Higher hotel prices during CIAA - | WBTV Charlotte

Higher hotel prices during CIAA

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Some Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) fans will face sticker shock when booking rooms.  WBTV went on HotelPlanner.com and saw rooms going for more than $400 a night.  A Budget Inn was $360 a night.

"The hotels have gotten a black eye over it," Executive Director of Charlotte Area Hotel Association Sid Smith said. "Because people think the hotels are charging that rate."

Smith says third parties are booking rooms and then selling them for a much higher price.  They are called Room Block Raiders. Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon believes this practice is an embarrassment to the city.

"That's not a good look," Cannon said. "And it gives visitors the idea or thought we aren't such a friendly city."

To help control this practice, hotels have a policy to sell no more than three rooms to one person.  This will alleviate people having control over so many rooms. But that still may not do the trick.

"These raiders they are smart," Smith said. "They call back under another name or they get a friend or an accomplice to call in."

Tim Hentschel is the CEO and cofounder of HotelPlanner.com and Meetings.com. He says his company doesn't participate in increasing room rates to make a huge profit.

"We never pre-block group space with the intention of marking up the rooms to sell to individuals at a higher rate. Our network of planners help customers buy the best deal through price comparison, industry knowledge and relationships," Hentschel told WBTV.

"For example, our planners have compiled a database of citywide events on HotelPlanner that notify both individual and group room buyers if there is a large event in that city taking place over the dates the customers are looking to buy rooms during, this way customers know during the initial event planning stages what is causing the rate increase, and decide whether it is a better value to look for other dates for their event in that city."

The best advice is to call the hotel directly to see if the room rate matches the advertised rate on the website.

The Better Business Bureau officials are aware of this.  They have received complaints about this but there is nothing they can do.  It's not against the law but the Bureau says the only time price gauging is against the law is if there is a state of emergency.

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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