Name Dropping To Obtain Special Hotel Rates

I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to get the best rate from hotels. I was recently on the phone getting a quote and was asked if I was with a corporation, which I technically could say yes to even though the trip is largely unrelated. Anyways I was wondering what other names and acronyms (ie AAA) one can try dropping to get the best rate at any given hotel.

Let me see if I understand.

You want information on what untrue things you can say to a hotel in order to receive services for a reduced rate.

What’s the word I’m looking for…?

Oh right! Fraud!

I certainly would not advocate lying. However, hotels have been known to charge less than the “rack rate” in a lot of different cases. AAA you know about. AARP (for senior citizens) is another. Some give a discount to government employees for some reason. Sometimes if you just ask if the rate they’re quoting is the best you can get, or if there are any “specials,” you can get a better deal. There might be a mid-week or a weekend reduced rate, for example. A place that depends mostly on business travelers may be nearly empty on weekends and be glad to at least get something for a room that will otherwise be unused. Be sure to be really, really, pleasant and friendly.

You should also assume that hotels have heard it all before.

If you say AAA, they’ll ask you for your AAA card #. If you say AARP, they’ll ask you for your AARP card #. If you say you’re with a corporation, they’ll ask for the corporate code that’s in their computers to associate with a rate.

Lying will likely just leave you with egg on your face. Asking works much better.

And just asking is not fraud. If you claim to be a something you’re not, and you’re asked for an I.D. to that effect on check-in, and you don’t have it, then if I were the hotel management I’d charge you the regular rack rate. I’ve used AAA when traveling, and sometimes they ask to see my card and sometimes they don’t. But I always have it.

Best hotel rate was discussed today of "Fox News. Don’t call the 800 number reservation mills. Get the LOCAL number in the city you will stay in and call the HOTEL direct! The speaker claimed that as best & cheapest! You might check <> for infor if any. I think he was touting his book.
Business connections are good, regardless as however tenuous.

In September, I loaded up the wife and kids in the car and headed north from New Orleans to escape the threat of Hurricane Ivan. We left late at night, knowing there would be a lot of evacuees on the highway the next morning. Around 6 am, we got to a small town in Northern Mississippi and I couldn’t drive anymore, so we stopped at a major motel chain for a few hours sleep.

I told the lady behind the counter what we were doing and that I just needed a room until checkout so we could get a few hours sleep. She asked if I had AAA and a few other discounts available, which I had none of. Then she mentioned some obscure organization and I said “Who??”, to which she replied, “OK, you’re a member of _________” <wink> <wink>. She gave me a discounted rate of about $40 as opposed to the regular rate that was in the $70s.

I wasn’t going to argue with her as we were exhausted and the $40 seemed well worth the 5 hours we had to sleep in the motel room.

Asking for a rate that’s reserved for members of a particular group by misrepresenting yourself as a member of the group is fraud. My take on the OP is that he could get a corporate rate that he may or may not be entitled to (“the trip is largely unrelated”) but rather than potentially screw with his employmemt by stretching the point he’s looking for other ways to obtain discount rates that he isn’t entitled to (by “dropping acronyms”). If that’s not what’s going on here then I am certainly willing to offer an apology to the OP but if I’m correct and this is an attempt to defraud a hotel by claiming a rate he shouldn’t get by misrepresentation then we ought not abet it. It may or may not be illegal but it’s certainly unethical.

Oh yeah…in addition…we finally got to Memphis and decided to stay there so we could tour Graceland and see the Peabody ducks. I had a WalMart atlas that listed the 800 numbers of all of the major motel chains. The first motel we saw was listed in the atlas as not accepting pets (we had our dog with us). We called the toll free number anyway and asked if they could make an exception. They initially said no but transferred us directly to the front desk of the local motel and spoke to a member of the family that owns that particular motel. They let us in with the dog with no extra charge. It worked out well and by that night, the parking lot was filled up with Louisiana and Mississippi license plates and there were lots of dogs being walked around.

It’s always a good idea to speak directly to the local motel. In this situation, that motel would’ve probably been mostly empty if it weren’t for the evacuation and they were happy to accomodate anyone who asked.

Motels have amazing leeway regarding what they charge people. I regularly have a range of prices I can offer- the lowest one can be as much as forty dollars less than the highest. Heck, there is really no highest limit at all. The desk clerk as an increadable amount of leeway regarding what to charge you.

The first thing you want to do is look reputable. Wear decent clothes. Drive a decent car. Motel owners have a lot invested in these rooms, and they are loathe to rent them out to people who might trash them or draw the police to the hotel (which pretty much assures that nobody that night will be a repeat customer). They also don’t want to have to wake up in the middle of the night to kick people out, and lose revenue by renting to people that just demand refunds for getting kicked out.

Make sure you don’t look local. Locals that are in hotel rooms are there because they are doing something they don’t want to do at home. Generally, hotel owners don’t want them doing whatever that is in their hotel (there are exceptions for people getting their houses fumigated and stuff). Try to look mature- grow a nice beard or moustache. You don’t want to look like a twenty year old kid looking to get drunk in the room. Wear a suit. Pay with a credit card- not cash. Anything to make yourself look respectable. If you look like a shady character, hotels will charge outrageous rates just to get you to go away.

Do NOT try to sneak extra people in to the room. Clerks notice the giggling people hiding in the front seat, and will assume you are unsavory.

If you can pull it off, adopt a European accent. Hotel owners know that Europeans are good guests, but are unwilling to pay high prices. They will bring the rate down if they hear a European accent.

Then, only after you get the first offer, ask if there are any discounts. They can usually take 10% off your bill and call it the Triple A discount or the senior discount or the Wednesday discount or whatever the clerk feels like calling it this time. Be polite with this, and don’t say stuff like “Can’t you make it any cheaper?” or seem like you are really desperate. Clerks don’t want the people that are merely looking for the cheapest room in town (they’re trouble). Don’t be sarcastic or annoying. Just be polite and sypathetic. Be the kind of person the clerk wants to cut a break to.

Then you might want to try to feign leaving or going to your car to check with your spouse (always a good one), to see if they will yell out some last minute discount. But that doesn’t always work.

If you are on the phone, just be really polite. Make sure to call the hotel directly, and try to call in the evening or morning when the managers are most likely to be in. If the managers arn’t there, you might check to see when they are back- they have the most leeway to give low prices. Make yourself sound really nice. It helps to stick with one hotel if you visit an area often. Managers love repeat customers.

Whatever you do, DO NOT BOOK TICKETS ON THE INTERNET. The companies that do Internet bookings charge the hotel a commision that gets passed right down to you. You will always pay more this way.

I worked for a hotel at one time and can tell you this. Hotels lose money if the room stays empty. As even sven noted, though, there are certain types a clerk will try to dissuade. But overall fibbing about a corporate, or any other, discount isn’t that big a deal. Here’s why.

That room costs just as much to maintain, heat, insure and monitor (security) as all the other rooms. The only added cost with a guest is houskeeping (minimal as the maids are making wage and an extra room doesn’t add appreciably to costs), electricity from a tv and a few lights, and water.

Say room 101 has a paying guest at $70 for the night. Around midnight or so (best times I’ve found for deals) someone comes in obviously passing through and in need of a room to get some sleep. Not to party with some high school buddies. So he gets a deal on the room for $40. There’s $40 in almost pure sales profit as by that time, he’ll probably take a shower, watch an hour or two of tv and be gone in the morning with little more for the maid to do than make the bed and clean the bathroom.

If he lies about a discount plan? Meh. I haven’t known too many hotels that would get bent out of shape. Hell, the clerk may give it to you just to fill the room and have a story to tell later.

The hotel will charge you as much as they can. I see no problem with doing whatever you can to get a lower price. God knows, they’ll try to charge* higher* any chance they get.

There have been lots of helpful answers here, thanks…as for those kindly individuals concerned for the legality of my query I will gladly elucidate my previous statement. When I spoke with the hotel in question, they asked me if I worked for a corporation, they did not however ask if the trip was business related (I’m taking a course required by the government for the field I’m in, and that is why the course is only somewhat related to the company I work for). I am also a member of the AAA and probably lots of other organizations that may qualify me for discounts which I may not be aware of.

thank you for your concern. :dubious:

It’s either related or it isn’t. Go for any discount you can get. Even on your next vacation. Good luck and let us know what happens.

If you work for XYZ corporation, and the hotel asks “Do you work for XYZ corporation?”, the completely truthful, non-fraudulent answer is, “Why, yes, yes I do”. If they give you a discount based on this information, that’s their call to make. I know when my husband was driving an 18-wheeler, when we traveled together, we frequented hotels with trucker discounts. The discount is intended for truckers who are working, but it’s not specified anywhere that that’s the only time it’s legitimate to use that discount.

We’ve also had front-desk people assign organizations to us to which we didn’t really belong, like so:
Front desk: Are you a member of Triple A?
Us: No.
Fd: Do you have any auto club?
Us: we have roadside assistance through our Progressive Insurance.
Fd: Oh, we don’t have a code for that, but it’s close enough; I’ll put you in as Triple A.

Since at no time did we lie or deal with the clerk dishonestly, and they were probably just anxious to book an otherwise empty room, we never argued.

I’m not sure we want to discuss this here. I’m closing this thread.

General Questions Moderator