Tuesday, June 17, 2008

5 Secrets Hotels Don't Want You to Know

Ideally, you want a hotel to be your home away from home when you travel, but you also want to get the best deal. Alicia and Christine share their knowledge based on business/leisure trips and from working in the hotel industry. If these tips work for you, share it with a comment!

Here's what you need to know:

First - You get the best rate by either calling the hotel's local number or checking a site like hotels.com. Don't call the 800 number, which usually links callers to an off-site centralized call-center. Instead of asking for the reservations desk, ask to speak with the manager on duty the general manager, or the director of sales. They have the authority to negotiate room rates. Except for Marriott hotels, Hotels.com can sometimes provide lower rates due to their popularity for extensive hotel listings and brand awareness globally. Check Hotels.com first then call the hotel directly.

Second - Room rates are more expensive in the morning. The best time of day to make a reservation by phone is right after 6:00pm. This is when hotels wipe out the no-show reservations that were unsecured by credit card. They then offer these rooms at bargain rates. In cities like NY or SF, this deadline it 4:00pm.

Third - Hotel rooms are infested with germs. Certain items in hotel rooms never get cleaned. Trouble spots include th TV remote control, telephone, and clock radio. Travel with a package of antibacterial wipes and clean these items when you arrive. You may have seen the recent news investigation on ABC Nightline.

Fourth - The lost and found is a great resource for cell phone users. If you use a cell phone, odds are that someday you'll forget to pack your recharging cord or lose it in transit. If you are staying at a hotel, ask if they have any compatible chargers in their lost and found. Recharging cords are the no. 1 item left behind in hotel rooms. Most hotels are willing to lend chargers from their lost and found.

Fifth - Rooms are available even when a hotel has no vacancies. In any large hotel, a few rooms usually are listed as "out of order" at any given time. The problems might be something as simple as a stain on the carpet or a chair that has been sent out for repairs. If you are desperate for a last minute room in a hotel that claims to have none available, tell the manager that you are willing to take an out of order room with a minor problem. (check to see how "minor" the problem is first).

No comments: