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Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

California
9 posts
1 review
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Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

A few weeks ago, I got tickets for Cirque du Soleil's Love show at the Mirage for a date several months in the future. I decided to stay at the Mirage, and found what I thought was a good deal for $99/room. I strongly suggested to my wife that we book the rooms, but she said it was late at night and she wanted to research other hotels the next day. She said there's no way the rates would go up over night.

So the next morning, I checked the rates again online, and to my surprise the rates had increased to $119. My wife was shocked that they would go up so quickly overnight in the middle of the week, considering our reservation was for several months away.

I have worked in information security for many years, so I was quite suspicious about this overnight rate increase. To confirm my suspicions, I used a different web browser on the same computer, and I used another computer in my household with the original web browser. In both cases, I was offered the lower $99 rate that I got the night before.

I then called the central reservations number and told them about the differing rates. I waited on hold while the reservations agent spoke to a supervisor. She did not give me an explanation for the rate differences, but she said she would honor the lower rate.

This practice can only be explained by what I consider an unscrupulous use of tracking cookies. The first time you visit the online reservations, it leaves a little piece of information (a "cookie") on my computer which is linked to the price quoted in the MGM Mirage reservations system. When I re-visited the site the next day, it used the cookie to retrieve the previous price quoted, and then the reservation system increases the price by a certain percentage or dollar amount. When I used a different browser or a different computer, this cookie did not exist, and so it gave the lower price for first-time visitors.

Whether this is a form of illegal price discrimination is up to the state's attorney general and the FTC to decide. At the very least, they are preying on consumer's emotions to make an irrational decision based on the perception of increasing prices or increasing demand.

Austin, TX.
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4,889 posts
18 reviews
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1. Re: Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

Just because you are paranoid does not mean "they" aren't really after you, huh?

All of your conclusions about the reservation system and your computers, cookies, et al are WRONG. If you dont believe me, ask VegasHomeBoy.

Quit wasting your time on ridiculous conspiracy theories, OK?

Los Angeles, Ca
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1,117 posts
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2. Re: Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

You got the lower rate, so stop your crying.

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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54,232 posts
47 reviews
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3. Re: Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

"I strongly suggested to my wife that we book the rooms, but she said it was late at night and she wanted to research other hotels the next day. "

Why didn't you just reserve the room and cancel it later if you found somewhere else? It doesn't cost anything, and hotel rates are like airline fares, constantly changing based on demand.

Minneapolis
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
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3,933 posts
20 reviews
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4. Re: Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

I saw an article in Smart Money on this ploy - it's true and several on-line retailers are known to do it.

gotta luv technology, eh?

Oxford, New York
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358 posts
20 reviews
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5. Re: Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

I belive steve wynn was the man in the grassy knoll.

New Jersey
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126 posts
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6. Re: Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

The rates constantly change. That is why you book it when you see the rate you like. Or..... book it anyway as I did and call them and have your reservation changed to the lower rate when you see it. You can always cancel if you find a better deal elsewhere. This is nothing new. The rate can also change quickly with airfares!

New Jersey
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126 posts
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7. Re: Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

I also forgot to mention that if you are unable to book a special rate and the website....you can contact them directly, explain you are having trouble, then they will honor that rate. I personally like to speak to a person when I am booking something.

Kyle, Texas
Level Contributor
280 posts
4 reviews
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8. Re: Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

Many travel web sites are known for this, Expedia, etc. It is not just MGM, it is a lot of online travel sites.

Level Contributor
1,078 posts
7 reviews
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9. Re: Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

I found your posting very informative. I really don't understand some of the responses you received. Either people think they are being funny or they have an attitude problem. Regardless, thanks for the information. I do know from experience that a hotel prices are not set in stone and can change depending on your method of communication, what discounts you ask for or they offer. There can be a senior, AAA, teacher, federal employee, business, Entertainment, internet discount to name some I am familiar with.

Pittsburgh
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429 posts
100 reviews
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10. Re: Beware: MGM Mirage Online Reservations

I, too, found your post interesting. Given some thought, it makes sense and I find plausibe. All of the flak you got about "rates change all the time" and "you should have booked it the first time" sounds like it is coming from those who didn't understand what you were saying in the first place. Just another reason to clear out the cookies and history more often.