approved hotels because it would be easier to get to the event. This is one of those times where one less headache is worth the cost. Also, I was thinking it would make it easier to meet colleagues and gossip.

Eric Welch August 24, 2012 um 2:24 pm

This is normal. If you look on Orbitz, or one of the other hotel booking sites, you’ll see that rates often vary by day of the week, whether a conference is in town, etc., and booking during the week or ahead of time makes little difference. Demand drives the price up, simple.

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