If you’re far from an advance planner, there are new apps that could save you up to 35% on hotel bookings that same night. (Want to save on #hotel reservations?
I love travel apps and have used them extensively. TripAdvisor and Travelocity are a couple of favorites. I have many others on my iPad.
What I particularly like about TripAdvisor is the reviews. I look for reviews where the manager replies to praise and brickbats and show they care for their customers. Yes there are fake reviews and there are people who can never be satisfied, but learn to read between the you lines and you will almost always get what you expect.
Here’s some advice that will save you money and get you the best deals available. Find the hotel you want, find the best deal through the app. Then ring the front desk (not the national reservation office) around 8PM. Most of the guests have been checked in, staff have eaten, are not ready for their night audit and are often bored. Find out the name of the person who answers the phone and have a chat.
Tell them you are on a tight budget and that you found a deal on an app or web page. Ask them what they can do. I almost always get a better price or an upgrade, free breakfast etc. You can also ask about which side of the hotel is noisy, or has WiFi (often back of house rooms don’t have good coverage.
When you arrive, ask for the person who helped you and thank them. If they are not there, ask for the manager and ask for your thanks to be passed on.
I used to have a favorite hotel in Christchurch. Unfortunately it collapsed in the earthquakes a few years ago. I used this strategy to start with. I made a point of recognizing a particular staff member who always remembered me by name and gave me great service. I told the Hotel Manager how good she was. Next time I stayed at that hotel, she came to me in the restaurant and thanks me profusely. She got recognition in front of her peers at a staff meeting as well as an evening in the restaurant for her family as a guest of the hotel. She said no one had ever treated her like that before.
From then on, the already great service stepped up. I would always be met at my car, greeted by name, got a free upgrade and even a robe for Christmas (that’s another cool story) and of course they had my ongoing loyalty.
So, yes absolutely use your apps. But remember that people deal with people and in the hospitality industry (speaking as someone who lived and assisted in a large urban motel and studied hotel motel management) many customers are demanding and not particularly cheerful for various reasons. Complaints outnumber praise at about 50:1. Treat people with respect and it will give you a far better experience than the 35% off from the special deal.
As a footnote, no one pays rack rate, unless its the last available rooms at the Pink Flamingo in Las Vegas. Prices are often inflated to deal with the hefty discounts the app providers look for.
Let me know if you follow my advice, I’d love to hear how you got on.