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Publication: Travel Tips
No Such Thing as a Stupid Question

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Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

October 9, 2007 

Hotels in the United States and other countries are seeing
big increases in bookings as vacationers return to the skies
and business people realize that conference calls and e-mail
just aren't as effective as talking with people face to

In the 25 largest hotel markets in America – which includes
cities like New York, Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles
– room occupancy rates were up nearly 6 percentage points
during the first eight months of this year, according to

Great. But keep in mind: Inside every silver lining, there's
a dark cloud...

Today's topics include:




P.S. If you're interested you can now post comments on this 
and recent issues on our forum at... Travel Tips Forum 

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It's always good when businesses prosper and the economy
zips merrily along. Good times, however, do change the
landscape for travel bargain hunters.

Desperation forced hotels to offer rock-bottom rates and
can't-believe-my-eyes promotions over the last several
years, making affordable lodging something even novice
cheapskates could easily find.

The recent increase in demand, however, has sharply raised
accommodation rates and made hotels less inclined to offer
deals. As business travel has inched back, so has the price
of weekday rooms.

American Express recently forecast a 3-percent rise in hotel
room rates in North America for next year and a 4-percent
increase for hotels in Asia and Pacific Rim countries.

The major hotel chains are now doing so well that they no
longer have to put as much excess room inventory up for sale
at discounted prices with third-party brokers. That's bad
news for travelers, like me, who have become addicted to the
deals found online through consolidators and dealers like
Priceline and Expedia.

These brokers are still great places to go and still have
very worthwhile offerings, but the changing travel economy
demands that you diversify your search for hotel bargains
and take other factors into consideration. Here are some

* Be flexible

It's Economics 101: The law of supply and demand. Make
yourself aware of your destination's peak season and try to
avoid it. You can sometimes save hundreds of dollars by
simply rearranging the timing of your trip by a couple of

Keep in mind that there's a reason why people are willing to
pay more to go somewhere during a particular time of year. A
Caribbean vacation can be a washout during the hurricane
season and the European countryside can lose quite a bit of
charm in the dead of winter.

I generally try to hit the post- or pre-peak season as close
to the margin as possible. You're likely to hit a few
nasty-weather days, but you're also probably going to hit a
few that manage peak-season quality.

When shopping for rate quotes, however, make sure to ask
each hotel specifically when their rates go down. If you end
up straddling the changeover date between in-season and
off-season rates, some hotels will charge you the full
in-season rate for your entire stay.

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Take a look at how Jim brought in over $187,000 in a single 

Visit: automatic income streams

* Ask for a lower rate

Sounds simple, right? It is, but many people assume that the
advertised rate is the best hotels are willing to do. When
getting quotes, make sure you ask about any promotions or
discounts that may be offered. 

If you fall into any of the following categories – AAA
member, senior, family, weekend traveler, government
employee, frequent flyer, convention attendee, company
shareholder, corporate employee, union member, veteran or
anything else you can think of – ask if that qualifies you
for any kind of benefit. 

Hotels, according to IndependentTraveler.com, even often
have what is called a "fallback" rate, for travelers who
resist the quoted rate. Sometimes you just need to provide
them with the right excuse to offer it to you.

* Dial direct

Using a hotel chain's 800 number won't always save you

Specials are frequently offered at particular hotels that
can't be submitted through central reservations system that
the 800 number patches you into. The agents who pick up that
phone usually have no direct access to room availability,
and are often not authorized to negotiate. 

Hotel agents are generally more in touch with availability
and specials, and are therefore more flexible with rates.
They can also frequently find you rooms when the 800 agents
or the website keep telling you that the hotel is completely
sold out for the dates you want.

* Read your junk mail

Sometimes, buried in all that junk stuffed in with your
credit card statement, are vouchers or guarantees decent
hotel rates offered in conjunction with your credit card
company. Typically, you have to request the specific rate
code outlined in the fliers and reserve and pay for the room
with the specific credit card the advertisement came with.

iPod Like MP3/MP4 Player (Play Music, Video & Pictures)...

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Here's an item that our Gopher Staff went crazy over. It's 
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* Use up those frequent flier miles

Been getting nervous about all those frequent flier miles
you've got banked with one of the three major airlines
working through, or desperately trying to avoid, bankruptcy?
Using them to cover the cost of your hotel is a great way to
use them up before your airline goes the way of the
passenger pigeon.

Check with whatever airline you're a frequent flyer with to
see which hotel chains will accept your banked miles as a
trade in. 

* Become a frequent sleeper

If you travel a lot, you can save money by joining one of
the major chain's loyalty programs. That's basically a
frequent flier program for hotel guests.

As a preferred guest, you earn points toward future hotel
stays every time you rent a room. Just how good a deal this
is varies given the particular program, individual
travelers' habits and other deals that are available at the
particular time and place of a person's trip.

Personally, I find these rewards programs a bit confining,
and have better luck prospecting for better deals outside of
a specific chain's boundaries. Other folks, however, swear
by these systems and say knowing that their accommodations
will meet their minimum standards far outweighs the
opportunity cost of a big promotion at a hotel they know
nothing about.

* Use a coupon

If you're watching your dollars close enough to get this far
into the newsletter, coupon cutting should be no alien
practice to you.

An incredible number of discount coupon and voucher
companies crank out print and Internet versions of deals you
can tear off, snip out, download, print out or merely
mention to save on just about every aspect of travel.

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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