I’m rarely a fan of hotel + flight package bookings. There are some specific use cases where they can make sense, particularly to escape advance purchase or minimum stay requirements on some airfares, but generally speaking I find that a DIY approach gets me better choices and more flexibility. Still, I never really expected that the companies pushing these deals were outright lying in the numbers. I was doing some research for a different story when I came across this tidbit from Expedia, “Book this flight with hotel, get 100% off your flight.” I was skeptical but at that point willing to see just what the company had in mind. Needless to say, my skepticism was validated.
I chose an itinerary from Geneva to Frankfurt with a week in Germany. The flight was $255.
In the booking process there is a call to action to add a hotel and save so I clicked through. Adding on the Maritim Hotel (Expedia’s featured “deal of the day”) brought my total to $855 with an advertised savings of $190. That’s 80%ish off the $255 flight price so not 100% but reasonably close. Maybe Expedia was telling the truth??
Alas, that savings of $190 assumes a full price of $1,044 for the hotel and the flight combined. As previously noted the flight was $255. Booking the hotel separately came in at $706. That’s a total price of $961, not $1,044. And both are for the same room type/bed assignment and the same exact flights.
Yes, there is a savings for buying the package deal. But I cannot figure out how Expedia is getting a “base” cost $83 higher than what it is presenting as the full price to consumers. And that’s all sorts of shady. Also, this isn’t meant to single out Expedia for less than stellar behavior. It happened to be the portal I chose this time around but I’m betting others pay similarly dirty.
By all means comparison shop packages as part of your purchase process, especially if willing to consider non-chain hotels. That’s where larger savings are likely to be found. But also make sure to understand the numbers you’re comparing against. Because apparently the vendors don’t.
Extra bonus: I went back to confirm the numbers and check some other things. Guess how shocked I was to learn that the “deal of the day” was a different hotel this time??
Like I said, shady stuff.