In my last blog post, I presented a few questions you’d probably want answers for before you took your room key and retired to your room. Today, I bring more:
1. May I have a room on a higher / lower floor?
I like rooms on higher floors. They afford better views of the city, sunrise, sunset, etc, and they’re farther away from street level (traffic noise). Those rooms come at a price, however, it can often take an extra ten minutes to take an elevator down to the street from a very high floor. It seems like a small thing, but going up and down from room to restaurant, work, business office, workout room, lounge, etc, can be taxing if the elevators aren’t up to par.
2. Aside from the room charge, are there any additional costs?
Internet, local calls, and parking are just some of the additional costs hotels charge. Some hotels even charge a “per page” rate to print documents in their business centers. Ironically, I’ve found that the less expensive a hotel is, the less they charge for amenities. Courtyards by Marriott for example, charge nothing for Internet and local phone calls, while their more expensive Marriott partners charge a lot.
3. Do you offer free breakfast?
Free breakfast is the coolest thing to hit hotels since Mary and Joseph slept in a stable. The only trouble is that some hotels count cold donuts and decaffeinated coffee as “breakfast.” Before you write breakfast out of your travel budget, make sure the hotel offers at least some milk and cereal or oatmeal or something hot (waffles, eggs, bacon, etc).
4. Do you offer any special rates / packages?
Ask this question a lot. You might get an off-peak rate, a corporate rate, an elite membership rate, etc… The list goes on. Some hotels will even compound the rates (to an extent). If they don’t, ask which rate is better. My company has a corporate agreement with Marriott, but sometimes I get a better rate as a Platinum Marriott member than I do as a corporate employee. There are also rates that encompass various amenities like “business traveler rates” that include Internet use and access to the lounge, “vacation rates” that offer free breakfast and extra rollaway beds, etc. Some packages may include tickets to shows or local attractions.
5. Are any large groups staying at the hotel at the same time?
I’ve started asking this ever since I was the only non-wrestler at a raucous Wrestlemania event in Orlando. I couldn’t get near the bar or restaurant and generally had to leave the hotel for any peace or quiet. Teenage girls volleyball groups will monopolize the pool and be extremely loud as well. What you’re hoping for is the ladies auxiliary for the Southern Baptist potluck planning committee! THAT is a quiet group!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.