Mistakenly Discounted Rates a Regular Occurrence
("$16,000 first class seats sold for $675. Errors like these are more common than you’d think," Vox, January 4, 2019)
Details emerged this past week about Cathay Pacific’s unprecedented discounting of first class and business class tickets on certain flights. In some instances, the discounted tickets reflected over a 95% discount off the normal fare. As suspected by many (including those who report on such discounts), the discounts were not intentional and were instead the result of a technical glitch in Cathay Pacific’s systems. Whether for legal reasons or reputational concerns, Cathay Pacific chose to honor the discounted fares for those customer who purchased tickets before the glitch was discovered. From our own experience (and as confirmed in the article below), these mistaken fares (and hotel room rates) are somewhat of a regular occurrence. While there are things an airline or hotel company can do in advance to help avoid the need to honor these mistaken fares and rates, the potential reputational harm (particular in this age of travel blogs) often demands that companies honor the mistaken fares and rates.
Despite a Change in Name and Business Model, Priceline is Back
("Remember Priceline? After a Comeback and a Name Change, It’s Betting Big on China," Wall Street Journal - Business, December 28, 2018)
Booking Holdings Inc. (fka Priceline.com) is back. The attached Wall Street Journal story provides a great overview of Booking Holdings’ rise from the 2001 dot-com ashes as its market value grew from less than $200M to greater than $100B (earlier this year). From all appearances, Booking Holdings is now betting its future on Chinese travelers and the many travel technology companies that cater to them.
Greg Duff, Editor
Greg Duff founded and chairs GSB’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.