The LA Times has a very interesting article on getting the best price on hotel rooms. The use of yield management by the hotel companies means that rooms can be sold for different rates depending on occupancy and other factors.
“The core concept of yield management is to provide the right service to the right customer at the right time for the right price,” the report says.
It’s all about timing.
A big problem, industry experts say, is that room demand waxes and wanes by day of the week, time of year, special events and other situations that hoteliers can’t control. Yet every night, a Hilton or Sheraton has the same 100 rooms to fill.
Ensuring that rooms get booked at the maximum price possible, without getting stuck with vacancies at 5 p.m., is a delicate high-wire act.
Enter yield management, which aims to “gain control of consumer demand by using time- and price-related strategic levers,” the report says.
Yes, they’re manipulating you.
By lowering the rate for stays during slack times, hotels induce penny-pinching vacationers to book then, filling rooms that otherwise would have gone vacant. By saving some rooms for last-minute bookers, often business people who have no choice, they can demand higher prices for the now-scarce rooms.