The Pier Hotel: 'Hotels agree with websites on the number of rooms that are to be made available'
AS rugby fans were scouting for accommodation in Limerick for Munster’s Guinness Pro12 showdown with Ospreys, one city centre hotel was advertising a €5,000 rate for Saturday night.
Last weekend, The Pier Hotel, Sarsfield Bridge, advertised the exorbitant rate on Booking.com, which caught the attention of a number of people on social media.
@Galvinjoe @MRSC16 @Munsterrugby @ThePierHotel @LimerickHour @limerickonline @Limerick_Leader @LimerickChamber @Limerick_ie @limerickcitybiz @MurphyValerie13 Joe - it's no mistake. Just rang them. 'That's actually the price,' I was told, 'because we're fully booked.' Go figure. Disgraceful.— Roisin Meaney (@roisinmeaney) May 13, 2017
@SiobhanMoloney1 @Galvinjoe @MRSC16 @Munsterrugby @ThePierHotel @LimerickHour @limerickonline @Limerick_Leader @LimerickChamber @Limerick_ie @limerickcitybiz @MurphyValerie13 Can you believe it? She didn't even sound ashamed on the phone. 'That's actually the price, because we're fully booked.' I'm in shock.— Roisin Meaney (@roisinmeaney) May 13, 2017
Author Roisin Meaney, responding to Twitter user Joe Galvin who highlighted it on May 12, said: “Joe – It's no mistake. Just rang them. ‘That’s actually the price,” I was told, ‘because we’re fully booked’. Go figure. Disgraceful.”
It is understood that this is normal practice for a number of hotels that are advertised on agency websites.
A spokesperson for the hotel told the Leader that, because their double rooms are full, they mark up the rates to keep some rooms available, in order to avoid being charged more commission on the agency’s website.
“Our average rate would be a zillion times less than that. That is why the rate is there. You have an option, if you want to be one of the preferred customers, this is how you operate.”
He said hotels agree with websites on the number of rooms that are to be made available, in order to keep the hotel on the website.
He explained that, by being “closed off”, the hotel may be pushed to last on the list of hotels, instead of being at the top of “preferred customers”.
“Our double rooms are full. To keep our commission rate down with Booking.com, we have to keep rooms available. So, what you do, then, is you up the price exorbitantly. We don’t have double rooms available, see that was the problem. You may have a single room available, but you wouldn’t have a double room,” he explained.
Asked what would happen if a customer wished to spend €5,000, the spokesperson replied: “If they were adamant that they were going to do it, then we would have to take one of our own clients that we have, and upgrade them to another hotel.”
The website is advertising a €65 rate for Sunday night.