In the past week three separate friends have told me that they decided to cancel their paper (the paper as a goodwill gesture cut the rate for a year in half!), cancel their SIRIUS radio subscription (better deal amazingly appeared), and discontinue some other service (another better rate magically was offered)>
This is a buyers market for us all. Within the limits of reason, the rack rate at hotels can and should be challenged. As one GM said recently, "Heads in beds is better than no heads in beds!" Rooms that go unsold are a liability for hotels, especially in a declining market like we have now.
Use the art of negotation: be firm, not rude, asking politely about discounts and rate changes. Even the best rate guarantee might be higher than what you'd get--who can say? Worth a shot.
Well said. When the economy tanked last October, I suspended my Blockbuster online account. I had until yesterday to reactivate and decided to call Blockbuster and close it. Understanding the pressure that everyone has to stretch budgets farther, Blockbuster came back with a Free offer for a month.
Business travel is definitely down, and leisure travel depends heavily upon disposable income. Negotiating a deal is definitely the way to go.
I have found over the years that understanding the motivation of the person with whom you are negotiating is all important: for example, when checking into a hotel, Marriott, Ritz, etc, the person at the front desk is most likely a junior one who has been given a set of guidelines to follow when asked for upgrades or special consideratioon. While the latitude they are given is small, the person asking has a wide range of options--from nasty to nice to choose from. There are no guarantees that you'll get something for being considerate but I know that being mean and demanding will get you nowhere, if not this time, then other times.
In my flying-all-the-time days I saw many United Premier and Premier Executives make total fools of themselves at the United counter, demanding this and that. At that point I vowed to be a nice person, always telling them how much I appreciated their help (even when the answer was "no, we can't" to my question.
As a result, and not for selfish reasons, I was instantly recognized at the IK room, and at the counter. While I was upgraded to First nearly every time, I would ask if that upgrade was in fact splitting up a family, or anything else.
On a flight from DC to ORD I tried to give my First Class seat to a well-known Medal of Honor winner and former POW whom I spotted in coach. His comment to me was, "Son, there are plenty of things worse than sitting back here. You take it and enjoy it!"
I was taken back, but thanked him for his serivce and his attitude of setting me straight at the same time. So, old person now that I am, I still make nice to the person behind the counter, whether at a Marriott or any other place. I hope that all of us can summon our nice when we're asking for something.
"if I cannot get a lower rate, then to book a Holiday Inn or a Hilton instead." Question - how does the quality compare?
For example, in the New York metro area, the lobby in the Holiday Inn on W57th reminds me of a collision on the Long Island Expressway. The meeting rooms are tiny and underserviced and the restaurant is worst than the Courtyard cafe. I have no idea what the rooms are like and frankly don't care to.
In Orlando, Hilton's sales office is a booth in the Premium Outlet Mall. We agreed to take a tour of the Grand Vacation Club by Hilton to see how they compare with Marriott Vacation Club and the units were not only tiny in square footage, but very cheap looking furniture and finishes - and they were brand new. Who knows what they'll look like after 5 years of wear, tear and smoking - ugh! IMHO - that's not negotiating a deal, that's getting what you can afford.
In order to truly negotiate a deal, there needs to be parity which requires knowledge and experience of the properties in question. That presents a huge risk which I care not to take when spending hard-earned cash or points. If the quality at a Marriott does not meet my expectations or the brand standards I am familiar with, I request a full refund. Do let me know if Holiday Inn or Hilton will do that?
I wish that I had the courage and the energy to negotiate free internet at the full service hotels but I like to work within the rules. I don't ask for any more than offered, but it annoys me that Marriott charge for internet. See http://tinyurl.com/nzp99xhttp://tinyurl.com/nzp99x In the same way as airlines are annoying customers for charging for extras, the hotel industry is annoying their most loyal platinum members that stay at full service marriotts to get the best benefit - Concierge lounges. it annoys me that Marriott charge for internet. See http://tinyurl.com/nzp99xhttp://tinyurl.com/nzp99x In the same way as airlines are annoying customers for charging for extras, the hotel industry is. Airlines new revenue sources alienate their customers...I would rather that they charge for soap or towels than Wifi revenue sources alienate their custom...