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BEST PRICE GUARANTEE - Fact or Fiction

Best price guarantees that are just tripe

Article by Patrick Collinson - The Guardian - Sat 28 Feb 2015

Booking.com has a “lowest price guarantee”. Expedia has a “best price guarantee”. Rentalcars.com says: “Best Car Rental Prices – Guaranteed!” But they are barely worth the pixels they are written on.

I can guarantee that, because I’ve just been booking my summer holiday in the Med. The hotel I wanted flashed up on Booking.com at £544, proclaiming that it was a “value deal” with only two rooms left. Plastered all over the site are various lures. “Lock in a great price ... prices may go up ... secure your reservation ... best price for two guests £544 ... best price guaranteed.” There’s even a crummy new line which says: “You’re saving an extra 10% on this hotel because, Patrick Collinson, you’re a booking Genius.”

It’s tripe, of course. I went on to the hotel’s own website last week and the cost was £466 – 15% less than Booking.com’s best offer. And, when I last checked, there were still rooms available.

The trust I once had in TripAdvisor is also fast evaporating. It now appears desperate to list the hotels or B&Bs where it has a deal to sell you a room, rather than bring your attention to what other travellers rate as best.

The B&B I had my eye on, top-ranked according to fellow travellers, fell towards the bottom of the page when I put in my dates. “We can’t find prices for this accommodation,” it said, while keenly making me aware of other hotels, where, presumably, it can earn a commission. When I rang the B&B I had no problem for the dates I wanted.

And who at TripAdvisor thought up “Just for You”. Whenever I search I’m no longer shown the top-rated hotels, but the ones that TripAdvisor thinks are best for me. I don’t know what algorithms it uses, but the ones it shows me are nearly always at the pricey end.

Now for car hire. I actually quite like the prices on Rentalcars.com, and have used it in the past. Its cheapest for six days from Marseille airport for the dates I wanted was £104.23. “This car is likely to sell out soon,” the site shouted. I’d better book now, because “a customer from the UK has just booked a car at this location” began flashing up in the corner of the screen. But over at Holiday Autos the same make, from the same rental provider, was £96.56 – some 8% cheaper than Rentalcars.com, despite the “best price guaranteed” line.

And flights? “Secure incredible value with Expedia’s Best Price Guarantee”, it says. The flight I wanted came up at £94.60. On the airline’s own site it was £89.60. These “best price” promises are, indeed, incredible.

News Archive

Man's Best Friend

BOOKING PROTECT - Peace of Mind when Booking with Highland Club Direct

Book Our Facilities

Discover Wild Swimming near Loch Ness | Highland Club Direct

Harry Potter Experience - Highland Club Direct

Etape Cycling Event | Highland Club Direct

SWIMMING POOL OPENING TIMES 2024

Loch Ness Marathon - October 1st 2024

SEASONS GREETING - SPECIAL FESTIVE PACKAGES

Book a Loch Ness Staycation

Stay Longer

LOCH NESS 360 Challenge

ON SITE BOATHOUSE RESTAURANT INFORMATION

ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT WHEN YOU BOOK WITH HIGHLAND CLUB DIRECT

GLENFINNAN VIADUCT

NEW LOCH NESS CRUISE VESSEL

SOUTH LOCH NESS TRAIL - ROUTE

BEST PRICE GUARANTEE - Fact or Fiction

FORT AUGUSTUS LOCH NESS

RECIPE OF THE MONTH -

THE BEST SINGLE MALT WHISKY TO SAMPLE ON YOUR HOLIDAY