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!
LOS ANGELES THE CITY OF ANGELS
Los Angeles is a beautiful place to visit and has millions of visitors each year. The Los Angeles area stretches 40 miles (64 kilometers), from 5,000-foot (1,500-meter) mountains to the Pacific, and claims 467 square miles (1,209 square kilometers). That's 20 Manhattan Islands, or ten San Franciscos, or two Chicagos. Within a three-hour drive you can ski, hike alpine wilderness, fly cast, or surf.
Even bigger is the Angeleno concept of L.A., which annexes adjoining self-governing municipalities. Thus Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Culver City, and Malibu are seen as nice neighborhoods belonging to the Big Pueblo. Ditto Burbank and the San Fernando Valley, where the ditsy dialect known as Valley Girl arose.
Some of the things you can see and do while in LA:
The amazing Los Angeles nightlife offers endless entertainment options, whether it’s a quiet drink with that special someone or dancing the night away with thousands of fellow party people. Downtown LA's vibrant nightlife includes L.A. LIVE and numerous bars and nightclubs. In Hollywood you can go out and dress to impress at Drai’s and The Colony. Universal CityWalk Hollywood has everything from the Hard Rock Cafe to the dueling pianos of Howl at the Moon. LA bartenders create some of the best cocktails in the country at top bars, restaurants and hotels. Laugh it up at the Hollywood Improv Comedy Club or the Laugh Factory.
Want to see LA from the air? Take a Celebrity Helicopter Tours:
Stunt helicopter pilot Robin Petgrave's (Broken Arrow, The Circuit) popular tours fly a maximum of three up the coastline, over Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood, Hollywood, and the sparkling Hollywood Reservoir. See Aaron Spelling's 21-car garage, and Eddie Murphy's new 77,000-square-foot mansion from the air-without privacy gates or hedges, says Petgrave. In an ironic twist: proceeds go towards a worthy cause-a Compton-based children's flight program. www.celebheli.com
The Getty Center Los Angeles
"LA's fabulous outdoor living room that happens to have some old art."-Matthew Flynn, co-author, Fodor's L.A. Perched high above Los Angeles, Richard Meier's architectural triumph of travertine and white granite contains European and American art, sculpture, and manuscripts. Better still, go for the hilltop vistas of mountains, ocean, the span of the city, and the white Hollywood sign. Happenings include a summer outdoor concert series. Admission is free, though parking is $8. 1200 Getty Center Dr.; tel. +1 310 440 7300; www.getty.edu
"Often considered intimidating, this city is an amalgamation of everything from the indie hipster to the obnoxious socialite."-Rebecca Brown. Don't miss the Walk of Fame (hand and footprints of the stars), Grauman's Chinese Theater (over-the-top pagoda), the Egyptian Theater (art deco behemoth now hosting classy retrospectives), El Capitan Theatre (Disney screening venue with ornate, authentic detail), and the Erotic Museum (small but interesting).
Stately museum housing American and European paintings and decorative art. The highlight is outside: 120 acres of exquisitely manicured gardens, including an extensive desert garden with countless otherworldly aloe plants, a sprawling Japanese garden with arched bridges and bonsai trees, wild Australian parkland, and a children's garden. Massive new Chinese garden opened in 2008. 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino; tel. +1 626 405 2100; www.huntington.org
"Ultimate insider's beach community. Billionaires and beach bums sharing sand."-Matthew Flynn. 21 miles of precarious coastline. The marshy Malibu Lagoon State Beach is ideal for bird-watching or surfer-watching; the Malibu Pier makes for a rustic fisherman's sunset perch; and Zuma Beach is paradise for sunbathers and volleyball players.
Nicknamed the City of Angels, Los Angeles is a global city, with strengths in business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, medicine and research and has been ranked sixth in the Global Cities Index and 9th Global Economic Power Index. The city is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. T
he Los Angeles combined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third-largest in the world, after the Greater Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles includes Hollywood and leads the world in the creation of television productions, video games, and recorded music; it is also one of the leaders in motion picture production. Additionally, Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984.