I recently booked a room with Holiday Inn. The Holiday Inn ‘Best Price Guarantee’ says “we promise you access to the guaranteed best available prices, or your first night is free.” Sounds good? Read the small print. It has to be the “same type of accommodation”. Read even further into the small print, and the definition of “same type of accommodation” includes having the same rate restrictions (i.e. whether it is refundable or non-refundable). So – in my case, I booked a room under their ‘Best Price Guarantee’ for £88. I found a cheaper room for £58 that included breakfast. I tried to claim on their guarantee. In their reply to me, they gave me the following reason for the cheaper room not being comparable:-
“Packages Comparison. Room prices that include food or beverage items such as breakfast or dinner, entertainment items such as tickets to a show, and/or free local calls, parking or other bundled items will be considered as packages. These package or inclusive rates must be compared to prices with the same type of inclusive items.
Upon checking, the offered accommodation on the said non-IHG site includes breakfast; while the one booked on our website is only for a regular room (1 Double Bed Standard Nonsmoking).”
So as well as paying £30 more for my room, I was told that my booking didn’t include breakfast! And because my booking was non-refundable, I couldn’t cancel my booking. The moral of the story is, don’t book with Holiday Inn Best Price Guarantee! And whilst we all know to ‘read the small print’ – you also need to be able to second guess the myriad ways in which the terms in the small print could be defined by the company offering the ‘deal’.