Since 9NEWS aired a story on March 21st about hotels in Oregon spiking prices for August’s solar eclipse we’ve started to hear from others and are looking into those complaints.
Some consumers who have had reservations canceled by hotels or have seen their rate rise feel it is unethical.
Hotels in Casper, Wyoming, one of the best cities to view the eclipse, have increased prices upwards of 500%.
Normally priced close to $100 most rooms have gone for anywhere between $400 and $700 per night.
Airbnb prices have seen an even sharper increase, with several-bedroom homes going for anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500 per night.
“I think there is a big moral question here,” said Skyler McKinley of AAA Colorado.
There is no technical law that prohibits hotels from raising their rates, but many familiar with the issue consider there to be an ‘ethical law.’
“If you're a hotel doing this you should probably understand that this will ding your reputation down the line and so it's the moral judgment of do I want to be known as the kind of establishment that will do this?” McKinley continued.
McKinley considers a reservation a moral contract. If you’ve experienced a hotel rate increase after booking a reservation experts suggest taking the issue to the hotel directly.
InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, which owns Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, says most will open an internal review of the issue and honor the original rate as a way to save face.
If you were to lawyer up and take the case to court you may only get a few hundred bucks, if anything.
“Call ahead, get anything you can in writing,” McKinley advised. “The big fear isn't that you'll be paying a lot it's that you'll be paying a lot at the last minute, when your plans have already been made.”
If you book through a third-party site like Expedia or Orbitz the hotel may not honor the agreed upon price as those sites typically get extra rooms at lower prices to fill space. At that point you'd be playing by the site’s rules and terms of agreement, not the hotel’s.