When Booking

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Ask your hotel about their group policy. Some hotels extend a complimentary room when a minimum number of rooms are booked. Traditionally planners take complimentary rooms, but here’s another idea. Designate the rooms for students or elders who cannot afford housing. Bringing in those potential members—or members in need now—make it more likely that they will come (and pay) in the future. Thanks to Visit Fairfax (fxva.com) for this idea.

Always ask hotels what extras they provide.

Negotiate breakfast and/or cocktail hour into the room rate.

Ask if your hotel offers complimentary airport, train or bus station transfers or shuttles.

Ask for free parking.

Book as many members as possible for deep discounts to take advantage of group rates.

Use senior discount privileges, where applicable.

Use entertainment books that feature destination discount rates and coupons.

Ask if the hotel room has a coffee maker, refrigerator or microwave. Then, eat in to save on some meal costs.

Ask if the hotel has a gym or pool and bring appropriate clothes to get some exercise. No excuses!

Ask if the hotel offers free WiFi or a free business center with computer access.

Many large hotels have themed decorations stashed away in closets or stock–rooms. They might have décor pieces/props/server uniforms. Common themes are beach party, luau, baseball, Wild West, patriotic (red, white, and blue), etc. While the hotel would prefer to charge for using props or decorations, you should inquire about what they have available, and negotiate using their props or decorations for free or at a reduced rate. Say, “I’ll sign a contract today if you agree to dress up my cookout on your patio with your beach party props!” A great suggestion from Dean Miller, National Sales Manager at Visit Fairfax.

Hostels are cheaper. Hostels include travelers of all ages—not just the young. They usually provide breakfast and heartier breakfasts yield leftovers for lunch. There is also free WiFi access. Front desk workers can point you to unique sites worth seeing. Reservations at Lonely Planet and Hostel World allow you to search by location, price and type of hostel, with photos and a description of the accommodations.

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