Hotel Says “Pay What You Want”

by Gray Cargill on January 18, 2011

A “Pay What You Want” Rate?  For REAL???  Yes, for real.  One of my contacts at WIHP – Explorotel told me that Hotel Abruzzi in Rome is the first of possibly other hotels experimenting with a promotion rate in which you, the guest, can pay what you feel is a fair price for your room (with a minimum rate of 14 Euros).  How’s that for making a trip to Rome affordable?

I know what you’re thinking: What’s the catch?  Not a catch, really, just a limitation on when you can do this.  This Promotion Rate was available between December 16-26, 2010 and January 13-15, 2011, but there are still dates available:  Between January 30-February 4, 2011 (and more may be added in the future).  So if you happen to be going to Rome then, this could be a lucky break for you. There is a minimum 3 night stay required.  You also have to be quick on the draw: Just 2 double rooms and one single room are available per period for this promotion.

Here’s how it works:  Book your room under the Promotion Rate.  Once you arrive, you’ll be given a form to fill out, broken down into categories of hotel services.  You decide what you’re willing to pay for each service.  Why are they doing this?  According to Hotel Abruzzi Roma’s Facebook page, “Our hotel wants to analyze the customer experience and customer satisfaction on our service, so we intend to let people evaluate our services and decide the final price.”

Naturally, this assumes that people aren’t going to be complete jerks and pay the bare minimum just because they can, but really and honestly evaluate their experience and pay what they feel is a fair price for the services they received.  Assuming this experiment is a success (and from what I hear, the hotel has been pleased with results), it may be expanded to other hotels in Rome and Paris.

In addition to getting valuable customer feedback, I think this is a great way for hotels to increase bookings during the slow seasons.  And obviously, it’s a win for any guest who can snag that promotional rate.

Have you heard of other hotels offering this unique payment model?  If so, please share in the comments below.

Disclaimer: WIHP – Explorotel is the firm that provided me with free lodging during my stay in Paris in November, but I was under no obligation to write about this promotion. I did so because I think it’s a novel concept and could be a way for travelers to save money.

Joshua Johnson January 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm

What an incredible Idea! One more reason for a Roman holiday I guess!

Ianorlando January 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm

This is a pretty amazing promotion for hotels to invite guest and visitors… It is also a great way to determine the level of satisfaction of the guest in the services of the hotel. The higher the pay of course the higher the level of satisfaction. Well of course if other hotels would follow this kind of strategy it is very obvious that they should impose a minimum that will lead to the closer of the hotel. Travelers tend to pay cheap all the time.

GRRRL TRAVELER January 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm

New concept. Although the idea behind promotions is that you have to be willing to do giveaways/ freebies at some level. They’re actually making money with this type of marketing. And they’re not giving anything away. Only 3 rooms avail. “Pay what you want” sounds like FREE; in fact, doesn’t it really just mean “discount” and a “3 day requirement” means they mean to make back their money, right?

I recently booked a 3 day vacation package– a 5-star Hyatt (approx $350/night holidayseason ) + 2 flight tix for the cost of …roughly $600 Don’t worry, the jerks are worked in.

I’m always too skeptical of promotions. Even when it’s a giveaway! ha ha..;-)Good article though, Gray.

Gray January 20, 2011 at 12:12 am

Honestly, while I have worked in the hospitality industry before, it wasn’t on the business side of things, so I’m not sure what the price point is for making a profit on a room, and I imagine it varies from hotel to hotel. But if I owned a hotel, I think I’d rather fill my rooms even if I’m only getting 75% of what I normally get for them than having them sit empty. Holy–$350/night??? Excuse me while I recover from my stroke. That was a splurge, huh?

GRRRL TRAVELER January 20, 2011 at 12:49 am

You can recover. The $350 was the rate if I booked separately. My actual cost was approx $600– 3 days for 2 ppl, flight tix + 5 star hotel. Tix alone were close to $300. Was assuming it was something like you just mentioned.

Gray January 20, 2011 at 1:15 am

Oh that was a win then!

zablon mukuba January 19, 2011 at 6:00 am

i think this is a great idea for the hotel and the budget travellers who really want to be cheap

Gray January 19, 2011 at 11:14 am

It does seem to be a win-win.

Sabina January 19, 2011 at 12:17 am

This is absolutely a great idea. It will probably eliminate people complaining about this hotel’s service, cleanliness, location, etc. If you don’t like it, just don’t pay for it. It could also be an interesting social experiment for the hotel. They can keep demographic track of people, what they thought about the hotel and what they pay, thus learning a little about how different groups of people think of money.

Gray January 19, 2011 at 12:42 am

Yes,Sabina, that and also they’ll be able to see which services are really the most important to guests (or at least, where they’re doing the best job). Cool concept.

Bess January 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Hmmm, intriguing. I wonder if it’s more work than it’s worth though. I’d have a hard time analyzing those different fields and settling on the right amount, and I’d be worried about being a jerk and paying too little. It is an interesting concept, though.

Gray January 18, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Now that you mention it, Bess, I’m not sure I’d know what would be a fair price for each of those services either. I guess what I’d probably do is come up with what I think is a fair price for my stay overall, and then divvy it up by category according to where I felt the service was best, moving down to worst. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Solo Travels January 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Love it! Keep us informed on other opportunities like this. The only other hotel I saw offering a similar deal is Ibis Hotel in Singapore. http://www.rediff.com/getahead/2009/feb/05bid-your-price-at-singapore-hotel.htm

Gray January 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Thanks for sharing that link! I’ll def share if I see more…

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