Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Here are some tips I've learned...sometimes the hard way.

Bring your confirmation - If you get a confirmation via e-mail, print it.  If you make a phone reservation, make sure they send you a printed confirmation.  BRING IT WITH YOU.  I always do this...and end up not needing it.  That is until the one time I forgot.

Recently, I had a reservation for a suite for $90 a night, Thursday through Sunday.  With taxes and one room service charge, the bill came to just over $300, or it should have.  I was presented with a $550 bill at check out and when I complained, I was told that the special rate wast just for a regular room, the suite was more, and, on top of that, only good for midweek so the weekend rate was charge at the rack rate of $230 a night.

I didn't have my confirmation.  I didn't have a way to retrieve it (it was on my work e-mail).  I didn't have a prayer.

Luckily, when I got back to work, I fished out the confirmation from e-mail and, low and behold, it said "Luxury Suite" for $90 per night...every night.  I e-mailed the manager, sent him a copy of both my confirmaton and bill.  To his credit, he refunded the difference immediately but I would have saved a lot of hassle and heartburn if I'd just followed my own advice.

Inspect the room before accepting it - make sure you're getting what you reserved and what you need, especially if you need accessible features such as a roll-in shower.  If it does not meet your confirmed room, they should give you one that does or make sure you pay no penalty if you have to cancel.

Get a refundable rate - Some hotels...notably the Hilton chain...are starting to come up with supersaver rates like airlines.  Rates that are discounted but non-cancelable, non-refundable.  I don't like this.  Who knows if the weather will take a turn for the worse, you get sick, or some other reason you cannot make it.  I look for a rate that will let me cancel with no penalty a day or two in advance.   I have a trip coming up to northern California.  The hotel has a 48 hour cancellation policy.  I'm going to check the weather forecast just before that window, if a big storm is on the way, I'm goint to go with my alternate reservations in Arizona which allows me to cancel with no penalty up to 12:00pm the day of check in.  That's flexibility.

Also, put it on the calendar to remind you before the cancellation deadline hits so you remember to cancel, if needed, and you don't end up paying hundreds of dollars for a room you forgot you had a reservation in. Keep a printed copy of the cancellation in case the hotel still charges you.

Tip the maid...everyday!  Leave a couple of dollars on the pillow.  Don't wait until you check out.  Appreciative maids clean rooms better and leave you better toiletries.  If you can't shouldn't be staying there anyway.

Compare total cost - Paying an extra twenty dollars for a suite with a full, hot breakfast will beat a room at the Motel 6, such is the case at many destinations. 

As an example, I can get a very nice, large room for around $80 or a two-room suite for around $100 at most Drury Inns. Sounds a bit expensive until you include an expansive hot breakfast buffet for everyone in the room; a light dinner; three cocktails; unlimited popcorn and soda from afternoon to the evening; free wired or wireless Internet; free use of their Internet terminals; free long distance calls; free local calls; pool, spa, and fitness room.

How much extra would all that cost at a cheap, motel?

Are there any special events taking place when you get there? - If you want a quiet stay, you probably don't want to go during "Bike Week."

Ask ahead of time what kind of view the room has - parking lot or beach?

Any tips you want to share?

Copyright 2011 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

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