Sunday, August 20, 2017

Hotel price surge for the Eclipse: Price Gouging or Revenue Smoothing? Easy call for me...

If you are looking for a last minute hotel room in the path of the eclipse you will either find no availability or a shockingly high price for a one night stay.

Below is the price for a stay at a Days Inn hotel I found on in rural Kentucky.

The first price is the "normal" price they charge for a room, the second is for Sunday, August 20th (eclipse is Monday afternoon).  A mark-up of 5.66 times the regular price.

Is this price gouging or revenue smoothing?   Is it "fair"?

One justification is that the hotel business is seasonal.  Special events that a preponderance of people are "willing and able" to pay a premium over the regular market price to attend are one way hotel operators are able to reap extra revenue that allows them to keep prices lower (or even stay in business) for the rest of the year.

I believe in this case, the informed opinion is revenue smoothing and the, well, ignorant one is price gouging.

Think of it as "robbing rich Peter" (the the person who values the special event a lot) to "pay poor Paul" (the person who gets to enjoy a lower price during non-special event times which is most of the year).

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