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Haggling with the front desk for a better room rate

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Joey Camb

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Ive worked in big hotels for a lot of years and they would have a fit if you reduced a price to match. It was always the policy to say you booked it made a contract if you want cheaper you should have kept looking. Plus in my town and with the internet you can guarantee I can tell you within a pound what they are charging! plus we weren't even allowed to take off commission for walk in's (ie 50 on late rooms at 15% commission give 15% off euals same money) nope not at all. Plus it makes no difference to most front desk staff if you stay or not so all you are doing is embarasing yourself. In a private or small place you may have a slight chance if you are a walk in as they want the money but otherwise you are having a laugh!
 

Samster

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AHA! This is why we sometimes get the guests that say, "I spoke to so-and-so and they offered me the same room for $x less"! They are trying to play the pit-the-front-desk-people-against-each-other game. :-( Explains a lot...
I have to say some things about an "economy" hotel stay this past weekend when we had to change our plans unexpectedly due to Winter weather. HI Express for $84/night...yep, that's what I paid. The "Winter Special" was $99/night and I asked for a retired military discount and was offered $84. I did not beat them down for it at all. The Triple A was $89/night which was offered by way of info, we didn't ask.
Hotel was less than 3 months old & 5 stories in a city of about 200K people - mid town location. Front desk clerk put us on the top floor without asking. Immaculate and quiet. The front desk, breakfast room, and housekeeping staff were extremely nice. Front desk folks all knew the area and could recommend sites and restaurants.
In-room Amenities: Daily USA Today, FREE Internet (WiFi and high speed cable), plenty of plugs for electronic devices (they used those lamps with the plugs in the base which were actually very attractive), ice bucket, coffee and tea service, 32" HD flat screen TV with HBO and lots of cable channels, phone, iron/ironing board, in-room safe, wood hangers in the closet, full-length mirror, individual temp control which was very quiet, King bed with triple sheeting, non-smoking, spacious & nicely furnished with desk, comfortable chairs, and plenty of horizontal space. Bathroom: large granite countertop & granite shower walls, rain-head shower, curved rod with cloth shower curtain, plenty of soft, plush towels & wash cloths, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, 2 soaps, facial tissues, hair dryer. If you forgot anything like your toothbrush or razor, just call the desk and it was yours....for free.
Hotel amenities: Plenty of free, lighted parking, heated indoor pool, business center, beautiful 2-story breakfast room with fireplace, large screen TV, soft seating, seating with easy access to plugs for biz travelers, along with regular tables, complimentary breakfast from 6:30 - 9:30 AM which included egg hot entree and meat (different all 3 days we were there) along with yogurt, milk, bananas, cereals, warm sweet rolls, toast, bagel, English muffin, juices, teas, and brewed coffee. The hot food was tasty & my dh liked the sweet rolls. The only breakfast negative was the weak coffee (there was a Fivebucks across the street) and no regular creamer but there were several types of mini-moos. Oh, and trays so you could take your breakfast back to your room.
No restaurant in this hotel but there was an upscale Sheraton and Hilton Garden Inn within walking distance across a parking lot with lounges and restaurants. Super easy access to everything that we wanted to get to in this city - centrally located. No view or anything like that.
Hey, I am the first one to lead the "better way to stay" parade as y'all know (and I know that hotels have the advantage of space which is not the case for a lot of B&Bs), but this suited our needs perfectly, was loaded with amenities, and was less than half the price of the few B&Bs and a historic inn in this city. So we were able to indulge our son & his fiancee on what we saved on lodging. We will probably stay there again.
There are many of these types of hotels that have been built in the last year here. Not to mention the suite hotels with kitchenettes. The one remaining B&B here is really struggling, I think, because they are not providing the "added value" that folks expect in a B&B, they have not updated their rooms, and their least expensive small Queen room on their booking engine is $165/night. They have staff and provide breakfast in their restaurant only for guests which guests have to walk to.
This is what's out there and could explain some of the calls y'all are getting....
 

Alibi Ike

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I'd like to leave a comment but they haven't sent my email to sign up.
 

EmptyNest

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When we went home for Christmas, I had booked reg. rate at the hotel. I was not dropping any names to see if I could get a better rate..but low and behold, my cousin, the manager walked in just as we were checking in. We got the family rate:) Saved me $30 a night ...that was nice.
 

Tom

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I like the "called five plus hotels and finally saved $20". Real big pay out.
A big part of the problem is that some, generally younger, but not always, customers think they are supposed to haggle. It is the mind set on TV, Priceline and now Groupon: don't ever pay the list price or you are a chump. We don't haggle and in large measure we won't so we don't undercut our customers who pay our listed price without complaint.
It gets tiresome, though to have to spend time on the phone being polite when you know the person will not pay your price. They try to be endearing, or pushy, or ... anything other than be a customer.
Recently, after being told that our low winter mid-week rate is $150 for two, a caller said another B&B in town had offered her and her friend $50/night. Great, I say, knowing that there is no such B&B - maybe a room for rent, but not B&B - but she tells me they don't have room for the nights in question, can I match that rate? I advise her to keep looking, I'm sure she will find a place.
Just not mine. Why would I want to get up in the dark and fix a nice breakfast for someone who doesn't want to be here?
 

Alibi Ike

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I like the "called five plus hotels and finally saved $20". Real big pay out.
A big part of the problem is that some, generally younger, but not always, customers think they are supposed to haggle. It is the mind set on TV, Priceline and now Groupon: don't ever pay the list price or you are a chump. We don't haggle and in large measure we won't so we don't undercut our customers who pay our listed price without complaint.
It gets tiresome, though to have to spend time on the phone being polite when you know the person will not pay your price. They try to be endearing, or pushy, or ... anything other than be a customer.
Recently, after being told that our low winter mid-week rate is $150 for two, a caller said another B&B in town had offered her and her friend $50/night. Great, I say, knowing that there is no such B&B - maybe a room for rent, but not B&B - but she tells me they don't have room for the nights in question, can I match that rate? I advise her to keep looking, I'm sure she will find a place.
Just not mine. Why would I want to get up in the dark and fix a nice breakfast for someone who doesn't want to be here?.
I will ask if there are any discounts or packages available as not every website is up to date. I've gotten grumpy innkeepers telling me 'all the discounts are on the website, that's it, nothing else'. What I was trying to confirm in that case was if they would extend the discount one day (into the next month as it ended at the end of the month). No, they would not. OK, that's fair, but I kept looking.
I know I go through the same thing here, so I understand, but you don't have to grump at me.
Anyone who tells me they are getting some fantastic deal somewhere else can go and stay there. Like those hotel people in the article, I know who is charging what around here and if someone told them $50 on the phone they should jump on it.
Like you, why bother getting out of bed for $50 and guests who will then be set that that is the price and will never spend a dime more anywhere? Sometimes they can really be insulting. I want to say, 'By the way, when you get your paycheck this week? It'll be short $100 because the boss found someone else who will work for 1/3 of what you do.'
 

JBloggs

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Again to beat the same drum I always do, foreign guests feel they are expected to haggle at hotels and never pay "rack rate" it is the norm in Europe and Australia.
 

Alibi Ike

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Again to beat the same drum I always do, foreign guests feel they are expected to haggle at hotels and never pay "rack rate" it is the norm in Europe and Australia..
At least most of them go at it with decorum. They praise the building, how lovely it is, how perfect it would be to stay, how they are sure the meals are wonderful. Not, 'What's your best deal,' when you open the door! (Yes, I know some are just rude, but they are easier to rebuff by quoting a ridiculously high price to start.)
 

Breakfast Diva

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I just received an e-mail saying how she fell in love with our b&b from the website, but our prices were a bit high for her. States she found a b&b that was offering rooms for $100 a night, including champagne and chocolate dip strawberries! She's looking at the weekend closest to Valentine's Day. Oh.....and she wants our most expensive cottage!
I wrote back that there will be no discounts for that weekend, we'll be fully booked, so she should consider one of the lesser expense rooms.
Nope....It's insulting and I'm not playing that game. Let her stay at the other place. You get what you pay for.
 

Alibi Ike

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I just received an e-mail saying how she fell in love with our b&b from the website, but our prices were a bit high for her. States she found a b&b that was offering rooms for $100 a night, including champagne and chocolate dip strawberries! She's looking at the weekend closest to Valentine's Day. Oh.....and she wants our most expensive cottage!
I wrote back that there will be no discounts for that weekend, we'll be fully booked, so she should consider one of the lesser expense rooms.
Nope....It's insulting and I'm not playing that game. Let her stay at the other place. You get what you pay for..
I guess the attitude is the same in that email as it is here at the door, but it goes down so much better in Italian!
 

Samster

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Again to beat the same drum I always do, foreign guests feel they are expected to haggle at hotels and never pay "rack rate" it is the norm in Europe and Australia..
Also true now that most folks here in the States do NOT expect to pay the published or "rack" rate at hotels. There is usually some kind of discount or package running. We were told the special at the desk last weekend, we did not even ask for anything up front.
 

Samster

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I like the "called five plus hotels and finally saved $20". Real big pay out.
A big part of the problem is that some, generally younger, but not always, customers think they are supposed to haggle. It is the mind set on TV, Priceline and now Groupon: don't ever pay the list price or you are a chump. We don't haggle and in large measure we won't so we don't undercut our customers who pay our listed price without complaint.
It gets tiresome, though to have to spend time on the phone being polite when you know the person will not pay your price. They try to be endearing, or pushy, or ... anything other than be a customer.
Recently, after being told that our low winter mid-week rate is $150 for two, a caller said another B&B in town had offered her and her friend $50/night. Great, I say, knowing that there is no such B&B - maybe a room for rent, but not B&B - but she tells me they don't have room for the nights in question, can I match that rate? I advise her to keep looking, I'm sure she will find a place.
Just not mine. Why would I want to get up in the dark and fix a nice breakfast for someone who doesn't want to be here?.
I will ask if there are any discounts or packages available as not every website is up to date. I've gotten grumpy innkeepers telling me 'all the discounts are on the website, that's it, nothing else'. What I was trying to confirm in that case was if they would extend the discount one day (into the next month as it ended at the end of the month). No, they would not. OK, that's fair, but I kept looking.
I know I go through the same thing here, so I understand, but you don't have to grump at me.
Anyone who tells me they are getting some fantastic deal somewhere else can go and stay there. Like those hotel people in the article, I know who is charging what around here and if someone told them $50 on the phone they should jump on it.
Like you, why bother getting out of bed for $50 and guests who will then be set that that is the price and will never spend a dime more anywhere? Sometimes they can really be insulting. I want to say, 'By the way, when you get your paycheck this week? It'll be short $100 because the boss found someone else who will work for 1/3 of what you do.'
.
I think you make a really good point that innkeepers do not need to be grumps when guests inquire about discounts. How many times have we discussed here on this forum that many B&B/inn websites are not the most up-to-date? Or even that they don't have online booking or availability?
There are always people out there that think they can call at the last minute and try to get a super cheap rate, even at a B&B. They're not educated about how B&Bs usually operated. I would give them the phone number for a local "economy" hotel if they told me that they were just traveling through and wanted a clean bed for under $100/night. No biggie...
Those folks are not looking for the B&B "experience" and extra value........
 

Alibi Ike

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I like the "called five plus hotels and finally saved $20". Real big pay out.
A big part of the problem is that some, generally younger, but not always, customers think they are supposed to haggle. It is the mind set on TV, Priceline and now Groupon: don't ever pay the list price or you are a chump. We don't haggle and in large measure we won't so we don't undercut our customers who pay our listed price without complaint.
It gets tiresome, though to have to spend time on the phone being polite when you know the person will not pay your price. They try to be endearing, or pushy, or ... anything other than be a customer.
Recently, after being told that our low winter mid-week rate is $150 for two, a caller said another B&B in town had offered her and her friend $50/night. Great, I say, knowing that there is no such B&B - maybe a room for rent, but not B&B - but she tells me they don't have room for the nights in question, can I match that rate? I advise her to keep looking, I'm sure she will find a place.
Just not mine. Why would I want to get up in the dark and fix a nice breakfast for someone who doesn't want to be here?.
I will ask if there are any discounts or packages available as not every website is up to date. I've gotten grumpy innkeepers telling me 'all the discounts are on the website, that's it, nothing else'. What I was trying to confirm in that case was if they would extend the discount one day (into the next month as it ended at the end of the month). No, they would not. OK, that's fair, but I kept looking.
I know I go through the same thing here, so I understand, but you don't have to grump at me.
Anyone who tells me they are getting some fantastic deal somewhere else can go and stay there. Like those hotel people in the article, I know who is charging what around here and if someone told them $50 on the phone they should jump on it.
Like you, why bother getting out of bed for $50 and guests who will then be set that that is the price and will never spend a dime more anywhere? Sometimes they can really be insulting. I want to say, 'By the way, when you get your paycheck this week? It'll be short $100 because the boss found someone else who will work for 1/3 of what you do.'
.
I think you make a really good point that innkeepers do not need to be grumps when guests inquire about discounts. How many times have we discussed here on this forum that many B&B/inn websites are not the most up-to-date? Or even that they don't have online booking or availability?
There are always people out there that think they can call at the last minute and try to get a super cheap rate, even at a B&B. They're not educated about how B&Bs usually operated. I would give them the phone number for a local "economy" hotel if they told me that they were just traveling through and wanted a clean bed for under $100/night. No biggie...
Those folks are not looking for the B&B "experience" and extra value........
.
Yes, it is so much easier to give them the number than to get upset with them. Generally, if I can (as in they don't hang up or just walk away from the door), I give them places with much better rates than they asked for. At least someone in town will make some money!
We're not home right now and the phone keeps ringing for one nighters for 'tonight'! I'm keeping one B&B in town busy with phone calls if not reservations! They all want to know what's going on in town that no one has any openings! I told the last caller that a lot of us are on vacation right now as there is a professional innkeeping convention going on. (Not where I am at the moment, but some of the B&B's in town that are closed are there.)
 

Samster

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I like the "called five plus hotels and finally saved $20". Real big pay out.
A big part of the problem is that some, generally younger, but not always, customers think they are supposed to haggle. It is the mind set on TV, Priceline and now Groupon: don't ever pay the list price or you are a chump. We don't haggle and in large measure we won't so we don't undercut our customers who pay our listed price without complaint.
It gets tiresome, though to have to spend time on the phone being polite when you know the person will not pay your price. They try to be endearing, or pushy, or ... anything other than be a customer.
Recently, after being told that our low winter mid-week rate is $150 for two, a caller said another B&B in town had offered her and her friend $50/night. Great, I say, knowing that there is no such B&B - maybe a room for rent, but not B&B - but she tells me they don't have room for the nights in question, can I match that rate? I advise her to keep looking, I'm sure she will find a place.
Just not mine. Why would I want to get up in the dark and fix a nice breakfast for someone who doesn't want to be here?.
I will ask if there are any discounts or packages available as not every website is up to date. I've gotten grumpy innkeepers telling me 'all the discounts are on the website, that's it, nothing else'. What I was trying to confirm in that case was if they would extend the discount one day (into the next month as it ended at the end of the month). No, they would not. OK, that's fair, but I kept looking.
I know I go through the same thing here, so I understand, but you don't have to grump at me.
Anyone who tells me they are getting some fantastic deal somewhere else can go and stay there. Like those hotel people in the article, I know who is charging what around here and if someone told them $50 on the phone they should jump on it.
Like you, why bother getting out of bed for $50 and guests who will then be set that that is the price and will never spend a dime more anywhere? Sometimes they can really be insulting. I want to say, 'By the way, when you get your paycheck this week? It'll be short $100 because the boss found someone else who will work for 1/3 of what you do.'
.
I think you make a really good point that innkeepers do not need to be grumps when guests inquire about discounts. How many times have we discussed here on this forum that many B&B/inn websites are not the most up-to-date? Or even that they don't have online booking or availability?
There are always people out there that think they can call at the last minute and try to get a super cheap rate, even at a B&B. They're not educated about how B&Bs usually operated. I would give them the phone number for a local "economy" hotel if they told me that they were just traveling through and wanted a clean bed for under $100/night. No biggie...
Those folks are not looking for the B&B "experience" and extra value........
.
Yes, it is so much easier to give them the number than to get upset with them. Generally, if I can (as in they don't hang up or just walk away from the door), I give them places with much better rates than they asked for. At least someone in town will make some money!
We're not home right now and the phone keeps ringing for one nighters for 'tonight'! I'm keeping one B&B in town busy with phone calls if not reservations! They all want to know what's going on in town that no one has any openings! I told the last caller that a lot of us are on vacation right now as there is a professional innkeeping convention going on. (Not where I am at the moment, but some of the B&B's in town that are closed are there.)
.
hahaha.... Yeah, again...it's that people don't understand that small B&B owners are usually the only "employees" and that we close and/or block availability for renovations or "vacations". Even with a message on the machine when we were closed, it always baffled me when people would leave a message looking for a room for sometime in the range of our closed dates. huh?
My dh just talked to someone on the phone last night who was totally confused about the whole concept that we would actually have closed our business last year. What??? I guess it's that whole thing of living on the Internet for awhile. But, c'mon folks, if we're closed, we're closed! We're not trying to kid you.
 

EmptyNest

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I like the "called five plus hotels and finally saved $20". Real big pay out.
A big part of the problem is that some, generally younger, but not always, customers think they are supposed to haggle. It is the mind set on TV, Priceline and now Groupon: don't ever pay the list price or you are a chump. We don't haggle and in large measure we won't so we don't undercut our customers who pay our listed price without complaint.
It gets tiresome, though to have to spend time on the phone being polite when you know the person will not pay your price. They try to be endearing, or pushy, or ... anything other than be a customer.
Recently, after being told that our low winter mid-week rate is $150 for two, a caller said another B&B in town had offered her and her friend $50/night. Great, I say, knowing that there is no such B&B - maybe a room for rent, but not B&B - but she tells me they don't have room for the nights in question, can I match that rate? I advise her to keep looking, I'm sure she will find a place.
Just not mine. Why would I want to get up in the dark and fix a nice breakfast for someone who doesn't want to be here?.
I will ask if there are any discounts or packages available as not every website is up to date. I've gotten grumpy innkeepers telling me 'all the discounts are on the website, that's it, nothing else'. What I was trying to confirm in that case was if they would extend the discount one day (into the next month as it ended at the end of the month). No, they would not. OK, that's fair, but I kept looking.
I know I go through the same thing here, so I understand, but you don't have to grump at me.
Anyone who tells me they are getting some fantastic deal somewhere else can go and stay there. Like those hotel people in the article, I know who is charging what around here and if someone told them $50 on the phone they should jump on it.
Like you, why bother getting out of bed for $50 and guests who will then be set that that is the price and will never spend a dime more anywhere? Sometimes they can really be insulting. I want to say, 'By the way, when you get your paycheck this week? It'll be short $100 because the boss found someone else who will work for 1/3 of what you do.'
.
I think you make a really good point that innkeepers do not need to be grumps when guests inquire about discounts. How many times have we discussed here on this forum that many B&B/inn websites are not the most up-to-date? Or even that they don't have online booking or availability?
There are always people out there that think they can call at the last minute and try to get a super cheap rate, even at a B&B. They're not educated about how B&Bs usually operated. I would give them the phone number for a local "economy" hotel if they told me that they were just traveling through and wanted a clean bed for under $100/night. No biggie...
Those folks are not looking for the B&B "experience" and extra value........
.
Yes, it is so much easier to give them the number than to get upset with them. Generally, if I can (as in they don't hang up or just walk away from the door), I give them places with much better rates than they asked for. At least someone in town will make some money!
We're not home right now and the phone keeps ringing for one nighters for 'tonight'! I'm keeping one B&B in town busy with phone calls if not reservations! They all want to know what's going on in town that no one has any openings! I told the last caller that a lot of us are on vacation right now as there is a professional innkeeping convention going on. (Not where I am at the moment, but some of the B&B's in town that are closed are there.)
.
hahaha.... Yeah, again...it's that people don't understand that small B&B owners are usually the only "employees" and that we close and/or block availability for renovations or "vacations". Even with a message on the machine when we were closed, it always baffled me when people would leave a message looking for a room for sometime in the range of our closed dates. huh?
My dh just talked to someone on the phone last night who was totally confused about the whole concept that we would actually have closed our business last year. What??? I guess it's that whole thing of living on the Internet for awhile. But, c'mon folks, if we're closed, we're closed! We're not trying to kid you.
.
We have been closed for 3 1/2 years and still get people calling us. I try and ask how they got our number so I can go to some obscure site and ask them to remove it. Some can tell me, others say..they have a 5 year old directory they are using :-(
 

Samster

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I like the "called five plus hotels and finally saved $20". Real big pay out.
A big part of the problem is that some, generally younger, but not always, customers think they are supposed to haggle. It is the mind set on TV, Priceline and now Groupon: don't ever pay the list price or you are a chump. We don't haggle and in large measure we won't so we don't undercut our customers who pay our listed price without complaint.
It gets tiresome, though to have to spend time on the phone being polite when you know the person will not pay your price. They try to be endearing, or pushy, or ... anything other than be a customer.
Recently, after being told that our low winter mid-week rate is $150 for two, a caller said another B&B in town had offered her and her friend $50/night. Great, I say, knowing that there is no such B&B - maybe a room for rent, but not B&B - but she tells me they don't have room for the nights in question, can I match that rate? I advise her to keep looking, I'm sure she will find a place.
Just not mine. Why would I want to get up in the dark and fix a nice breakfast for someone who doesn't want to be here?.
I will ask if there are any discounts or packages available as not every website is up to date. I've gotten grumpy innkeepers telling me 'all the discounts are on the website, that's it, nothing else'. What I was trying to confirm in that case was if they would extend the discount one day (into the next month as it ended at the end of the month). No, they would not. OK, that's fair, but I kept looking.
I know I go through the same thing here, so I understand, but you don't have to grump at me.
Anyone who tells me they are getting some fantastic deal somewhere else can go and stay there. Like those hotel people in the article, I know who is charging what around here and if someone told them $50 on the phone they should jump on it.
Like you, why bother getting out of bed for $50 and guests who will then be set that that is the price and will never spend a dime more anywhere? Sometimes they can really be insulting. I want to say, 'By the way, when you get your paycheck this week? It'll be short $100 because the boss found someone else who will work for 1/3 of what you do.'
.
I think you make a really good point that innkeepers do not need to be grumps when guests inquire about discounts. How many times have we discussed here on this forum that many B&B/inn websites are not the most up-to-date? Or even that they don't have online booking or availability?
There are always people out there that think they can call at the last minute and try to get a super cheap rate, even at a B&B. They're not educated about how B&Bs usually operated. I would give them the phone number for a local "economy" hotel if they told me that they were just traveling through and wanted a clean bed for under $100/night. No biggie...
Those folks are not looking for the B&B "experience" and extra value........
.
Yes, it is so much easier to give them the number than to get upset with them. Generally, if I can (as in they don't hang up or just walk away from the door), I give them places with much better rates than they asked for. At least someone in town will make some money!
We're not home right now and the phone keeps ringing for one nighters for 'tonight'! I'm keeping one B&B in town busy with phone calls if not reservations! They all want to know what's going on in town that no one has any openings! I told the last caller that a lot of us are on vacation right now as there is a professional innkeeping convention going on. (Not where I am at the moment, but some of the B&B's in town that are closed are there.)
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hahaha.... Yeah, again...it's that people don't understand that small B&B owners are usually the only "employees" and that we close and/or block availability for renovations or "vacations". Even with a message on the machine when we were closed, it always baffled me when people would leave a message looking for a room for sometime in the range of our closed dates. huh?
My dh just talked to someone on the phone last night who was totally confused about the whole concept that we would actually have closed our business last year. What??? I guess it's that whole thing of living on the Internet for awhile. But, c'mon folks, if we're closed, we're closed! We're not trying to kid you.
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We have been closed for 3 1/2 years and still get people calling us. I try and ask how they got our number so I can go to some obscure site and ask them to remove it. Some can tell me, others say..they have a 5 year old directory they are using :-(
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It's not really that bad...it is what it is, as they say. The part that I find funny is that they almost seem offended that we had the nerve to close the biz! haha....
 
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