I do a lot of research before I travel, and well in advance. I knew I was going to New York City, and I had heard you can't get a room for less than $500. As I researched, I learned that wasn't entirely true. You really could not get a decent room for less than $350. That's still a lot of money, when you are planning 4 nights in the city!
- TREKTIP: Research. Research. Research. And Then Book Early.
- TREKTIP: Don't Freak Out When You Arrive and Your Room is Gone!
When we arrived (traveling with 16-year-old daughter), after a long travel day from the west coast, we were told our reservation did not exist. TREKTHERAPY DOSE: Remain calm. Do not react negatively. I smartly carried my internet receipt and pulled that out to quietly show them. As it turned out, their records showed us checking in on Friday, and today was Saturday. They crossed us off their system as a "no show." My internet receipt clearly had us checking in on Saturday. They were very apologetic and offered me a smoking room. As a past asthmatic sufferer, that was a deal killer. I smiled, and politely declined and very calmly suggested they refund my prepaid funds, and help us find another room in the city. I was so relaxed and nonplussed about the whole thing. I surprised myself at how in control I was, considering how utterly tired we were. The desk clerk went behind closed doors and came back out and started clicking frantically on her reservation system keyboard. AHA! A non-smoking room magically appeared! But...it was very small, she said. Two twin beds, in a standard room, and not the Deluxe Double I had booked. She convinced me, with her manager standing over her shoulder, that was really all they had to offer. I believed her, but I hesitated. The manager stepped in and offered $100 toward breakfast, and an upgrade starting Sunday, as soon as rooms opened up. At this moment I sensed opportunity, so I asked, upgrade to what? And he said a very nice Executive Suite, and assured me I would not be disappointed.
- TREKTIP: Know When To Say "Yes Please!" and "Thank You So Much!"
I knew the front desk had made a grand effort to accommodate me, and this was the moment to appreciate their excellent customer service. While it wasn't ideal to have to move from one room to another, unpack and repack, I felt they did what they could, so I said, "Well, that sounds great! I appreciate your efforts, and thank you so much!" Everyone was smiling and laughing and we moved forward with the transaction. TREKTHERAPY DOSE: It pays to be super calm, and super nice because you get free stuff! As we were settling in to our tiny room, there was a knock on the door. It was room service carrying a complimentary bottle of red wine, two wine glasses, a plate of cookies smothered in m&ms, and a glass of milk in a bucket of ice! Compliments of the manager. That felt good. The next day morning we ordered an insane brunch of lox, bagels, cream cheese, coffee and fruit. There went the $100 credit! And in the afternoon we were moved to a TWO BATHROOM suite, with a King size bedroom, and living room. Our friends visited later that evening, and when they arrived in our "apartment in the city," I offered them a glass of wine. We had the most marvelous vacation, all on a budget - with style!