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Are Expedia Deals Always a Great Deal?

By  +Follow September 17, 2013 12:34PM
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Editor's note: The following is a firsthand account of a recent experience with Expedia.com's booking system from writer Andrew Klips.

As any good marketer would do, Expedia.com (EXPE) bombards visitors with a bevy of links on its home page that can be a bit dizzying, unless you want to just click on the prominent “Plan Your Trip on Expedia” interface at the top, which is likely what most people do.  An Expedia user myself, a recent experience harkened the question, “Is this really a deal?” and compelled me to share and let dealseekers know that they should take a closer look and perform their due diligence before they hit the “buy” button.

Let me explain with a couple images.  This is an actual confirmation of a reservation for three nights at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The room is called a “Queen Superior” and the cost was $379 per night. Seems like a fair deal and certainly comparable in cost to other hotels in the area. Way to go Expedia, you got me a great deal. Or did they?

 

Needing to add another day to the trip led to a call to Expedia only to be informed that they didn’t have the same room available. Understand that Expedia purchases blocks of rooms from hotels at a discounted rate and then sells them to consumers, so I understand that they could be out of that particular room for that day. But for me, it meant that I would have to get a different room for one night and then check out/check back in the next day into a different room. Not exactly what I wanted to do, and the cost for a different room was $499 for that extra night. I wasn’t actually told what type of room it was, but after a call to the Waldorf, we surmised that it was a “King Deluxe” and it was at the same price that the Waldorf charges guests. I also learned that the cost of the “deal” for the “Queen Superior” of $379 per night was the same price that the Waldorf charges.

A call to Expedia again – which connected me with a call center (in the Philippines, I was told) – started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Speaking to a supervisor, I of course questioned the pricing model and requested a better deal that was beneath the cost that the Waldorf was charging. That was a moot request because I was informed that was not happening. Upset, I cancelled the Expedia reservations and made them directly through the Waldorf, getting four days in the same room at the same price as going through Expedia. There were no cancellation fees involved.

So, now I decided to investigate the matter a bit more by picking a random future date and checking prices on Expedia and double-checking with the Waldorf. Here’s an image of the Expedia search:


Sure looks like a great deal, right? In fact, getting a 4-1/2 star hotel (nonetheless the Waldorf in Midtown NYC) at a 48-percent discount? That sounds incredible.

 

Let’s move on by calling Expedia, which again connects me with the reservation service in the Philippines. The intention was to have a representative do the same search that I did (the image above) so that we were on the same page and could discuss what type of room was available for $429 that the Waldorf would typically charge $829.

After a few moments of the rep trying to find the same price quote that I was looking at, I was informed that was a basic room with a king bed, was hearing accessible and could have either a bathtub or a walk-in tub. When asked what “hearing accessible” means, I was put back on hold and never could get a good explanation. A quick call to the Waldorf provided the answer, which was that there are several features, such as flashing lights, TTY for telephone calls, etc. to provide accommodative services for guest that are hearing impaired.

Apropos, the reality is that pursuant to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s mandatory that hotels offer rooms that meet specific needs for people with disabilities.  I’m not sure it should be offered-up like it’s an amenity.

Back to the Expedia rep. When inquiring about upgrading to a “King Luxury” room, the rep couldn’t even tell me what the difference was other than “it’s fancier” or “sometimes the room is a little bit bigger and more expensive, of course.” After looking for a more descriptive response, I learned that it is $499 per night and, yes, some of the rooms are larger on a square footage basis. It apparently also confirmed the extra night that was originally offered was indeed a King Luxury room.

A check with the Waldorf informed me that they don’t charge $829 per night for the basic king room. My cost would be…you guessed it…$429. Now, in fairness, rates get shifted around all the time based upon day, season, holidays, etc., so perhaps there are times when it is $829.

Now, the point here is not to degrade the representative. I’m sure it can be a tough job for minimal pay that puts workers in a position to deal with people like me sometimes.  It’s also not to say that there is something out of the ordinary about using a call center outside of the United States. That goes on every day as well (although it can be a hassle to deal with). Nor is this an exercise in bashing Expedia, although in this case, I certainly felt a bit duped with the “deal” being at the exact same price as the Waldorf charges.

Incidentally, checking reservations at The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach (using the same dates as above) at Expedia and then with the hotel itself again shows that the same price can be paid going directly to through the hotel.

Contacting Expedia for a comment resulted in the following email response from the HL Group (the company that apparently handles PR for Expedia):

“Expedia’s goal is to provide the best prices and availability possible to their consumers. The company does provide the Best Price Guarantee to travelers that applies to hotels, flights, vacation packages, car rentals and activities.”

Fair enough and pretty much what I expected in a response.

The bottom line is that, like me, most people are happy when they feel like they got a good deal. But sometimes that glee can be replaced by a salty taste in your mouth by doing a bit of due diligence. The truth is that it is all a matter of perception. Expedia held up their end by offering the lowest price; there’s no denying that, but the “crossed out” price next to the “deal” price that they are providing is misleading at best and alters perception. In the cases above, it wouldn’t have cost me any more or any less to use Expedia, so I actually shouldn’t get upset about it other than believing in my head that I was getting a discount.  

There are also travel rewards points and convenience of bundled deals at Expedia if that’s a requirement. Of course the question is: Are there times when I could actually pay less by going directly to the source? That requires further examination. None of this means that I won’t ever look at Expedia again or that they don’t provide a good service, but when I do, it will certainly be followed-up with additional research to make sure I’m getting the most bang for my buck.

 

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer


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Results for EXPE
Pzaa...Guy
21 Apr 15 04:19:08
$EXPE - http://t.co/I7L9J4Lp36 to Further Loosen Hotel Contracts in European Antitrust Settlement http://t.co/96ryMtvomD
NASDAQ
21 Apr 15 04:19:07
$EXPE - http://t.co/wWwbki3Ecv to Further Loosen Hotel Contracts in European Antitrust Settlement http://t.co/vdSLooOlEH
Capital Market Labs
21 Apr 15 00:53:43
$PCLN vs. $EXPE vs. $BABA vs. $JD Compared Across 9 Critical Measures http://t.co/S5TVC06Zg1 http://t.co/DGaGrVG5I0
Capital Market Labs
20 Apr 15 23:57:03
$PCLN vs. $NFLX vs. $EXPE vs. $JD Compared Across 9 Critical Measures http://t.co/WZKocVKZMz http://t.co/NvfLzhz5iT
Stockaholics
20 Apr 15 22:11:14
Our Penny Stock Alert On $OSLH Gained 97% In 3 Days! Big News: http://t.co/VsDv7ywE5E $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
Stock Rocket
20 Apr 15 21:45:51
Our Stock Pick On $THCZ Is Up 481.54% From Our Initial Release! Major News: http://t.co/bLXWVUwpQ7 $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
Stock Dawgzz
20 Apr 15 18:03:42
$OSLH Became One Of The Most Powerful Penny Stocks Last Week! Special Update: http://t.co/rQZs5CWxta $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
StockenheimerSchmidt
20 Apr 15 17:43:37
Platinum Members Saw Our Stock Alerts Gain Over 1600% In 4 Months! Subscribe Here: http://t.co/vy1bjuKyNv $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
Penny Stockington
20 Apr 15 17:30:49
Members Saw Our Penny Stock Picks Gain 1600% In 4 Months! Subscribe Here For New Picks: http://t.co/2dBXHWiAWG $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
Eternity101
20 Apr 15 16:33:54
$EXPE based on MON Apr 20 close 97.40 Breakout = 100.38 R2 = 98.44 R1 = 97.92 Pivot = 97.21 S1 = 96.69 S2 = 95.98 Breakdown = 94.23
Capital Market Labs
20 Apr 15 15:38:31
$PCLN vs. $EXPE vs. $NFLX vs. $BABA Compared Across 9 Critical Measures http://t.co/KLrl0Mu3r9 http://t.co/kw53QLeFWd
Stock Market Basics
20 Apr 15 13:53:06
RT @10Xtrading: Summer Vacation to Get Sweeter This Year With Lower Airfare Costs http://t.co/a2lXF5gMup $EXPE $AXP
10X Trading
20 Apr 15 13:45:26
Summer Vacation to Get Sweeter This Year With Lower Airfare Costs http://t.co/a2lXF5gMup $EXPE $AXP
Lucky Jimmy
20 Apr 15 12:51:09
EXPE Stock up +1.39% percent Today $EXPE High is at 97.53 and the Low 96.50 with current volume of 292,115. Ex http://t.co/KHLBc9rtAF
Lucky Jimmy
20 Apr 15 12:50:47
$EXPE EXPE up +1.39% percent Today $EXPE Stock High is at 97.53 and the Low 96.50 with current volume of 292,115. Ex http://t.co/OpLBHBsvxt
Capital Market Labs
20 Apr 15 12:01:33
$NFLX vs. $AMZN vs. $BABA vs. $EXPE Compared Across 9 Critical Measures http://t.co/OSYL4GJybV http://t.co/mSGtPuc4ss
Carolyn Marshall
20 Apr 15 11:58:01
$PCLN the laggard of the 3 but respectable showing. Stay sharp against $EXPE E's out NEXT WEEK which always affect
Tech Stocks SA
20 Apr 15 11:00:02
Why Yelp Shares Are Likely To Remain Depressed For Much Of The Year http://t.co/1vPthxh4Qm $EXPE $GOOG $GOOGL $LNKD $TRIP $TWTR $YELP
Penny Stockington
20 Apr 15 09:57:11
Members Saw Our Penny Stock Picks Gain 1600% In 4 Months! Subscribe Here For New Picks: http://t.co/2dBXHW0Zy6 $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
Capital Market Labs
20 Apr 15 09:39:58
$EXPE Research and Development is Rising. http://t.co/azYAvxUs8g http://t.co/savm66A2Lg
IH NASDAQ OMX
20 Apr 15 09:38:47
Stocks Trending Now: http://t.co/3o3t4shuZs $SEAC $HBC $ARCW $C.B $OABC $TMIBF $EXPE $CPKA $JTNB $SDNVY $PRVAF $BLW ~
stockschamp
20 Apr 15 09:15:03
This Guy Is Making Millions! Watch This Video Proof Here At http://t.co/8WvnrVmkBS .. $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
Eternity101
20 Apr 15 07:24:27
$EXPE .. earnings coming .. popping right now
hedgehog
20 Apr 15 06:49:38
RT @StockDawgzz: $OSLH Became One Of The Most Powerful Penny Stocks Last Week! Special Update: http://t.co/rQZs5De8kI $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
Paul VanHouten
20 Apr 15 05:26:22
Nice set ups in $SCSS $AVGO $DLTR $EXPE $SWKS .. Will be looking to buy some of these shortly after the Open for short term trades only...
Sarcasm Bot
20 Apr 15 04:23:02
$EXPE way underpriced
Capital Market Labs
20 Apr 15 04:06:32
$NFLX vs. $AMZN vs. $EXPE vs. $PCLN Compared Across 9 Critical Measures http://t.co/ImNT3WvBot http://t.co/hDHX1GQibl
Stock Dawgzz
20 Apr 15 02:44:04
$OSLH Became One Of The Most Powerful Penny Stocks Last Week! Special Update: http://t.co/rQZs5De8kI $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
StockenheimerSchmidt
20 Apr 15 01:37:29
Platinum Members Saw Our Stock Alerts Gain Over 1600% In 4 Months! Subscribe Here: http://t.co/vy1bjusXoV $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
Stock Rocket
20 Apr 15 00:41:45
Our Stock Pick On $THCZ Is Up 481.54% From Our Initial Release! Major News: http://t.co/bLXWVUwpQ7 $KLAC $EXPE $HSIC
Capital Market Labs
19 Apr 15 23:27:31
$PCLN vs. $JD vs. $EXPE Compared Across 9 Critical Measures http://t.co/gjA0rXwp0h http://t.co/8zFbO7sbOF
ProTradersNews
19 Apr 15 21:42:08
$EXPE: Wearables Give a New Level of Intimacy: Kim: http://t.co/UAkSCBPi7G
Capital Market Labs
19 Apr 15 16:00:24
$EXPE Cash from Operations is Rising. http://t.co/4vZzFHnzTF http://t.co/aHQZABQ3DB
Capital Market Labs
19 Apr 15 14:48:19
$PCLN vs. $BABA vs. $EXPE vs. $NFLX Compared Across 9 Critical Measures http://t.co/n05mu4bfvF http://t.co/OiVTUlZ3jf
Pzaa...Guy
19 Apr 15 13:40:11
$EXPE - Foreign Companies at Risk From Proposed Chinese Law http://t.co/OSFr34bRcL
NASDAQ
19 Apr 15 13:40:05
$EXPE - Foreign Companies at Risk From Proposed Chinese Law http://t.co/MAsFtpq2ZU
Media Sentiment
18 Apr 15 22:21:03
$EXPE received a new alert. Find out why at http://t.co/nZwqReM0tj #stocks #daytrading #trading #mkt #NYSE #NASDAQ #markets 42
StockNewsWires
18 Apr 15 08:55:09
$YELP $MSFT $EXPE: Why Yelp Shares Are Likely To Remain Depressed For Much Of The ...: http://t.co/K32yhseRqV
Jason Olive
18 Apr 15 08:54:54
RT @SeekingAlpha: Why Yelp Shares Are Likely To Remain Depressed For Much Of The Year http://t.co/aS7WBeTbRH $EXPE $GOOG $GOOGL $LNKD $TRIP…
Víctor
18 Apr 15 08:47:35
RT @SeekingAlpha: Why Yelp Shares Are Likely To Remain Depressed For Much Of The Year http://t.co/aS7WBeTbRH $EXPE $GOOG $GOOGL $LNKD $TRIP…
Quantpost Service
18 Apr 15 08:45:38
$EXPE News: "Why Yelp Shares Are Likely To Remain Depressed For Much Of The Year…" http://t.co/o2iR0GgW3A Analyze: https://t.co/RnaZVJmWjG
Tech Stocks SA
18 Apr 15 08:45:38
Why Yelp Shares Are Likely To Remain Depressed For Much Of The Year http://t.co/mmQdW3LYZk $EXPE $GOOG $GOOGL $LNKD $TRIP $TWTR $YELP
Long & Short Ideas
18 Apr 15 08:45:37
Why Yelp Shares Are Likely To Remain Depressed For Much Of The Year http://t.co/XtrGdHMV4g $EXPE $GOOG $GOOGL $LNKD $TRIP $TWTR $YELP
Seeking Alpha
18 Apr 15 08:45:37
Why Yelp Shares Are Likely To Remain Depressed For Much Of The Year http://t.co/aS7WBeTbRH $EXPE $GOOG $GOOGL $LNKD $TRIP $TWTR $YELP
dailystockplays.com
18 Apr 15 08:16:39
$EXPE Bullish Pullback http://t.co/qcUDrCNH3C
Edward Graham
18 Apr 15 06:37:04
AirBnb is the future $PCLN $EXPE better wake up to this. I think AirBnb could even consider buying $GRPN / I think $PCLN and $EXPE could too
Capital Market Labs
18 Apr 15 00:57:39
$PCLN vs. $BABA vs. $EXPE vs. $JD Compared Across 9 Critical Measures http://t.co/cPdbpmdtm6 http://t.co/BLy3XDuof8
Capital Market Labs
17 Apr 15 23:41:25
$NFLX vs. $PCLN vs. $EXPE vs. $AMZN Compared Across 9 Critical Measures http://t.co/4WzxThtS4i http://t.co/fCYieyPqOC
Capital Market Labs
17 Apr 15 21:11:38
$PCLN vs. $BABA vs. $EXPE vs. $NFLX Compared Across 9 Critical Measures http://t.co/n05mu4bfvF http://t.co/qAg7UUYKkG
FOBManny
17 Apr 15 11:59:04
#Expedia Plus #Orbitz Will Equal Largest Online #TravelCompany http://t.co/pWQlk3bK4q $EXPE $OWW
				
				
By  +Follow September 17, 2013 12:34PM
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