Cheap Hotel Reservations

by Annie

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I work for a large hotel chain. There are certain things that you should keep in mind if you book a room:

In addition to calling the reservation line of a hotel to book the room, you really need to call the direct number of the hotel. You need to find out: If they will have a big group in house. (This past weekend we had a convention in town and a visiting football team. Not only were we overbooked...5 teenagers to a room for the convention, but it was a totally loud and raucous affair. Guests complained about the football players and kids being too loud.) You need to keep in mind that if you have a big group in the house, there may be significant delays in getting breakfast or lunch from the hotel's restaurant. Also, if all the groups are checking out at once, you may experience a long checkout line.

If you are booking a room in a major sports city, such as Chicago, Cleveland, etc., and your hotel is located anywhere near the Stadium, you need to find out if your hotel gets a huge crowd in the restaurant to dine before the games. Again, you may be facing a 45 minute to 1 hour wait on a list on game days. If you are near a resort area, such as Orlando, you may experience total pandemonium as the guests at the hotel get their kids to the parks.

The third thing you need to do is check for discounts: Discount for AAA Membership? Is your hotel running a special promotion right now that you may know nothing about? Also, will you save money by booking your stay instead of letting a travel agent do it for you? Sometimes by taking the extra time and booking hotel rooms and flights, you can save substantial money. Keep in mind that a travel agent may book you into a resort area for "convenience". It's convenient for them, all right. Expect your bill to be at least double of what you would normally pay. (Example: book at a hotel in Orlando and pay tons more than if you booked at Kissimmee, about a half hour away.) Does your stay include breakfast? Also, when you check out, ask for an itemized bill if you are posting charges to your room. I can't count the number of times when a charge was keyed in wrong and it was posted to someone else's room. Also, if you paid for breakfast when you first checked in (some hotels have a $10 charge added so you can eat), you need to make sure that if you did not eat and you are entitled to a refund of the charge that you get it. Some hotels won't bother to tell you that this is refundable. Meanwhile, you're out the money and they've made a profit on a service they never gave you.

"Insider Reports" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it by MyStory@

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