DENISE: Hello there, I’m Denise Richardson and this is howdini.com. We’re talking about how to get the best bargain for a hotel when you travel. And you need this information. Our guest is great, this is Amy Ziff, she’s the editor-at-large for Travelocity.com. Thank you so much for being with us.
AMY: It’s my pleasure.
DENISE: Who doesn’t want a bargain for a hotel? What’s the best way to achieve it?
AMY: You can call the hotel directly, but you will not find the best price by calling them. Most likely you are going to get the best price by searching online. And you don’t have to do hundreds of searches. The fantastic news is you want to look for something called a “good buy” rate or a “guaranteed lowest price” hotel. That means you’re not going to find a better rate anywhere else. And you might be surprised that one of the best ways to get a value is to look for the hotels that are offering, you know, you “stay three nights and get a fourth night free,” things like that, and that can be a terrific way to stretch your dollar and make it go a little bit further.
DENISE: And in the process of stretching your dollar, it would seem that if you link it up to the flight…
AMY: That’s what we call a package. You definitely want to check out a package. A package is critical in travel the way it is today. A package can save you 10, 20, 30 percent, maybe even more. So you want to make sure that you are looking at that and comparing it against that a la carte pricing.
DENISE: Now I know that Travelocity has last minute deals, so across the board are there websites that you can go to for last minute deals as well.
AMY: There are. You can go to lastminute.com in particular, very easy to remember. If you are a person who procrastinates or you like to be spontaneous, this is the site for you. Basically you can’t buy anything more than fourteen days in advance if you’re looking at a travel package. So it’s a wonderful way to go and they will put everything together for you. You can get your flight, your hotel, again your rental car, all of that, plus ideas. So, if you’re wondering, where should I go this weekend I really want to take my sweetie away some place special, you can really see what’s available. You can shop by price, you know 250 dollars or less per person for a weekend? Now, that’s a bargain.
DENISE: You get to the hotel online it looks beautiful…you get to the hotel in person and it’s not…
AMY: Now that’s where customer reviews is going to be really critical. You can look at not just the star rating, which is pretty typical to see you know one, two, three, four, five stars, how much is this hotel…but you can look at the customer reviews to see if this is going to be a reliable hotel for you and your family.
DENISE: Everything’s so sophisticated now, you get on the plane, you can call ahead and say I want the kosher plate, I want the veggie plate…Can you do that with hotels?
AMY: Absolutely, you can tell them what your preferences are. People always ask me how can I get treated extra special at a hotel, you know, without paying for it. And I say call them in advance and tell them, you know I’m taking my wife away for our anniversary, it’s our 25th, and I really want this to be special. Call the hotel and say, hey it’s my 25th anniversary, have them put that in a little note into your record and then when you check in they might just say “happy anniversary, we’ve left something in the room for you as a surprise.” They may also offer you special wine and cheese in your room and that may cost, but isn’t it nice to know. And so, it’s really good to let them know. If you don’t let then know, how can they treat you any more special than they were going to.
DENISE: You know that’s interesting. You get to a hotel, and you think how can I convince them to bump me up at the same rate. Is there a period you should travel where you can get that bump up?
AMY: It can never hurt to ask, doesn’t cost anything to ask. So what I always say when I check in I say, “if you want to give me a free upgrade, I’m happy to have one.” And just kind of say it with a smile and you just never know.
DENISE: Thank you so much Amy.
AMY: My pleasure.