Monday, April 27, 2009

Negotiating for Bargain Travel and Lodging

Every time I turn on the television or pick up a magazine the media are encouraging the traveler to negotiate for better travel bargains. The following is one innkeeper's perspective on this subject: Mother always told you that "You get what you pay for.". I really believe that this holds true when you travel. In this past year we have had more people try and play "Let's Make a Deal" with lodging prices. From the innkeeper perspective we look at what we offer, what it costs to offer that and what we need to charge for a room to make that happen. The traveler, however, wants a lower price. So, how does the innkeeper make that happen? For example, you have a luxury, Jacuzzi room with a fireplace. You offer luxury bath robes, upscale amenities, chocolates from the local chocolate factory by the bedside, complimentary bottled water & hot beverages, high thread-count sheets that feel like satin, over-sized bath towels and a homemade breakfast made from scratch. The published rate on the room for a weekend is $175 but the traveler wants to bargain you down to $99. What does the traveler want to give up? In order for the innkeeper to knock $76 off the room rate does the traveler want to give up amenities, breakfast, chocolates, have cheap sheets? Probably not. Another expense would be the person to clean that luxury room. It takes a good hour to thoroughly clean that room but if the traveler wants a $99 rate does the innkeeper give the housekeeper 15 minutes to make it look good? We've met a former housekeeper at a hotel that told us that they were given 15 minutes to clean a room. So they clean your toilet, rinse your bath tub and make your bed and maybe vacuum the main walk way in their 15 minutes. Do you really want to sleep in a room that had 15 minutes of housekeeping? We've also heard that there is a major outbreak of bed bugs in the USA right now. In order to get that $99 rate do you think that hotel is going to bring in a pest control guy on a regular basis? Probably not. Smaller B&B's who offer lodging as a means of income are in less of a negotiating position than the big hotels with more rooms, however the traveler needs to decide if they want luxurious amenities and a clean room or sacrifice what they get for a cheaper rate. The next time you make travel arrangements think about the saying "You get what you pay for".
This blog is written by Carol Steffey, Owner at Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast in Holmes County Ohio Amish Country.

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