Being a wannabe Anthony Bourdain/Samantha Brown and attempting to travel as much as possible (following a certain band didn’t hurt) I’ve come across a few little hotel tips in my day. Just today, in booking a few spots for some summer destination weddings and events, I made it a priority to use a few tricks up my sleeve.
~ Do research..lots of research. When trying to book a room spur of the moment, I would always try to use as many outlets as possible to find the least expensive rate. On occasion, I’ve called the hotel directly while sending someone inside to check with the front desk and someone else goes online. Usually, ever rate is different. As far as in person, sometimes a little whimper goes a long way and don’t forget to ask for promotions. That being said…
~ Discount rates. Tricky little buggers they are. Sometimes you might think that a AAA card or senior discount is going to guarantee savings but always check. Unfortunately, in booking rooms for my parents, I’ve often found that the senior discount is a higher price than the regular rate.
~ Location is always key but keep in mind public transport allowing you to see more than just your hotel lobby and destination. A little walk, cab ride or train can give you a better grasp of your surroundings and often pay off in the end with hotel savings. Also, with larger hotel chains, they often have reasonable, less expensive options nearby (Marriott has Courtyard, Fairfield, etc.) And if you can, stay somewhere locally and/or family owned..this usually means bomb waffles and great conversation about the area. A good-hearted locals’ perspective is the way to go.
~ Book in advance and keep checking rates. Even if you don’t have set plans, book the room. This is something you really only want to do with hotels and rates that don’t take deposit. For instance, New Year’s Eve in NYC, I book a year in advance to solidify the spot and check back monthly to see if the rate has changed. I saved about $200 a night when re-booking in August.
~ Sweet, sweet rewards. Over the last ten years I gathered enough rewards points to stay in a 7 star resort for three weeks before I would even owe a penny. Be wary of credit cards with attached hotel rewards programs as their interest rates can be pretty ridiculous but if you’re good with money, it’ll be well worth it in the end.
~ tips. Don’t be afraid to slip the lovely, amazing front desk person a little token of appreciation and you may have upgrades in your future. $5 per bag for the bell-person and definitely I leave about a good chunk of change for the maid. Valet driver tip pending treatment of car..my last valet slammed my car into a wall but we’ll get into that later.
Happy travels !!