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Chapter 10 Accommodations.

OBJECTIVES

At the conclusion of this chapter, you will be able to

* realize the impact of the Internet on the lodging industry.

* identify types of lodging accommodations and relate to customer needs.

* select reference sources and understand rating systems.

* understand the language of the lodging.

KEY TERMS

adjoining rooms

affiliated property

airport hotel

all-inclusive resorts

all-suite hotels

amenities

bed & breakfast

cancellation policy

chain property

city-commercial hotel

concierge

confirmation number

connecting rooms

convention hotels

franchise properties

frequent guest programs

guarantee

guesthouses

hostels

hotel

Hotel and Travel Index

housing bureau

independent property

motel

pensions

representative company

resorts

self-catering

STAR Service

supply-and-demand

transient

walking the guest

THE LODGING INDUSTRY AT A GLANCE

The lodging industry has seen its share of changes over the past quarter century as it has grown from just over 2 million rooms in 1980 to well over 4 million rooms today. Although there are still many wonderfully individual independently owned properties, a great number of lodging properties are now owned by large companies such as Cendant Corporation, Intercontinental Hotel Group, or Marriott International. For example, Cendant's Hospitality Services group has over 6,400 properties with names such as Amerihost Inn, Days Inn, Ramada, Super 8, and Travelodge. Intercontinental Hotel Group operates such properties as Candlewood, Holiday Inn, and Crown Plaza.

Asin other segmentsof the travel industry, the Internet has brought many changes to the lodging industry. Most lodging facilities have their own online booking sites, and many also utilize large booking sites such as Expedia and Travelocity. Smaller properties, such as bed and breakfast lodging, had a difficult time making their presence known to potential guests prior to widespread usage of the World Wide Web. Now a simple online search will find almost anything a guest desires. The lodging industry has seen a steady increase in online bookings, which surpassed GDS bookings for the first time in 2004. Another change brought about by Internet usage has been the complete array of business services now offered by many properties, both large and small. These services include Internet connections in rooms, wireless Internet, and free on-site computers for guests to use.

For a travel agency, recommending and booking lodging is an important source of income since commissions from hotel sales range from 5 to 10 percent. (See Figure 10-1.) There are, however, those who predict that commissions paid to travel agencies by hotels will shrink over time to 5 percent, in the end becoming a flat fee of $5 to $10. Historically, there has been an uneasy alliance between travel agencies and the lodging industry over the commission issue, many on the travel agency side claiming that too many earned commissions go unpaid by too many hotels. Overall, the lodging industry still views travel agencies as an important component of their ability to fill rooms largely because many travelers still rely on travel counselors for lodging recommendations.

In this chapter, you will learn about the diverse types of accommodations available in the lodging industry, how to determine what type of accommodation will best suit the client, and the mechanics of completing the reservation transaction.

TYPES OF ACCOMMODATIONS

Lodging is a key component of travel that can enhance the quality of the experience or turn the trip into a complete disaster. There are as many types of accommodations, at all levels of price and amenity, as there are guests to stay in them. Determining the type of accommodation a customer prefers is the first step toward matching the lodging experience to the guest.

[FIGURE 10-1 OMITTED]

The least expensive type of accommodation, hostels, began in Europe and can now be found worldwide. Hostels are dormlike accommodations with shared bathroom facilities and, possibly, a shared kitchen. Originally established for younger travelers (youth hostels), these accommodations are available to everyone and, in some cases, cater to older travelers (elder hostels).

The bed & breakfast concept, also known as B&B, began in the United Kingdom and has since spread to the United States and many other countries. B&Bs are usually family homes with one or more guest rooms and, generally, with a shared bathroom. Clients looking for a taste of the local culture, charming surroundings, and personal attention appreciate the type of accommodation B&Bs offer. B&Bs are found in rural areas, small towns, and sometimes in major cities. As you might expect, B&Bs offer a unique environment, but they do not offer the variety of activities and guest services found in other types of accommodations.

A motel, also known as a motor inn or motor lodge, is typically a one- or two-story property that caters primarily to motorists. Cars are parked around the perimeter of the property and room access is from the outside. Motels with more than two stories may have elevators. However, motels with only one or two stories may not. Most motels do not have a restaurant on site but may offer a light breakfast in the lobby area.

Generally, motels have very limited guest services but an outdoor swimming pool is not uncommon. Motels are usually located in smaller towns and along major highways in and around large cities. Because of the location and limited guest services, motels tend to be less expensive than other types of accommodations.

Internationally, there are very few motels. Outside the United States, motel accommodations are usually called pensions (pronounced "pen-see-owns") or guesthouses. Pensions are generally small, family-run properties that offer a minimum of guest services. Most pensions offer meal plans where guests can have one, two, or three meals per day included in the room rate. It is important to note that pensions may have shared bathroom facilities, unlike motels in the United States that always offer private facilities.

Travelers who stay in a property for only one night are referred to as transient guests. Because of the short length of stay, these travelers may prefer motels, pensions, or guesthouses, which are commonly called transient lodgings. These types of accommodations do not lend themselves to longer stays because of the limited facilities, activities, and services.

Self-catering accommodations can be found worldwide and are popular with travelers staying in one location for a week or more. This type of accommodation can be anything from a one-room apartment to a suite of rooms in a castle to an entire house. Generally, self-catering accommodations are rented by the week and include everything that is necessary with the exception of food.

Most people define the word hotel as a property in which guest rooms are accessed via interior corridors. Hotels come in all shapes and sizes and guest services and activities vary widely from one hotel to another.

Sometimes a hotel is classified by its location and by the clientele to which it caters. An airport hotel, for example, is located near the airport and caters to travelers with early morning departures or late night arrivals. Airport hotels may also be chosen by meeting planners because of the hotel's convenient location, both for in-town attendees as well as for attendees arriving by air.

A city-commercial hotel is located in the downtown or business district of a city and caters primarily to business travelers. These hotels usually offer meeting rooms, business centers, and in-room computer connections. City-commercial hotels have one or more restaurants and may also offer a variety of activities. Hotels located in the downtown area of a city also attract leisure travelers interested in city activities such as museums, theatre, and shopping.

Convention hotels are located near convention or exposition sites or they have these facilities within the property. Generally, convention hotels offer the same guest services and activities as city-commercial hotels. Properties that have on-site convention facilities are often centrally located within a city, providing easy access to convention attendees. This central location also affords convention attendees the opportunity to enjoy a variety of the city's dining and entertainment options.

All-suite hotels can be found in all major cities in the United States as well as in many other countries. Instead of just a bedroom and bathroom, all-suite properties offer separate sleeping, bath, and living areas as well as a kitchenette. It is common for all-suite hotels to offer a variety of guest services and activities and, in many cases, a full breakfast is included in the room rate.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Resorts are designed to be destinations unto themselves and can be found in cities, near beaches, in the mountains, near golf centers, and in almost all popular tourist destinations. A variety of dining options, recreational activities, and guest services are available at resort hotels. Sometimes a resort hotel has a specific focus; for example, golf, gambling, skiing, water sports, or spa facilities.

An all-inclusive resort includes all food, drinks, and activities in the room rate. Some resorts in the United States, the Caribbean, and other popular destinations are all-inclusive. This type of accommodation is popular because all of the major expenses are known up front, making budget planning easier. In locations where dining is very expensive, an all-inclusive resort may be less expensive than paying for the features separately. This fact can be easily overlooked when simply comparing rates and not taking into consideration all that is included.

PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, OWNERSHIP, AND MANAGEMENT

Regardless of the type of accommodation property, each is classified based on the ownership and management of the property. In years past, these classifications were clear-cut, but today, some hotel groups fall into more than one classification.

An independent property is privately owned and operated. Other than abiding by state and federal regulations, the independent property owner decides everything from the level of service to the manner in which the accounting is done. You may think that only the smallest motels and inns are independent, but some of the world's largest and most prestigious hotels and resorts are operated independently.

An affiliated property is an independent accommodation property that has elected to make use of a representative company, or rep company. For a set annual fee, the rep company provides marketing and sales assistance; a central reservations center; and inclusion in GDSs, printed reference sources, and the Internet. When an independent property becomes affiliated with a rep company, it becomes much more accessible for travel counselor bookings and the commission is usually paid through the rep company. Examples of rep companies include Utell, Leading Hotels of the World, and Preferred Hotels. It is interesting to note that although Best Western is a rep group, it is a not-for-profit organization, unlike all of the other rep companies.

Franchise properties are independently owned and operated but are guided and served by the franchise group. By paying the franchise fee, the property owner can use the franchise name, advertising and sales force, reservation center, and central commission processing program. The franchise fee is much higher than that of a rep company but provides much more guidance and assistance. All properties in a franchise group are expected to maintain a certain level of service and quality to remain in the group. Two major franchise groups are Choice Hotels International (Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion, Rodeway, EconoLodge, and Main Stay Suites) and Hospitality Franchise Systems (Days Inn, Howard Johnsons, Park Inn International, Ramada, and Super 8).

In years past, a chain property was owned by the chain and managed locally. Today, this is still true at some properties but there are also chain properties that are privately owned and managed. When a property belongs to a chain, name recognition and consistency of quality are important features.

Because names like Holiday Inn, Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt are known by almost everyone, it is logical for a traveler to select a property based on a name he knows over one he does not know. It is also logical for a traveler to expect the same level of service and quality at a Hilton in Chicago as he would at a Hilton in Milwaukee. Typically, all properties are the same with regard to organization, management, booking procedures, and commission payment. Basic levels of guest services should be consistent at all properties within a chain.

ACCOMMODATION RATING SYSTEMS

Rating systems vary by reference source. Terms or symbols such as stars, diamonds, or crowns, are used to indicate the rating. For example, The Mobile Guide, available in bookstores, uses stars, and the AAA Guidebooks, available to AAA members, use diamonds to rate accommodations. Generally, the more symbols used, the more deluxe the property and the more expensive the room rate. It is generally accepted that accommodations are rated as one of ten categories from Superior Deluxe to Moderate Tourist Class, in descending order (see Accommodation Rating Terms, as used in the Hotel and Travel Index).

The country in which the property is located can change the meaning of the rating terms. All ratings are based on the perception of the citizens of the country. That indicates that the standard of living in a particular country could influence the perception. For example, a property in a developing nation might be listed as "first class," based on that country's citizen's perception. But, a citizen of the United States or Canada might consider that same property as "tourist class." Travel counselors should be mindful of this when researching hotels in foreign destinations, away from the so-called tourist areas.
Accommodation Rating Terms
used in Hotel and Travel Index

Superior Deluxe--elegant, luxurious, and expensive; highest
standards of service

Deluxe--outstanding property offering many of the same
features as Superior Deluxe

Moderate Deluxe--fine accommodations and public rooms but
slightly less grand than Deluxe

Superior First Class--above average property with some
outstanding features

First Class--dependable and comfortable property with good
standards of service

Limited First Class--a first-class property with regard to
accommodation quality, but limited public areas, food service,
and facilities

Moderate First Class--basically a first-class property but with
slightly fewer services and more standard rooms

Superior Tourist Class--budget property, well maintained,
possibly a few additional services

Tourist Class--budget property, basically just a place to sleep

Moderate Tourist Class--low-budget property, often old and
not well kept


ACCOMMODATION RATES

Many factors come into play when pricing hotel rooms. The supply-and-demand principle has much to do with pricing. In a city that has thousands of rooms but few travelers, the average room rate is lower. On the other hand, in a city that has few rooms but many travelers, the average room rate is higher.

The location of a hotel in a city has a bearing on the price of the rooms. For example, a hotel in the suburbs is usually less expensive than an airport or downtown location. The location of the room within the hotel also affects the price. Rooms near the pool and rooms with a view (e.g., ocean, pool, scenic) command a higher price than rooms in the back of the hotel.

The size of the room and the furnishings are factors in establishing room rates. Larger rooms and those with more elaborate decor and furnishings are more expensive than the basic four walls with a bed and bath. The number and type of beds in a room can affect the rate; for example, a room with a king-sized bed may be more expensive than a room with a double bed. As you might expect, rooms with a kitchenette, mini-bar, VCR, or a jacuzzi tub are priced higher than standard rooms.

Room rates are affected by the time of year and length of stay. In resort areas of the United States, as well as international destinations, rates are determined by season. High season is not the same time of year worldwide. For example, high season in the Caribbean is the winter months, while Bermuda's high season is the summer months. A stay of a week or longer may result in a lower per-night rate than the rate for a one-night stay.
HOTEL CASE STUDY

Your clients, Stephan and Katarina Smolensky, are having trouble
deciding where they want to stay in Scottsdale, near Phoenix.
They play tennis and golf and would appreciate having spa facilities
available. They are considering the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale
Resort, the Phoenician, and the Radisson Resort & Spa
Scottsdale. From information obtained on the Internet, prepare
a fact sheet for each property detailing the accommodations, facilities,
services, and rates. Based on the information you have
obtained, which property do you think best meets your clients'
needs?


In some destinations, the day of the week has a bearing on the room rate. Some properties offer one rate for weekend stays and another rate for weekdays. For example, a property in Las Vegas may charge a higher rate for weekend stays, while a property in Chicago may charge a higher rate for weekday stays.

If the guest is traveling on business, a corporate rate may be available. Guests who are part of a convention are generally offered a preferred convention rate, as are members of certain organizations, such as AAA or AARP. Guests who are part of a group (usually 10 or more rooms) staying at the same hotel may be given a group rate that is lower than the normal rate. Children staying in the same room with parents are usually free. Numerous hotels around the world offer from 10 to 50 percent discount to guests who are employed in the travel industry.

Travel agencies that are members of a consortium may have access to special negotiated hotel rates. Negotiated rates are lower than the regular rates and are fully commissionable to the travel agency.

All rates for accommodations are priced per room, not per person. A hotel may offer one rate for single occupancy, another rate for double occupancy, and an extra-person charge for third or fourth guests. All printed reference sources and the CRS indicate occupancy and many other terms with codes.

LODGING LANGUAGE

As you have learned, accommodations vary widely; some are very basic and others are ultra-deluxe. An important factor to consider when assisting the client with accommodation selection is the amenities offered by the property (Figure 10-2). Amenities can be extra features within the room, such as TV, movies, hair dryer, and mini-bar. A swimming pool, restaurant, bar, casino, spa, private beach, golf course, health club, airport shuttle, and shopping venues are examples of property amenities.
Room Rate and Other Charge Codes

1P, 2P--one person, two people

APT--apartment; separate sleeping, bath, living, and kitchen
or dining rooms

Comp--complimentary; a room provided free of charge

DWB--double with bath; room with private bath, priced for
occupancy by two people

EFF or Efficiency--a room that includes sleeping, living, and
kitchen or dining areas, usually with private bath

EP or EAP--extra person or each additional person; supplementary
charge for occupancy over the stated number

Net rate--a rate that does not include agency commission.

Rates for groups and conventions are often quoted as net. Before
the travel counselor quotes a rate to the client in these
circumstances, agency profit is added.

PP--per person; meal plans are always per person as are some
other charges

Rack rate--standard published rate for a room

ROH--run of house; an inexpensive rate without a specified grade
of room. The guest may be given any room grade from minimum
to deluxe, depending on what is available at the time of check-in.

SC--service charge; extra charge that may be listed as a percentage
or as a flat amount per person

STE--suite; separate sleeping, bath, living, and kitchen or
dining rooms

SWB--single with bath; room with private bath, priced for
occupancy by one person

TD--trade discount; discount offered for travel industry
employees

TPL--triple; room with private bath, priced for occupancy by
three people

TWB--twin with bath; room with private bath, priced for occupancy
by two people. On rare occasions, TWB can mean "triple
with bath."

VAT--value added tax; tax charged in some foreign countries,
similar to a sales tax

WKLY--weekly; rate for a seven-night stay


[FIGURE 10-2 OMITTED]

Many hotels and resorts offer the special services of a concierge. A concierge can be an area in the main lobby where a hotel employee, also called a concierge, assists guests. Or, the concierge can be available to guests staying on a particular floor or floors. The concierge is very knowledgeable about the city and surrounding areas. Typical concierge duties include reconfirming flights, arranging a rental car, making dinner reservations, obtaining theatre tickets, giving directions, and making sightseeing and shopping suggestions.

Most chains and franchise groups have frequent guest programs. These programs encourage brand loyalty and provide a variety of benefits to the member. Each time a member stays in a participating hotel, points are accumulated. The points can be redeemed for free hotel stays or merchandise. Many airline frequent flyer programs are tied in with certain hotel chains. By giving the hotel the client's airline frequent flyer membership number, "miles" are added to the client's account for each night of the client's hotel stay.

Properties where room access is via a common corridor as well as motel-type properties may have rooms with a communicating door between them. These rooms are called connecting rooms. Rooms that are simply side-by-side and do not have room-to-room access are called adjoining rooms. It is common for a group or large family to request these types of rooms. It is important to note that clients often confuse adjoining and connecting.

Regardless of how accommodations are reserved, a confirmation number is given. This number is very important and should be on the client's itinerary or given verbally to him. It is this number that confirms the room type, length of stay, room rate, and other features of the booking.

Some hotels will hold a reservation until 4:00 P.M. or 6:00 P.M. on the day of arrival. Other properties require a guarantee, usually in the amount of one night's rate. The travel counselor can guarantee a reservation by using the client's credit card, sending an agency check for the deposit, or sending full prepayment. It is common for hotel stays during special events, high season, or at resort properties to require a guarantee of three or more nights' rate. When a reservation has been guaranteed, the room will be held all night.

When a hotel reservation has been guaranteed, it is especially important to understand the property's cancellation policy. Many hotels require cancellation before 6:00 P.M. the day of arrival, while others may have a cancellation policy of two or more days before arrival. If the cancellation policy is not followed or the guest is a no-show, the hotel charges the guest's credit card or the deposit is forfeited.

It is common practice for hotels, especially during busy times, to overbook, just like the airlines. Sometimes, a hotel becomes overbooked because guests do not depart as planned. So, what happens when a traveler arrives at his hotel but there are no rooms available, even though he has a reservation? Most hotels arrange accommodations at another hotel of equal or greater quality and absorb any price differential. This policy is called walking the guest and it includes transportation to the new hotel.

When a convention is in town, the city's visitor's bureau may act as a housing bureau. Convention organizers, working through the housing bureau, block rooms at one or more hotels within the city. To take advantage of the lower priced convention rates, the convention attendee must make hotel reservations with the housing bureau.

The housing bureau acts as a clearinghouse for hotel space during the convention, distributing the reservations among the contracted hotels.

Some hotels, especially resorts and properties in the Caribbean, offer a variety of meal plans. The most important fact to remember about meal plans is that when meal plans are offered as an additional item, they are priced per person.

How does the travel counselor know whether meals are included in the room rates or if the meal plans are offered as an additional feature? Reference sources usually indicate included meal plans as follows: MAP SWB $$$.$$ DWB $$$.$$. In this example, the property includes a full breakfast and dinner (MAP) daily in the room rate. The single room rate (SWB) includes the room and meals for one person. The double room rate (DWB) includes the room and meals for two people.

Meal plans that are offered as an additional feature are shown as follows:

EP SWB $$$.$$ DWB $$$.$$

PP CP +$$.$$ BP +$$.$$ MAP +$$.$$ AP +$$.$$

In this example, the room rates do not include meals (EP). The meal plans are per person (PP) and the plans offered include Continental Plan (CP), Bermuda Plan (BP), Modified American Plan (MAP), and American Plan (AP).

The meals included in these plans can be one of two types, table d'hote or a la carte. Table d'hote is a set menu without choices, and substitutions are probably not allowed. An a la carte meal is one in which the guest may select anything from the menu.

USING REFERENCE TOOLS

There are two references used by travel counselors for worldwide lodging information. Both are owned and published by Northstar Travel Media, but each provides a different approach to the information it carries.

* Hotel and Travel Index and http://www.hoteland travelindex.com

* STAR Service available only online at http://www. starserviceonline.com

The Hotel and Travel Index (HTI) printed version is published quarterly and is usually free to qualified travel agencies. Over 45,000 properties have a basic two- or three-line listing in the printed version. Many properties purchase additional advertising in the printed volume. The advertisement, of course, contains much more detailed information, including photographs of the property. There are also "Travel Tools" such as airport diagrams, city maps, and locator maps.

Its online companion, http://www.hotelandtravelindex. com, is also available free of charge. After combining forces with the Official Hotel Guide, the Hotel and Travel Index Web site now has information on over 70,000 properties, and offers great flexibility to the user. Figure 10-3 shows an example of a basic listing plus two listings that have purchased different amounts of advertising space.

[FIGURE 10-3 OMITTED]

Through a partnership with http://www.hotels.com, HTI online offers booking in nearly 4,000 hotels worldwide. By booking this way, travel agencies receive guaranteed lowest rates and access to last-room availability at these properties. In addition, IATA agents will receive 5 percent commission on bookings made with http://www.hotels.com.

HTI also includes a helpful feature called Intelliguide, which provides a minireport on destinations around the world including history, tourist sites, geostats, transportation, currency, and a calendar of events. Intelliguide minireports are only a fraction of what's available by subscription (printed or online) through Weissman World. The complete resource provides comprehensive destination information on every country in the world and 10,000 cities. See Figure 10-4 for a portion of a typical listing from Intelliguide.

STAR Service is a completely different type of lodging resource. Available only online (http://www.starserviceonline. com), it covers more than 10,000 hotels in 100 countries and accepts no advertising. STAR Service travel correspondents personally visit each hotel and provide their candid opinion of the property. They tell you what it's actually like to be a guestright down to the decor in the lobby and how big the closets are. STAR Service also includes commission information for travel agents, rates, and contact information. This type of information can be extremely valuable, but keep in mind that the reports are subjective and contain considerable editorial comment. Figure 10-5 provides a look at STAR Service commentary.

[FIGURE 10-4 OMITTED]
   "Female-friendly" hotels are proving to be a great marketing
   technique for some deluxe hotels. An example is Miami's Sanctuary
   Hotel which offers single women an ongoing 25 percent discount and
   special amenities like beach jogging, yoga companions, a chic
   in-house salon and spa, and personal shoppers. Bathrooms are
   miniretreats equipped with steam showers and jacuzzi tubs.

Helpful Industry Web Sites

Accommodation Resources on the Web

Accommodation Search Engine: http://www.ase.net.
Search by price, type, facilities, and activities.

All Hotels: http://www.all-hotels.com/index.asp.
Directories of hotels and B&Bssearch by country,
city, or area within a city.

B&Bs: http://www.bedandbreakfast.com

B&Bs and Inns of Canada: http://www.cantravel.ab.ca

Hostelling Internet Guide:
http://www.hostels.com/hostel.menu.html

Hotel Chains/Franchises/Rep. Companies:
http://www.hotelstravel.com/chains.html

STAR Service: http://www.starserviceonline.com


[FIGURE 10-5 OMITTED]

SELECTING THE RIGHT ACCOMMODATION

As we stated before, lodging can make or break a trip. Hotels are well aware of the importance of offering amenities that are important to guests. According to one study, amenities that rate high with hotel guests are complimentary breakfast, in-room refrigerators and coffee makers, pillow top mattresses, and high-speed, wireless Internet access. Another study found that location is the single most important factor that travelers use to decide where to stay. Some hotels have determined that being "child-friendly" is important to their business. Matching your client to the many variations in accommodations is a challenge, but a very important part of the process. You will have to gather some information about your client and his preferences:

* the purpose of the trip (business, vacation, family emergency, etc.)

* price range (moderate, deluxe, budget)

* specific needs (handicapped accessible, nonsmoking)

* specific preferences (pool, exercise facilities, meeting rooms, restaurant, etc.)

* type of property (bed and breakfast, resort, downtown hotel)

Armed with answers to these questions, it's time to consult one of the references we have discussed. Offer the client a small selection (three or four) from which to choose.
   More people than ever before are traveling with their pets. In one
   survey, 67 percent of respondents reported traveling with their
   pet. Of these, 43 percent said they stayed in a hotel or motel
   while on the road. Some hotels have begun capitalizing on this
   trend by offering amenities for pets such as special pet beds with
   a doggie biscuit on the pillow and gourmet dinners to order. Many
   Web sites such as http://www.petswelcome.com and
   http://www.takeyourpet.com list hundreds of pet-friendly lodging
   sites.


Many new travel counselors believe that they are expected to select a specific hotel for the client. This is not true and, in fact, it is not a good idea in most cases. Selecting a property for the client places a heavy responsibility on the counselor's shoulders. It also opens the door for the client to return and say, "Why did you book me in that hotel? It was terrible!" It is far better to show the client three or four properties that meets the client's needs as well as to help the client to form a final decision. Of course, if the counselor has personal experience with a property or has clients who recently stayed there, the counselor can certainly pass this information on to the client.

MAKING RESERVATIONS

After selecting the preferred accommodation, it's up to the travel counselor to secure the reservation. This is done in any number of ways, depending on the circumstances. Travel counselors often prefer to make reservations in the GDS, although this isn't always possible because many properties are not included in any GDS.

A lodging reservation can be completed by contacting the hotel directly by phone, fax, or e-mail. There are times that it's just plain simpler to make a phone call to make a reservation, and there are times when having the request in writing (fax or e-mail) is important so that the details of the reservation are made clear to everyone.

Many hotels have booking capabilities on their Web sites (e.g., http://www.choicehotels.com). Some have "agent only" sections that guarantee lowest rates and commissions to encourage travel counselors to use Web sites, such as http://www.hotels.com. A grouping of several hundred hotels on one site may also be an efficient method of making reservations, such as http://www.hotels.com.

There may also be circumstances in which it's most efficient to make the reservation through a third party such as a housing bureau or convention and visitors bureau, or a consolidator, especially for unusual properties or remote destinations, or in situations in which local rooms have been blocked for a convention.

Whichever way you choose, there is some basic information that's necessary before you begin:

* property name, location, and contact information

* client name

* number of guests

* number and age of children

* senior citizens

* arrival date and time and check-out date

* grade of room (e.g., standard, deluxe, ocean view)

* number and type of beds

* special requests (e.g., crib, wheelchair accessible)

* discount numbers (membership in AARP or AAA, corporate, hotel frequent guest, airline frequent flyer)

It is also important, as part of the reservation process, to check with the property on their specific guarantee and cancellation policies. To avoid potential problems, make certain the client understands all the details on guarantees and cancellations.

HOTEL SAFETY

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA) (http://www.ahla.com) actively promotes hotel safety and asks its members to not only make sure guests stay safe, but also to educate guests on what they can do to assure their own safety. The following 10-point list is provided by AH&LA:

1. Don't answer the door in a hotel or motel room without verifying who it is. If a person claims to be an employee, call the front desk and ask if someone from their staff is supposed to have access to your room and for what purpose.

2. Keep your room key with you at all times and don't needlessly display it in public. Should you misplace it, please notify the front desk immediately.

3. Close the door securely whenever you are in your room and use all of the locking devices provided.

4. Check to see that any sliding glass doors or windows and any connecting room doors are locked.

5. Don't invite strangers to your room.

6. Do not draw attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.

7. Place all valuables in the hotel or motel's safe deposit box.

8. When returning to your hotel or motel late in the evening, be aware of your surroundings, stay in well-lighted areas, and use the main entrance.

9. Take a few moments and locate the nearest exit that may be used in the event of an emergency.

10. If you see any suspicious activity, notify the hotel operator or a staff member.

SUMMARY

The lodging industry has seen many changes and has more than doubled in size over the past 25 years. Most lodging facilities have their own Web sites, and many also utilize large booking sites such as Expedia. It is very important to determine the customer's needs and preferences for such things as the type of accommodation and its location, amenities, and price before recommending accommodations. There are references in which to find information about accommodations. These include the Hotel and Travel Index and STAR Service, as well as many Web sites. Lodging should be viewed as a key component of travel that can enhance the quality of the travel experience or turn the trip into a disaster.

For additional Travel and Tourism resources, go to http://www.hospitality-tourism.delmar.com.

EXERCISE 10-1 Types of Accommodations

In your own words, briefly describe the following accommodation types.

Airport hotel

All-inclusive resort

All-suite hotel

Bed & breakfast

City-commercial hotel

Convention hotel

Guesthouse

Hostel

Motel

Pension

Resort hotel

Self-catering

Transient

EXERCISE 10-2 Property Organization and Accommodation Rating Systems

1. Arrange these rating terms by ranking the most deluxe first (1-10). Briefly describe each rating.

Rank ( ) Deluxe

Rank ( ) First Class

Rank ( ) Limited First Class

Rank ( ) Moderate Deluxe

Rank ( ) Moderate First Class

Rank ( ) Moderate Tourist Class

Rank ( ) Superior Deluxe

Rank ( ) Superior First Class

Rank ( ) Superior Tourist Class

Rank ( ) Tourist Class

2. Identify the features of each accommodation classification.

Affiliated

Chain

Franchise

Independent

EXERCISE 10-3 Selecting Accommodations

Use the Web site http://www.hotelandtravelindex.com to answer the following questions.

1. Your client is traveling to Memphis, Tennessee and has requested an inexpensive hotel near the airport. Select two hotel choices for your client and answer the following questions for each:

Hotel (A) Hotel (B)

* Does this hotel pay commission to travel agents?

** Hotel (A)

** Hotel (B)

* If so, how much?

** Hotel (A)

** Hotel (B)

* Does this hotel have Internet access?

** Hotel (A)

** Hotel (B)

* What is the standard rate for a room?

** Hotel (A)

** Hotel (B)

* What discounts are available?

** Hotel (A)

** Hotel (B)

* What exercise facilities are available?

** Hotel (A)

** Hotel (B)

* What is the cancellation policy?

** Hotel (A)

** Hotel (B)

* How would a travel counselor make a reservation for this hotel?

** Hotel (A)

** Hotel (B)

2. A family is traveling by car from Cincinnati to Orlando (Disney World). They need accommodations near Atlanta for one night. What type of accommodation do you think would best suit their needs and why do you think so?--

3. Four friends want to go to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and play golf for a week. What type of accommodation would best suit their needs and why do you think so?--

4. A couple is traveling to New York City for three days. They are interested in the theatre, museums, and shopping. What type of accommodation do you think would best suit their needs and why do you think so?--

EXERCISE 10-4 Making Reservations

1. Why is qualifying a client before attempting to offer lodging products important?--

2. What information do you think would be helpful to assist the client's selection of appropriate accommodations?--

3. What do you think is the best method a travel counselor can use to make lodging reservations and why?--

4. Why is it better for a travel counselor to show the client several lodging choices instead of recommending just one?

5. When making reservations at properties such as Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott, why must the travel counselor know and identify the exact location being booked?

6. Why do you think giving the hotel confirmation number to the client, preferaably in writing, is important?--

7. Many hotels do not require a guarantee to hold a reservation. Do you think it is a good idea to make it a habit of guaranteeing all reservations? If yes, why?

CHAPTER 10

Review Questions

1. Identify the factors that can affect the cost of a hotel room.

2. What client information do you think would be helpful in assisting the client to select appropriate accommodations?

3. What safety advice would you give to a hotel guest?

4. Identify the term or code that fits each description.

a. hotel room priced for occupancy by two people

b. hotel rate that does not have commission built in

c. meal plan that includes breakfast and dinner

d. regular published rate for a hotel room

e. size group of rental car also known as midsize

f. tax in some countries, similar to a sales tax

g. identification given to a hotel booking

h. accommodating a guest at another hotel when the reserved hotel is sold out

i. meal plan that includes a light breakfast

j. dorm-like accommodation with shared bathroom facilities

k. motel-like accommodation outside the United States

l. accommodation rate priced for occupancy by one person

m. swimming pool, restaurant, in-room hair dryer, etc.

n. hotel rooms that are side-by-side and have a door between them

o. special hotel rate for clients traveling on business

p. hotel employee who provides extra guest services

q. meal plan that includes three meals daily

5. Under what circumstances might a self-catering accommodation be the best choice?

6. List the two primary references for the hotel industry. Discuss the kinds of information each provides.

7. Visit the following Web sites: http://www.hotels.com and http://www.expedia.com. Would you find either of these Web sites useful as a travel counselor? Why or why not?--

8. It is generally accepted that accommodations are rated as one of ten categories. List each category and provide a brief description of each.

9. Why do you think it is important to rate accommodations?
Property Organization Summary

                       Hostels and
                       Small         Large
                       Independent   Independent  Affiliated
Available in printed
  reference sources    probably not  yes          yes
Available in GDSs      probably not  probably     yes
Available on the
  Internet             probably      probably     probably
Toll-free reservation
  number               probably not  yes          yes
Agency commission      probably not  probably     probably

                       Franchise     Chain
Available in printed
  reference sources    yes           yes
Available in GDSs      yes           yes
Available on the
  Internet             probably      probably
Toll-free reservation
  number               yes           yes
Agency commission      yes           yes

Meal Plans

EP    European Plan     No meals.

CP    Continental       Light breakfast. In the United States, a
        Plan            light breakfast is usually a selection of
                        breads or muffins, juice, and coffee.
                        Internationally, a light breakfast can
                        include a selection of meats, cheeses,
                        cereals, fruits, breads, and boiled eggs.

BP    Bermuda Plan      Full breakfast.

MAP   Modified
        American Plan   Full breakfast and dinner. In Europe,
                        this plan is sometimes called half-
                        board or demi-pension.

AP    American Plan     Three full meals daily. In Europe, this
                        plan is sometimes called full-board or
                        full-pension.
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Title Annotation:Section IV Selling Other Travel Products and Services
Author:Gorham, Ginger; Rice, Susan
Publication:Travel Perspectives, A Guide to Becoming a Travel Professional
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Words:6820
Previous Article:Chapter 9 Ticketing and reporting.
Next Article:Chapter 11 Rental cars.
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