I think there are some pretty useful things from my failed attempt here, so I hope I don’t offend the ‘clickbait crowd’ by titling it a fail. I received a tweet asking about BRGs (Best Rate Guarantees) and how I find them. Truth is, I don’t.
BRGs are excellent, and I know a lot of people get a lot of value out of them. One guy told me how he got a $3000 per night hotel for free (Presidential Suite) through this, and Drew over at TravelisFree seems to do well with them too, there are several great posts on his site about this. Here’s his Master List post. So with all the value to be had, why don’t I do this? Frankly it is because of capacity (of my addled brain) and overall laziness in terms of searching for them. In my head this means I would have to check sites for cheaper rates and ‘shop around’ to make this work.. I’d rather just pay with points.
However, I am a fan of automation, and I am pretty sure that there is a way to automate the search. My plan this morning was to find a way to send me options for BRGs. My go to automation tools are IFTTT and Zapier. These are really amazing sites that basically connect things to make them work better. They track events and ‘trigger’ when something that you select occurs. I hunted through Zapier, but couldn’t quite figure out the ‘recipe’ to make this work, but I think that the key is in there somewhere.
- Set a price for refundable hotel (found on IHG.com) on a specific date in the future.
- Enter that price into a tracking tool and be alerted when it drops.
If the drop seems legitimate, and cross checking all the terms and conditions (they are excessive…) I’d buy the IHG rate, and submit the claim. I would go for a refundable rate because I don’t trust myself to not screw it up, and corporate to not try to screw me out of it.
IFTTT>TRACKIF>EMAIL (or SMS)
TrackIF is a pretty cool idea, it basically does all the tracking for you, and the IFTTT element isn’t that important, it would just allow you to elect where the notification is sent. TrackIF is great at tracking a URL line, but fails when it comes to checking many.. here’s a video explaining how it works.
Another flaw is that these services rely on ‘Channels’ IE each site that they work with, such as Amazon, is a channel. When it came to travel I only noticed Orbitz, so I headed over there to try out the service, and it failed. TrackIF will show you historical pricing, so you can get a ‘feel’ for the current price. When it comes to hotels, that is totally useless as there will always be unusually cheap or expensive nights.
I do think TrackIF is useful to a limited degree if you want to watch the price of a certain product within a certain site, but it seems to me to be more like a CamelCamelCamel type gig.
TripBAM is a site that tracks hotel prices.. perfect! You enter the name of the hotel, the duration of stay, and it sends you alerts. This, just like TrackIF is useless for me though… the problem with TripBAM is that it sends me results from weird sources, like smaller travel agencies that don’t have published rates and I’m pretty sure that this allows the BRG dept to weasel out of this. However, if (for some reason that is beyond me) you pay money for hotels and aren’t fussed about BRGing, you could set up an alert pretty easily to track and drop prices.
Here’s a how to guide from Kendra on using TripBAM that explains their ‘cluster’ idea also (searching for nearby alternatives).
Two pretty useful sites here. I may actually use TrackIF to watch an August Smart Lock for my home, the current price is around $250 so if it drops into something more realistic I may pick one up. However, I am no closer to setting up BRG alerts – let me know if you crack it!
I have actually tried to code up and build a tool which will alert only if you have a real BRG opportunity. But, I am sure it is against the T&C. So, I stopped the effort mid-way.
Andy Shuman says
LOL, I have MY OWN T&C that prohibit hotels from weaseling out of BRG every time they feel like it. Do they care? No! Filed a few BRG claims over the years, failed in most of them despite my claims being fully legit. Of course, it doesn’t help that patience is not my strongest virtue, but it shouldn’t be this hard to begin with. BRG is a marketing scam, and if I had the skills, I wouldn’t have any qualms with whatever T&C stipulations they might or might not have on the subject.