While on my mini vacation in LaJolla, I had a chance to watch the fourth hour of the Today Show with Kathy Lee and Hoda and it turned out to be a helpful one! They had Anthony Melchioni of the Travel Channel‘s “Hotel Impossible” on the show and he gave some great tips when booking your next hotel stay.
1. Do your research – understand how much money you want to spend, know what area of the city you want to stay in and know what level of service you want. This will help you when you’re evaluating the tons of hotel deals out there and you won’t be easily pushed into a cheaper or more expensive room.
2. Go to the front desk – Many of us can be “romanced” by the photos on the hotel’s site, only to be disappointed when you arrive. Maybe there’s a funny spell, an unidentifiable stain on the comforter, or it’s simply not as updated as the photo led you to believe. Instead of calling down to the front desk to complain, Anthony recommends going down to the front desk to address is face to face. The front desk is busy and more than likely they will put you on hold if you call, but if you’re down there looking them in the eye they have to deal with one. There is one caveat – BRING YOUR SMILE! As the old saying goes – “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” They are going to be more likely to help you if you’re smiling and asking for help to remedy the situation.
3. Book directly through the hotel site – This one was a bit of a surprise with me. According to Anthony, the hotel site is generally where you will find the best deals and most inexpensive rates vs. going through one of the many third-party sites. Additionally, by booking directly through the hotel they are more flexible vs third-party sites which tend to be less flexible if you need to make any changes.
Another important tip, just because you’ve booked your hotel room, you won’t be guaranteed a bed in the hotel of your choice until you’ve checked in. Much like airlines some hotels overbook their rooms when they anticipate a certain number of guests will either cancel or not show up at all. So on that off-chance you show up well past the check-in time and find yourself without a room – guess who the hotel is going to be MUCH more accommodating for? Yep the person who booked directly with them! They see them as a loyal customer, vs someone just looking for a deal and who will likely never stay in that hotel again.
4. Call ahead and ask for a request – By calling ahead and requesting something specific (whether it’s a high floor, non-smoking room or a corner room), your reservation now has a call attached to it so when you arrive you and the front desk have SOMETHING to check to make sure it’s up to your standard.