Negotiating Hotel Rooms?

Since I'm new to chasing, I'm wondering how to get the best deals for Hotel rooms and how to talk to the desk staff to facilitate this.

I know coming in as a group probably has it's advantages?

Thanks!

Jerry Prsha - St. Louis
 
Not so much a group, but join a hotel chain's rewards program. I have joined Gold Crown and was upgraded to a Platinum Elite level; I get big discounts on rooms and sometimes upgrades to suites for the price of regular rooms which obviously gets crazy cheap as you can fit a bunch of people into a suite.
 
We use hotels.com to get rooms if we know in advance where we will be. Usually a good $20-$30 (or more) less per night than if you just walked in. There are lots of hotels you can book online, but some of the smaller ones in the tiny towns aren't listed.
 
Well, as I am still learning about weather and forecasting, I can't be much help on those threads. However I can help here.

I used to work in a Hotel at the front desk. I had the power to charge any rate I wanted when we were not full. My job was to fill up the hotel, we of course had our regular rates, and people who didn't ask got that rate. The smart ones who did press me paid less. I could average out the cheaper rooms.

I would assume when you are chasing you are most likely in areas that are a little less traveled than major cities. I would look for hotels where the parking lot is empty. Then when you ask the price, tell them you weren't looking to pay that much and give them a price about 30% lower, or even lower if you are brave. If they balk at that ask them what other hotels are in the area. If they are good they won't let you leave.

Hope that helps.
 
Good day,

Rarely time to plan as you will never know where you will end up on a chase day. For me, Motel 6 / Super 8 is best as I am just there one night to crash and most have internet / data or are nearby such sources.

If with a group, I try to get as most as possible in a room. I can care less, I am the kind of person who can sleep on the floor / inflatable bed or even in the car if I have to.

Often I tell the clerk just "ONE PERSON" with double bed, then simply sneak 3-4 more in the room with my group. This can make the difference between $30 a nite for just me and $60 for 4 people - Heck, they rarely check, like they will come to your room just to "count heads"!
 
Here's my two cents...

I have found that the best last-minute hotel deals are in those hotel broshures they give out at rest stops/truck stops/etc. Usually they have some coupons in them and they are very reasonably priced. I remember I got a room in Amarillo for about 60% off the regular rate last year. The only problem is that these coupon usually have restrictions based on how many people are staying at the hotel or what day of the week it is.
 
Good day,

Rarely time to plan as you will never know where you will end up on a chase day. For me, Motel 6 / Super 8 is best as I am just there one night to crash and most have internet / data or are nearby such sources.

If with a group, I try to get as most as possible in a room. I can care less, I am the kind of person who can sleep on the floor / inflatable bed or even in the car if I have to.

Often I tell the clerk just "ONE PERSON" with double bed, then simply sneak 3-4 more in the room with my group. This can make the difference between $30 a nite for just me and $60 for 4 people - Heck, they rarely check, like they will come to your room just to "count heads"!

I used to do that way back when Chris....then I had a Best Western come up EARLY the next morning...like 7 am early, and tell me that we owed for the extra people that stayed. By about 10 am we hadn't even left yet and they showed up with the POLICE. I guess they thought we left without paying for the extras. Needless to say, we paid for the extra people and never tried that one again.

Just in case your interested, it was the Best Western in Snyder, TX (the best motel in that town BTW)
 
The easy way since everyone is now using mobile internet, just go on line to the hotel chain website or hotels.com

Several times I have booked a room in the hotel parking lot. I will go and see what the price is on line then go up to the desk and check with them.

If it is more then a couple bucks difference I tell them to hang on and let me think about it. Go back out to the car and book the room on line then come back in and say I just booked it on line.

I did this several times with Wingate Inn in Orlando when I used to have to fly down there all the time on business. The clerk at the desk said all they had left was a suite and wanted to charge me almost $200 for the room. Plus I was checking in at around midnight so it was not like I needed the room all day and night. I went back out to my car and booked the room on line at their website for $75 with tax and went back in. I got the same suite for over half off.

If you want a cheap room, your going to have to do a little work on line. But walking up to the desk is the worst idea.

On a side note, I used by PPC to get a discount at Best Buy the other week. I just pulled up the Circuit City webpage and showed them the price and they matched it. It was so simple, I just pulled up the price and showed them the lcd screen on the phone of the competitions webpage and saved $100 on a 500 gig hard drive.
 
Yes - the nice thing about booking online is that unless it is after midnight, you can book a room within minutes of arriving or even in the parking lot. As long as we have internet in the car, we look up the town we're approaching on hotels.com and get the room before we arrive. It's nice not having to drive around for an hour checking all the hotels, prices, wifi, vacancies, etc.

The key is getting the room before midnight - after that, the automated booking systems online are usually useless (at least with hotels.com you can't make same-night reservations aftr midnight). If it's a late chase, we try to get a room ASAP after the chase is over. By then we know what town where we're going to crash for the night. If we've still got a distance to go to our next-day target town, we find a WIFI spot as soon as we can to book the room before it gets too late. That way we've still got the room(s) even if we arrive at 3AM.

With hotels.com, we usually average $40-$50 per night (sometimes less) for a two-person occupancy. We usually don't have to pay extra for people sleeping on the floor unless we get a roll-away bed (which is very rarely). Most places give us extra pillows and blankets for free. We've had a couple of bad experiences with the desk clerk wanting to charge a lot more for the 3rd or 4th person, but for the most part it's not a problem.

The other thing is that we almost always end up caravanning with two or three other cars, and the result is getting two or three rooms with 3-4 people in each room. A hotel on a slow night will usually not want to turn down selling three rooms, and is usually willing to negotiate a little.
 
I appreciate the feedback...

My work doesn't allow me to leave all that often but if I don't schedule a client on a Friday, I'll be trying to head out there to intercept.

All of these hints will probably mean three trips instead of two.. and I Thank You!
 
Here's my two cents...

I have found that the best last-minute hotel deals are in those hotel broshures they give out at rest stops/truck stops/etc. Usually they have some coupons in them and they are very reasonably priced. I remember I got a room in Amarillo for about 60% off the regular rate last year. The only problem is that these coupon usually have restrictions based on how many people are staying at the hotel or what day of the week it is.


I agree with what Troy states above, I like what Dan said about Hotels.com and I will give that a try. Negotiating at the desk has worked once or twice for me. Finding a price online has worked for me also.

Strange stuff..
Days Inn in PA somewhere. The woman at the desk.. quoted my Girlfriend a rate while I was online in the parking lot. I went in to the desk to book a room and got quoted a higher rate ! I simply asked why is it cheaper for my girlfriend to book the room than it is for me ? They gave me the lower rate, and it matched the online rate. So send in the woman chaser on your team. :)

What I plan to do..
My work has put me in so many hotels that I have Hilton points to spare. I suppose a credit card that gives you hotel points might be a good choice for some chasers. Although until I started travelling A LOT it took a long long time for points to acumulate. I assume if you use a credit card a bunch then you might get a room or two free per season. The fees for the card might cost you $70/yr so in the end you might get about $70 bucks out of the deal.. Unless of course you are a credit card maniac.


In general I find I like the Motel 6 habit of posting rates on the sign. I like the guidebook they have also, they are always clean, and well managed. So in general you find me looking for a motel 6. Decent rate, easy to find.

Oh another note....
It seems that hotels call around to other hotels in the area for rate quotes and available rooms. It is NOT AN ACCIDENT that every hotel at exit 12 in Iowa is about $65/night. Motel 6 does not seem to price fix like that so in general I find them to be a good values. So driving around rarely seems to help. Negotiating over the phone might be better than negotiating at the desk. The proximity of a bed and a nights sleep makes me a rather weak negotiatier anyhow,.

--
Tom
 
In starting to scout the season, I've noticed that several Best Westerns I'm familiar with, e.g. Liberal, KS (La Fonda) and McCook, NE (Chief) have left the chain this season. Because they're scratching for business as independents, their rates are significantly lower, if you know where to find them.
 
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