Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Travelocity PriceGuardian: Less Than Meets the Eye?

I'm not privy to Travelocity's slicing and dicing of the numbers regarding the new Travelocity PriceGuardian program unveiled March 17, but I have to believe there isn't a great deal of financial risk to operating this program.
PriceGuardian basically promises Travelocity's U.S. customers that they will get a refund of $10 to $500 if another Travelocity customer books the "same" flight-hotel package at a lower rate.
Sounds good.
But, the emphasis here is on the word "same." To qualify for a check, the Travelocity vacation-package booker would have to travel on the same airline, on the precise flights -- departure and return -- occupying the same type of seat and purchasing the same fare class of ticket as the passenger who booked a cheaper vacation package.
And, that is just the flight portion of the qualifying challenge.
The Travelocity customer would also have to stay in the same hotel, book the same room type and checking in and out on the same days as that other bargain-hungry Travelocity consumer who booked a cheaper package.
If one customer books a queen bed and the other a king, or departs on an earlier flight or a day or two later, then no deal.
I mean, sheesh! (And, you can quote me on that.)
Check out the terms and conditions for yourself.
And, contrast Travelocity PriceGuardian with Orbitz Price Assurance, introduced in June 2008. The Orbitz program merely deals with the price differential on flights, so the odds of receiving an Orbitz check have to be a lot more in the Orbitz customer's favor than for the Travelocity vacation-package booker.
Granted, Travelocity sells huge numbers of vacation packages so I'm sure the online travel agency will be cutting a bunch of checks before the booking window closes on the promotion May 31.
So, feel free to comment, as always, if you feel differently (or agree), but it looks to me like believe the Travelocity PriceGuardian blitz is more marketing than substance.


patriciaj said...

I agree, Travelocity's marketing got in the way of customer fairness. I guess for now, I will use Orbitz if I am concerned about price decreases on my vacation plans.

PLing said...

It is a bit overly cautious. Unless it's a very big destination, they'd probably have to end up on the same flight. So they're asking for two different bookers to be on the same flight, land up in similar rooms at the same hotel, and check out on the same day and come back together. They don't have to wear matching outfits?