MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The consumer resource magazine Bottom Line Personal shared these six secrets about hotel pricing, policies and room security:
* YOU GET THE BEST RATE BY CALLING THE HOTEL'S LOCAL NUMBER, NOT THE 800 NUMBER. I have personal experience with this one. It's true. The toll-free number links to an off-site call center that typically has no real clue about the economics of the local room availability. Call the local number and do not ask for the reservations desk. Instead, ask to speak to either the manager on duty, the general manager or the sales director. Those people have the power to negotiate a rate.
* ROOMS ARE MORE EXPENSIVE IN THE MORNING. According to Bottom Line Personal: "The best time of day to make a reservation by phone is right after 6 p.m. This is when hotels wipe out all the no-show reservations that were unsecured by a credit card. They then offer those rooms at bargain rates." The magazine's editors added that in cities like New York and San Francisco, the deadline is 4 p.m., not 6 p.m.
* EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE. From room rates to services to parking, you should always try to haggle for a lower price. The worst that can happen is they say, "No."
* ROOMS ARE SOMETIMES AVAILABLE EVEN WHEN THE HOTEL HAS NO VACANCIES. Bottom Line Personal: "In any large hotel, a few rooms usually are listed as 'out of order' at any given time. The problems might be something as simple as a stain on the carpet or a chair that has been sent out for repairs. If you're desperate for a last-minute room in a hotel that claims to have none available, tell the manager you are willing to take an out-of-order room with a minor problem."
* A HOTEL THIEF TYPICALLY TAKES ONE CREDIT CARD, NOT YOUR WALLET. Bottom Line Personal said thieves who access your room will most often take one credit card, then leave your wallet and the rest of its contents in your room. The point is to make it appear like nothing happened. You see the wallet and don't think another thing about it until you need to use that card or you get an alert that your card has been maxed out. Travel only with credit cards you need and secure your wallet at all times.
* A HOTEL'S LOST-AND-FOUND IS A GOLD MINE FOR CELL PHONE USERS. Bottom Line Personal said recharging cords are the most left-behind item in hotel rooms. Managers will often loan out or even give away unclaimed recharging cords from their lost-and-found supplies.