MBS probing mispriced room booking rates

MBS said the error affected only guests due to arrive on March 31 next year for stays up to April 7.
MBS said the error affected only guests due to arrive on March 31 next year for stays up to April 7.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Hotel apologises and says affected bookings won't be honoured at the mispriced rates

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is investigating the cause of incorrect rates offered on its booking site, which advertised prices as low as $70 a night at the five-star hotel.

Travellers and staycationers who thought they had snagged a good deal last week were told on Monday that their room bookings would not be honoured at the mispriced rates.

MBS said in response to queries that the error affected only guests due to arrive on March 31 next year for stays up to April 7, and apologised for the inconvenience.

No credit cards were charged at the time of booking, it said, and affected guests have been extended a $100 credit towards their final bill if they choose to keep their reservations.

While MBS did not disclose how many customers were affected, it said "many of the affected guests have reconfirmed their bookings with us at the correct rate".

While MBS did not disclose how many customers were affected, it said "many of the affected guests have reconfirmed their bookings with us at the correct rate". The lowest rate offered to affected customers is $450 a night for a deluxe room.

The lowest rate offered to affected customers is $450 a night for a deluxe room.

Some unhappy customers took to MBS' Facebook page to express frustration at its refusal to honour booking prices and the delay in notifying them about the error.

Mr Hsu, an American lawyer who had planned a vacation here during the affected dates, showed The Straits Times a booking confirmation for a seven-night stay at a club room at MBS for $763.87.

After making the reservation on Nov 29, Mr Hsu, who declined to give his full name, contacted MBS to update his information and was told that his reservation could not be retrieved due to a technical issue with MBS' computer system.

A week later, he received an e-mail informing him of the error and that he could keep his reservation for a rate of $610 a night.

Mr Hsu, 43, said he has already paid for a non-refundable flight from New York to Singapore, but declined the offer by MBS.

He said he has lodged a complaint with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

However, MBS pointed to a clause in its terms and conditions that states that for bookings based on rates that have been incorrectly posted, "the hotel reserves the right to correct the rate or cancel the reservation at its discretion".

An STB spokesman said it has received feedback on the "booking glitch", and "as this is a commercial arrangement between MBS and its affected customers, STB will convey these customers' concerns to MBS to address directly".

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said it has received two complaints so far on the matter.

"As a matter of good business practice, we would expect the hotel to work towards an amicable resolution to this matter," said Case's executive director Seah Seng Choon.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic's senior tourism lecturer Michael Chiam said that while MBS has the legal right not to honour the incorrect pricing, "from a goodwill point of view, they would have to consider fair compensation for the mistake made and the inconvenience caused".

The incident is unlikely to tarnish MBS' reputation as a top hotel for tourists, he said.

"It may leave a bad taste for some customers in the short term, but it is a genuine mistake and one-off incident."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2016, with the headline 'MBS probing mispriced room booking rates'. Print Edition | Subscribe