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'Budget' Hotels - are pricing structures done by a blind man with darts?

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Hi everyone, 1st time posting, and while my situation might seem a bit niche, it highlights a wider problem. Apologies for the slightly long post.

As my username suggests, I am a self employed trade plate driver who works away from home for 3 or 4 nights a week. The company I'm contracted to moves Trucks, Buses, Light Commercials and Cars all over the UK for the motor trade, and while very occasionally we will have a big sleeper cab lorry for an overnight stay, most of the time we are reliant on cheap hotels, as we are budgeted £52 per night dependant on what vehicle we are moving. 

Now quite often we are moving large trucks with day cabs, large vans etc. which means we need plenty of parking space, which of course necessitates us using hotels at service stations or at the side of main trunk roads, so with our budget we're looking at Travelodge and Days Inn establishments.

When I started the job last November, obtaining a room in such hotels at a cheap enough price never seemed to be a problem, occasionally you had to pay up to £60 but across the week, prices didn't really alter much.

Now I don't know what has changed recently, but obtaining such rooms on certain nights of the week within budget has become almost impossible. In the last few months there's been so many examples of prices going through the roof at service station hotels it's really becoming a problem for our industry, and I'm sure we're not alone (I must point out, because of the nature of the job we can't book in advance at all due to potential job cancellations, breakdowns, train/bus issue, etc.). I could list several examples of outlandish price hikes, but I'll point out one from yesterday and today. I stayed at the Days Inn at Hartshead Moor last night, and the room cost £57. I was looking to possibly stay there again tonight, only to find that the same hotel, on a Tuesday night, with the same basic rooms and everything, now suddenly costs £110! How can you justify that? What difference is there between Monday and Tuesday on the M62? Thankfully I've been able to drop the vehicle off tonight and am now in a pub in Leeds with a room for £50, but even the 3 nearby 'budget' hotels (Travelodge, Ibis Budget and Easy Hotel) are all asking between £85-100. 

I'm really struggling to get my head around the price structure. Is it something the MSE team can look at? Thanks in advance. 

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  • k12479
    k12479 Posts: 724 Forumite
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    When I started the job last November...Now I don't know what has changed recently...

    I stayed at the Days Inn at Hartshead Moor last night, and the room cost £57. I was looking to possibly stay there again tonight, only to find that the same hotel, on a Tuesday night, with the same basic rooms and everything, now suddenly costs £110! How can you justify that?

    Is it something the MSE team can look at?
    The season has changed for one - more leisure travelers during summer.

    There's nothing to justify. It's supply vs. demand. Hartshead Moor looks sold out tonight, so clearly a lot of demand, prices go up. Why is Tuesday fully booked? Could be local event/s, could be the people who would stay on Wednesday night moving to Tuesday or Thursday night instead so they can be home to watch the football.

    There's nothing to look at and nothing can be done because it's natural and it happens globally. (Except probably in countries like North Korea).
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 15,353 Forumite
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    Hi everyone, 1st time posting, and while my situation might seem a bit niche, it highlights a wider problem. Apologies for the slightly long post.

    As my username suggests, I am a self employed trade plate driver who works away from home for 3 or 4 nights a week. The company I'm contracted to moves Trucks, Buses, Light Commercials and Cars all over the UK for the motor trade, and while very occasionally we will have a big sleeper cab lorry for an overnight stay, most of the time we are reliant on cheap hotels, as we are budgeted £52 per night dependant on what vehicle we are moving. 

    Now quite often we are moving large trucks with day cabs, large vans etc. which means we need plenty of parking space, which of course necessitates us using hotels at service stations or at the side of main trunk roads, so with our budget we're looking at Travelodge and Days Inn establishments.

    When I started the job last November, obtaining a room in such hotels at a cheap enough price never seemed to be a problem, occasionally you had to pay up to £60 but across the week, prices didn't really alter much.

    Now I don't know what has changed recently, but obtaining such rooms on certain nights of the week within budget has become almost impossible. In the last few months there's been so many examples of prices going through the roof at service station hotels it's really becoming a problem for our industry, and I'm sure we're not alone (I must point out, because of the nature of the job we can't book in advance at all due to potential job cancellations, breakdowns, train/bus issue, etc.). I could list several examples of outlandish price hikes, but I'll point out one from yesterday and today. I stayed at the Days Inn at Hartshead Moor last night, and the room cost £57. I was looking to possibly stay there again tonight, only to find that the same hotel, on a Tuesday night, with the same basic rooms and everything, now suddenly costs £110! How can you justify that? What difference is there between Monday and Tuesday on the M62? Thankfully I've been able to drop the vehicle off tonight and am now in a pub in Leeds with a room for £50, but even the 3 nearby 'budget' hotels (Travelodge, Ibis Budget and Easy Hotel) are all asking between £85-100. 

    I'm really struggling to get my head around the price structure. Is it something the MSE team can look at? Thanks in advance. 
    I think the thread title is in poor taste, but I will try to assist regardless.

    You are in a poor negotiating position because you are always booking at short notice, so will always suffer the worst effects of dynamic pricing.  It is the similar type of price model that is used for airlines, taxi services, any other accommodation.

    The change is unlikely to be the change from Monday to Tuesday night that drives the difference.  Could there be a local event on?  I was recently staying at the same hotel for a while and the lowest rate obtained over 6 weeks was just under £50 while the highest was just over £100.  I did ask about the higher rate at the desk - other hotels in the area were also inflated that date - it turned out there was a sports team visiting from Australia and that created the demand.
  • tradeplatelad77
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    Hi everyone, 1st time posting, and while my situation might seem a bit niche, it highlights a wider problem. Apologies for the slightly long post.

    As my username suggests, I am a self employed trade plate driver who works away from home for 3 or 4 nights a week. The company I'm contracted to moves Trucks, Buses, Light Commercials and Cars all over the UK for the motor trade, and while very occasionally we will have a big sleeper cab lorry for an overnight stay, most of the time we are reliant on cheap hotels, as we are budgeted £52 per night dependant on what vehicle we are moving. 

    Now quite often we are moving large trucks with day cabs, large vans etc. which means we need plenty of parking space, which of course necessitates us using hotels at service stations or at the side of main trunk roads, so with our budget we're looking at Travelodge and Days Inn establishments.

    When I started the job last November, obtaining a room in such hotels at a cheap enough price never seemed to be a problem, occasionally you had to pay up to £60 but across the week, prices didn't really alter much.

    Now I don't know what has changed recently, but obtaining such rooms on certain nights of the week within budget has become almost impossible. In the last few months there's been so many examples of prices going through the roof at service station hotels it's really becoming a problem for our industry, and I'm sure we're not alone (I must point out, because of the nature of the job we can't book in advance at all due to potential job cancellations, breakdowns, train/bus issue, etc.). I could list several examples of outlandish price hikes, but I'll point out one from yesterday and today. I stayed at the Days Inn at Hartshead Moor last night, and the room cost £57. I was looking to possibly stay there again tonight, only to find that the same hotel, on a Tuesday night, with the same basic rooms and everything, now suddenly costs £110! How can you justify that? What difference is there between Monday and Tuesday on the M62? Thankfully I've been able to drop the vehicle off tonight and am now in a pub in Leeds with a room for £50, but even the 3 nearby 'budget' hotels (Travelodge, Ibis Budget and Easy Hotel) are all asking between £85-100. 

    I'm really struggling to get my head around the price structure. Is it something the MSE team can look at? Thanks in advance. 
    I think the thread title is in poor taste, but I will try to assist regardless.

    You are in a poor negotiating position because you are always booking at short notice, so will always suffer the worst effects of dynamic pricing.  It is the similar type of price model that is used for airlines, taxi services, any other accommodation.

    The change is unlikely to be the change from Monday to Tuesday night that drives the difference.  Could there be a local event on?  I was recently staying at the same hotel for a while and the lowest rate obtained over 6 weeks was just under £50 while the highest was just over £100.  I did ask about the higher rate at the desk - other hotels in the area were also inflated that date - it turned out there was a sports team visiting from Australia and that created the demand.
    Problem is, I'm finding that this is happening every week, in every area of the UK. So it clearly isn't event based.
  • tradeplatelad77
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    k12479 said:
    When I started the job last November...Now I don't know what has changed recently...

    I stayed at the Days Inn at Hartshead Moor last night, and the room cost £57. I was looking to possibly stay there again tonight, only to find that the same hotel, on a Tuesday night, with the same basic rooms and everything, now suddenly costs £110! How can you justify that?

    Is it something the MSE team can look at?
    The season has changed for one - more leisure travelers during summer.

    There's nothing to justify. It's supply vs. demand. Hartshead Moor looks sold out tonight, so clearly a lot of demand, prices go up. Why is Tuesday fully booked? Could be local event/s, could be the people who would stay on Wednesday night moving to Tuesday or Thursday night instead so they can be home to watch the football.

    There's nothing to look at and nothing can be done because it's natural and it happens globally. (Except probably in countries like North Korea).
    This has been going on for a few months now, so seasons aren't a factor. And as mentioned elsewhere, this is happening all over the UK, so events aren't the issue.
  • Emmia
    Emmia Posts: 3,412 Forumite
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    Hotels are businesses, and room pricing is simply supply and demand based.

    If the room can be sold for £100 rather than £60 often enough it will offset empty days (as people in your position don't book) enough so the hotel makes more profit.
  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Posts: 12,688 Forumite
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    Lack of service stations and HGV parking is a real issue on the M62 in particular, it has far too few service stations for the volume of HGVs it now carries.  Once past Hartshead its Birch (30 miles) going west and Ferrybridge going east (25 miles).  
  • gwynlas
    gwynlas Posts: 1,809 Forumite
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    The chain budget hotels are rarely cheap except when booked far in advance and operate dynamic pricing based on demand even within a short geographical distance. I know you say that parking can be an issue but you would usually be better off in private B & B's that offer fixed  rates. Perhaps you could do some research of those along your most used routes.checking out local parking facilities etc.
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 15,353 Forumite
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    Problem is, I'm finding that this is happening every week, in every area of the UK. So it clearly isn't event based.
    This has been going on for a few months now, so seasons aren't a factor. And as mentioned elsewhere, this is happening all over the UK, so events aren't the issue.
    This is just how dynamic pricing of any service industry business operates in the current day and age.
    In the case of accommodation providers, it is down to occupancy and seeking secondary spend.

    Last Thursday, I received an offer to stay at a location we visited before, book that weekend (Friday to Monday) for EURO 400, stay for as long as England remained in the Euros.  Clearly, they have empty spaces and filling them and hoping that secondary spend would follow is sensible.  We were not able to just go straight away, so I looked ahead for a few weeks' time and the cost is EURO 2,600 - obviously by then it is school holidays and the Olympics will be started (though I am not sure how close the venue is to any of the Olympic events).

    The same type of dynamic pricing is in place for taxi firms, trains, planes, cinema, theatre, etc.
  • jimbo6977
    jimbo6977 Posts: 1,251 Forumite
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    These sorts of hotels are not an easy money maker, there are plenty struggling, changing hands, losing their major branding. If you need to book semi regularly is there an independent place (or a franchise manager) you can build a relationship with so that you at least get a consistent rate? 
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