Hotel discounts

The Herald reports:

Act leader John Banks last night released a hotel invoice to attack claims he got a discounted deal in Kim Dotcom’s favourite Hong Kong hotel – and showed a room rate about half of the current quoted cost.

As any regular traveller will know, very few people pay the rack rate at a hotel. Suggesting that one gets a discount as a special favour is naive or mischievous.

It followed claims in Parliament that Mr Banks was given a discount for the hotel stay, which Dotcom helped to arrange.

The invoice showed Mr and Mrs Banks stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and were charged $678 a night.

But staff at the hotel’s reservations desk last night said the rate for the room the Banks stayed in was $1303, including a 10 per cent service charge.

But, did the Herald do what I did – and check what rates you can get through different websites?

Last night, Mr Banks’ staff insisted there was no discount attached to the hotel stay. A spokeswoman said she was present when Mr Banks sought and received an assurance there was no discount attached to his bill.

She said Mr Banks asked specifically if there was any discount applied to his bill and was told by the hotel manager there was not.

Mr Banks had earlier sought a copy of the bill from the hotel showing he and his wife were billed HK$4290 ($679) a night for four nights’ accommodation. “I was absolutely pedantic about paying for everything in Hong Kong myself and the management of  the Hyatt Hotel will attest to that. …

Staff on the hotel reservation desk identified the room the couple had stayed in – room 2317 – as one of the Grand Deluxe Harbour View rooms.

They said the room rate was currently HK$7500 plus a 10 per cent service charge. The total figure in New Zealand dollars was $1303 a night. …

The Hyatt website offers a discounted price of $805 for guests that pay for their stay on arrival. The invoice provided by Mr Banks showed the bill was settled on check out.

The main hotel website is often the most expensive. Let us see what rates for a grand deluxe harbour view room we can get via Trip Advisor.  Now John Banks paid NZ$2,716 for 4 nights.

  • – NZ$2,466
  • Agoda – US$2,012 = NZ$2,493
  • Expedia – NZ$2,728
  • Venere – NZ$2,728

It is quite legitimate to criticise John Banks for downplaying the extend of his relationship with Kim Dotcom. Claiming to forget that he flew to his mansion in a helicopter is stretching credibility. But this story about a so called special hotel discount is a beat up, as far as I can tell.

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