Paris hotels experiment with 'honesty rates': What would you pay for a stay?
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
The three-star Hotel Plaza Opera in Paris is one of five hotels that have signed up to a new pay-what-you-want concept during the peak summer season.
How much would you pay for these rooms?
Hotel Plaza Opera
Hotel Tour d'Auvergne
What would you pay?
Friendly to tourists?
- Five hotels in Paris have signed up to the pay-what-you-want scheme during peak summer months
- Hotelier Aldric Duval says the plan is to create a "trust contract" between client and hotel
- He says guests could pay one euro for a hotel room but believes most will "play true"
(CNN) -- When your city has an unenviable reputation for insulting tourists and fleecing them for every cent, inviting hotel guests to pay what they want could be a risky move.
That's the experiment being tested by several hotels in the French capital during the height of the summer season.
"It's something like a trust contract between the client and the hotel," says Aldric Duval, who came up with the "Payez ce que vous voulez" (Pay what you want) concept as a gimmick to promote Tour d'Auvergne, his three-star hotel in the city's Opera district.
Duval has recruited four other city center hotels, variously rated with three and four stars, to the scheme which runs from July 21 to August 10.
He tells CNN he struck on the idea after successfully running an honesty bar that left it up to guests to declare their booze consumption at check-out. In the City of Light, it seems hotel guests are not generally light fingered.
Allowing them to choose their own room rates -- instead of paying typical charges of about $250 -- will not only bring in the punters, but will also give the hotel valuable feed back, he adds.
"We put guests at the heart of the system and we transform them into a mystery customer. They will look at the hotel with a new eye and if they play true in this game, it can work."
If guests decide their stay is barely worth a dollar -- or euro, this being Paris -- then it could it could also wind up being an embarrassing financial disaster.
Duval doesn't think so.
MORE: And the most expensive tourist city is...
The pay what you want scheme's logo
Friendlier to tourists
"If the client wants to pay one euro, there's nothing I can do, but people will know that this approach is not a good deal, we'll explain it's not fair if they pay one euro."
"We could have run a promotion offering free rooms to the first 15 people to answer a question on our Website, but we've decided to do this instead."
Duval says the scheme has attracted interest from other hotels in Paris and elsewhere in France, with several in Cannes and Nice planning similar deals for the winter low season.
The pay-what-you-want scheme follows recent comments by France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, that the country needs to be friendlier and more accommodating to visitors if it want to protect an annual tourism income of $16 billion.
Duval said his scheme wasn't a response to this and complained that the government should be doing more to help hoteliers during tough economic times.
"To be friendly to the tourists Laurent Fabius must cut the hotel taxes and charges, then Paris will be better and more attractive and not so expensive."
It's unlikely, however, that Fabius will let them set their own tax rates.
What would you pay if you could choose your room rate? Let us know in the comments.
MORE: France admits it needs to be friendlier to tourists
Part of complete coverage on
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0735 GMT (1535 HKT)
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1117 GMT (1917 HKT)
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0756 GMT (1556 HKT)
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
September 6, 2014 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
Today's five most popular stories