Are a la carte room prices the future of hotel bookings?

Hotels are letting you build your own room.
hotel staff member welcomes guest

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Few things are more frustrating than being lured in by a hotel’s price only to find that the picture advertised is actually their high-end offering, five times the size, five times as cool, and five times as much money. Worse still is arriving in your room to find it’s nothing like the one you thought you booked.

The vague descriptions available to customers are prompting hotels to reconsider how they sell their guestrooms. Companies like IHG are already testing attribute-based booking platforms where guests select rooms in a “build-your-own” format, starting with a base room and adding preferred attributes before generating a bundled price.

For example, my editor Zach might want a fabulous weekend in New York. He starts with a basic queen room ($200). He decides he wants a Times Square View ($45) instead of an Empire State View ($55). He enjoys a bath, so opts for a jacuzzi ($40). He also likes things quiet, so requests to be far from an elevator ($10) and on a high floor ($25). He’s immediately given his total of $320 a night, with all of the requested amenities guaranteed for him and no guesswork involved.

Studies suggest we’re willing to pay more when we’re guaranteed what we want, so don’t be surprised to see attribute-based selling appearing on your next hotel booking.

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