Well, it’s Christmas time here in Texas and the hotel is bustling with holiday business. Hotel holidays are interesting creatures… some holidays you can expect the hotel will be almost empty (usually Thanksgiving on this one), but some are just jam-packed (usually 4th of July, oddly enough). Christmas and the other end of year holidays are a middling affair. You can usually count on being half full (or half empty, you pessimist!). This year did not disappoint.
Here’s a couple of hotel hints for your holiday travel:
- This especially applies to holidays, but is great advice any time of the year: Book around a month+ in advance, if at all possible if you need to guarantee a room.
1a. A little addendum here: If you are an extreme bargain hunter and can live with the risk of not getting a room, you can gamble with this advice. Some hotels (ours not included in this) will offer discounted rates (if you ask) to get more heads in beds, but only if the holiday numbers are looking a bit low. If you gamble on this, it could come back to bite you. If the numbers are high, then you might not be able to get any truly significant discounts (or any discounts at all)! It’s your choice, but know you run the two risks: High prices or the hotel not even offering a discount for the season. I highly recommend calling the hotel (directly) a month in advance and ask what their policy is, or ask if they could offer you a discount on the spot.
2. Always try to negotiate or haggle. I hate giving this advice as a behind-the-counter person, because there’s nothing more annoying than someone who doesn’t know when to stop haggling. I will post a follow-up post in the near future about price negotiation etiquette. Hotels don’t always have a cheaper rate available! They may have offered you the lowest they could go when they began. Often, that is not the case though. It does not hurt to ask. If they say there is no cheaper rate available, then either accept that and pay the man/woman behind the desk or you can gamble.
(The following advice is a really low move, just letting you know ahead of time that it will garner negative feelings and MAY cause an unfavorable situation, such as a room right next to an elevator shaft, facing the busy highway, next door to the party of 8 in a room that should be holding 4, etc.). You could gamble, as I said, and use the “Well I guess I’ll have to leave if I can’t get a lower price” line. Note: I do not recommend this! You may find that a lower rate has miraculously opened up or you might see a blank face and hear a “I’m sorry to hear that, sir/madam. We will miss your business.” (I do hope you realize at this point where you went wrong and that they sincerely do NOT miss your business).
A final point on negotiating prior to my next hotel post, it doesn’t hurt to ask. The worst they can tell you is no. It CAN hurt if you ask in the wrong way, so we’ll be helping you avoid that.
3. Realize that there are real, living, caring, breathing people behind that desk and cleaning those rooms. If it’s a major holiday, chances are that you have somewhere to go and something to do. The thing about hotels is that they never close. So chances are, the people who are working probably have somewhere to go and something to do. I know the difference a guest can make by acknowledging that the hotel staff have a life beyond these walls… it made all the difference to that housekeeper. She was truly touched by the guest’s sincerity when he stopped her from what she was doing, quickly told her “Merry Christmas, and I hope your granddaughter has a great Christmas” and handed her a small Christmas gift.
Like my last hotel post would tell you, being a nice, decent human being will make all the difference in your stay. If you go out of your way to show that you care about the hotel staff, they will go out of their way to make your life as pleasant as possible while you’re staying at their property.
So for all who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas! If that’s not your cup of tea, then happy holidays! And if you don’t like that, well good tidings and well wishes go your way as well!
Thanks to all who read, I hope to continue providing interesting content!