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TIPS ON MAKING HOTEL RESERVATIONS:

When traveling for business or fun, there’s nothing worse than thinking you have a reservation and learning your hotel reservations been lost, your room has one bed and not two bedrooms, or you thought your check-in time was noon, only to find out it is really 3:00pm. To help avoid these things from happening, there are a few helpful hotel reservation tips seasoned travelers recommend:

Always use a credit card when making a hotel reservation. A credit cards offers the guest some level of protection should the hotel stay go awry. Any disputes a guest may have with the hotel, or with the billing can more easily be rectified through the credit card company. The card company will act as a mediator once their client can show effort to resolve the dispute. Additionally, if a dispute cannot be resolved, the credit card company has the authority to remove the charge from a client’s bill. If cash were paid, a hotel guest would have no recourse. Note: If you don’t use your own credit card to secure a reservation, be aware that the person whose name is on the card will be responsible for showing the card and signing at check in. If the card does not belong to the person staying at the hotel, notify the desk before leaving home (prior to arrival) and ask what their identification procedure is. They may accept a letter from the credit card holder authorizing use, and a copy of both the front and back of the card.

Ask for deals/discounts at each hotel. Many hotels offer corporate, AAA, senior, or even mid-week/off-season discounts. If one is not offered - ask about them. Many hotels now offer ‘rewards’ programs and some hotels reduce rates by $50 or more, for simply signing up for their program. If making reservations online, look for internet-only rates and shop various websites to find the best deals. Travel agents can often secure unadvertised specials or late check-in opportunities which can translate into huge savings.

When making reservations speak clearly and repeat spelling of all names. There have been many reservations lost because of inaccurate spelling and guests have been told they did not have rooms when a hotel or an entire city was booked to capacity. If any special requests are made, verify them and if possible get them in writing. Also make sure to get the name of the employee. Verify everything spell names and verify information/requests etc. Double check reservations prior to leaving for hotel and make sure names of all hotel employees you’ve spoken to are taken.

When reservations are made, changed and cancelled-confirmation numbers are given. Make sure all numbers are kept in a safe place until credit cards are billed and all charges are verified. Cancellation and confirmation numbers are often the difference between being charged for a hotel reservation that was cancelled, the possibility of a free upgrade when the hotel overbooks and you can prove when your reservation was made, and being stranded away from home without a room for the night.
Discuss hotel policies prior to making reservations, and verify them at check-in. Some hotels require credit cards at check in for any hotel charges, such as telephone usage, room service, meals in the hotel, or even take -out arranged through the hotel with area restaurants, etc. If a credit card is not available, a cash/check deposit maybe required for any services/fees that may accrue during the hotel stay. Determine when check-in/check-out times are, when cancellation policies go into affect and verify occupancy limits if staying in a room with multiple occupants.

Remember these hotel reservation tips when scheduling your travel plans. Whether by internet, through a travel agent, or by telephone, it pays to research the hotel and be meticulous when making arrangements. A little pre-planning when making reservations can save major headaches when traveling away from home.


DID YOU KNOW:
FINDING THE BEST HOTEL RATES:
Due to the internet, the manners in which hotel rooms are procured have drastically changed over the last couple of decades. Prior to internet access, guests called hotels directly to book rooms. While some guests continue to book rooms this way, many have learned that calling a hotel directly may not be the most economical choice. However, it is also been found that hotel rates also vary a great deal from website to website, especially discount travel sites.

Hotels are in constant competition with each other for your business. The goal of every hotel is to achieve 100% occupancy. Not only are they competing with each other, they are often competing with themselves. Look at how many hotels have various hotel chain subsidiaries beneath them. They must stay competitive, but still continue to make a profit while keeping their rooms occupied. This said, many hotels offer blocks of rooms to a variety of other entities to sell. Travel agents and online brokers typically compete to sell rooms for hotels, and they receive a percentage of the purchase price. The rate disparity comes into play two ways. First, the hotel is offering rooms at their standard rates or discount club rates. Second, because hotels offer these agents and booking websites various rates, someone who is getting a larger percentage of the sale price, can afford to offer the room at a lower rate than someone who is getting a small percentage from the sale.

Finding the best room rate:
If contacting the hotel directly, ask if they have any current specials. If your travel plans are flexible, inquire about any future specials, and the specific parameters of those specials.

If you’re a ‘select’, ‘rewards’ or hotel ‘member’, mention this, and ask if they have any special discounts available for members of their programs. Additionally, if you are affiliated with a corporate account, or a roadside assistance plan which offers travel benefits, mention that too. Sometimes guests are eligible for more than one discount and can pick and choose the one that provides the greatest savings.

When placing reservations online through a hotel booking service, first find the service that offers the best deal. The best deal may not be the one which provides the lowest price, but the service with the best room guarantee, who is willing to price match. If you’ve found the room for a lower rate elsewhere, tell your preferred vendor and ask them to match the price. Several websites will even provide a 30-day guarantee against lower prices - so even after booking your reservation, stay vigilant.

Hotel rates vary so much because there are numerous entities vying to secure your business by competing with each other. With a little investigative prowess, you can secure the best rates possible for your hotel stay, despite the varying rates.
DID YOU KNOW ARIZONA IS A VERY POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATION?

Arizona-the Grand Canyon State-is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Beyond the iconic Grand Canyon, experiences await you in every direction and in every corner of the state. Arizona is home to 47 national parks, monuments and refuges as well as 29 state parks that showcase mountains, buttes, deserts and hidden lakes. Visitors often start exploring Arizona from Phoenix, the state capital and the fifth largest city in the United States.

Phoenix and Outskirts
Today, Phoenix is a destination as well as a gateway to further adventure in the rugged deserts, lakes and canyons around its edges. Here are some sites to visit around the city:

Phoenix was not the first town to arise along the banks of the Salt River. Explore Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park to see where the ancient Sonoran Desert people once lived and farmed.

The145-acre Desert Botanical Garden strives to be the premier center in the world for the display, study and understanding of desert plants and their environments. Visitors from around the world come here to appreciate the beauty of the garden and to enjoy its outdoor trails, special events and education programs.

The Heard Museum is one of the world’s finest destinations for learning about American Indian arts and cultures with its 11 exhibition galleries, free guided tours, outdoor sculpture gardens, renowned café, art gallery, trading-post style shopping and more. Be sure and watch the Heard’s Native People of the Southwest video series.

There is a reason National Geographic named Phoenix one of "America’s Best Hiking Cities." Phoenix’s South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in the United States with 16,000 acres and 51 miles of trails for hiking, wildlife viewing or horseback riding. Other Phoenix area trails and desert preserves include Camelback Mountain, Shaw Butte and Piestewa Peak. The Tonto National Forest is another “backyard” desert playground for urban dwellers-tubing on the Salt River is an Arizona summer tradition!
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A LOOK AT THE HISTORICAL
DODGE CITY KANSAS



If you love Gunsmoke with Marshall Matt Dillon you will love going to the real Dodge City in Kansas. Dodge City was founded in 1872, just five miles west of Fort Dodge on the edge of the military reservation. It quickly became a trade center for travelers and buffalo hunters. The same year, the railroad reached Dodge City, assuring its continued existence and making it a major shipping point. An estimated 850,000 buffalo hides were shipped from Dodge City in the years 1872-1874.

The Santa Fe Trail, opened in 1821 by William Becknell, became a great commercial route between Franklin, Missouri, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, until 1880. Thousands of wagons traveled the Mountain Branch of the trail which went west from Dodge City along the north bank of the Arkansas River into Colorado. For those willing to risk the dangers of waterless sandhills, a shorter route called the Cimarron Cutoff crossed the river near Dodge City and went southwest to the Cimarron River.

Fort Dodge was established in 1865 on the Santa Fe Trail, midway between two major Indian crossings on the Arkansas River. It was an important outpost on the Western frontier, offering protection to wagon trains and serving as a supply base for troops engaged in the Indian Wars. Kiowa, Cheyenne and other Plains tribes inhabited the area, and wild game was abundant including vast herds of buffalo.

Through the years Dodge has had many titles: Buffalo
Capital of the World, Cowboy Capital, Queen of the Cowtowns, Wickedest Little City in America, Beautiful Bibulous Babylon of the Frontier and others. Dodge City was the buffalo capital for five years until mass slaughter destroyed the huge herds and left the prairie littered with decaying carcasses. Farmers, during hard times, gathered the bones and sold them for six to eight dollars a ton. The bones were used in the manufacture of china and for fertilizer.

By 1875, the buffalo were gone as a source of revenue, but the Longhorn cattle of Texas soon took their place. From 1875 to 1886, over 5,000,000 cattle were driven up the Western Trail from Texas to Dodge City. Cowboys from the cattle drives had more than a little influence in establishing Dodge City’s reputation as the wildest town on the western frontier. Such notable law men as Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp became legends in their
own time as they fought to bring law and order to the streets
of Dodge City.

The town these early men knew was laid out with two Front Streets, one on either side of the railroad tracks. The city passed an ordinance that guns could not be worn or carried north of the ‘deadline’ which was the railroad tracks. The south side where ‘anything went’ was wide open. In 1876 the population was 1,200 and nineteen businesses were licensed to sell liquor. During those first years the population varied according to the season, swelling during the summer with the influx of cowboys, buyers, gamblers and prostitutes. Business houses, dance halls and saloons catered to the Texas trade. Saloon keepers renamed their places Nueces, Alamo and Lone Star and served brandies, liqueurs and the latest mixed drinks. Ice usually was available so even beer could be served cold. Some saloons advertised anchovies and Russian caviar on their cold lunch menus.

Gambling ranged from a game of five cent Chuck-a-luck to thousand dollar poker pots. Many saloons offered some type of musical entertainment, a piano player, a singer, or as in Chalk Beeson’s Long Branch, a five piece orchestra. Beeson also organized and led the famous Cowboy Band which entertained all over the west at cattlemen’s conventions,
concerts, dances and in Washington, D.C. at the inauguration of President Harrison.

The town thrived and its populace of buffalo hunters, railroad workers, soldiers and drifters “settled their differences” in shoot-outs. Lawlessness reigned, creating the need for a burial place.

Boot Hill Cemetery.
For six years Dodge had no official cemetery. Persons dying who had friends, enough
money or sufficient standing in the community were buried in the post cemetery at Fort Dodge. Others, penniless or unknown, were buried where it was convenient to dig a hole. Boot Hill, now a part of downtown Dodge City, is the most famous burial ground in all western lore, even though it was used only until 1878. Fort Dodge was closed in 1882 and by 1886, the cattle drives had ended. An illustrious period of history was over but the legend lives on in Dodge City’s historic preservation of its romantic and internationally famous past.

The first settlement of non-indigenous people in the area that became Dodge City was Fort Mann. Built by civilians in 1847, Fort Mann was intended to provide protection for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Mann collapsed in 1848 after an Indian attack. In 1850, the U.S. Army arrived to provide protection in the region and constructed Fort Atkinson on the old Fort Mann site. The army abandoned Fort Atkinson in 1853. Military forces on the Santa Fe Trail were reestablished farther north and east at Fort Larned in 1859, but the area around what would become Dodge City remained vacant until the end of the Civil War in April 1865. In April 1865, as the Indian Wars in the West began heating up, the army constructed Fort Dodge to assist Fort Larned in providing protection on the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Dodge remained in operation until 1882.

The town of Dodge City can trace its origins to 1871 when rancher Henry J. Sitler built a sod house west of Fort Dodge to oversee his cattle operations in the region. Conveniently located near the Santa Fe Trail and Arkansas River, Sitler's house quickly became a stopping point for travelers. With the Santa Fe Railroad rapidly approaching from the east, others saw the commercial potential of the region. In 1872, Dodge City was staked out on the 100th Meridian and the legal Western boundary of the Fort Dodge reservation. The townsite was platted and George M. Hoover established the first bar in a tent to service thirsty soldiers from Fort Dodge. The railroad arrived in September to find a town ready and waiting for business. The early settlers in Dodge City traded in buffalo bones and hides and provided a civilian community for Fort Dodge. However, with the arrival of the railroad, Dodge City soon became involved in the cattle trade.

Today each summer, the Dodge City Chamber of Commerce holds Dodge City Days, the city's annual community festival. Lasting ten days, it includes the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, a parade, a beauty pageant, music concerts, a golf tournament, arts and craft shows, and other activities. Several other community events are held throughout the year. In early May, the city's sizable Mexican community celebrates Cinco de Mayo in Wright Park with live music, folk dance performances, and traditional Mexican cuisine. To celebrate Independence Day, the city holds its Old-Fashioned Fourth of July which includes a fireworks display and children's activities at Boot Hill.[84] Christmas in Old Dodge City, the city's winter holiday festival, starts in late November and lasts until Christmas. It begins with a formal Christmas tree lighting downtown, a chili cook-off, and the Parade of Lights, a parade of floats decorated with Christmas lights.

Two other annual events reflect the central role of agriculture in the local economy. The Ford County Fair is held in July and includes 4-H and FFA exhibits, competitions, and shows as well as other activities. Also in July, the Western Kansas Manufacturers Association (WKMA) holds the 3i Show, an agri-business expo of agricultural products, technology, and services.

for more visit: Dodge City




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