Hotels

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by airnav, Aug 10, 2018.

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Where do you normally book hotels when flying GA? (check up tp 3)

  1. AirNav

    1 vote(s)
    1.6%
  2. Aviation site/app, other than AirNav

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Non-aviation site/app (Hotels.com, Priceline, etc.)

    22 vote(s)
    34.4%
  4. Hotel web site/app (Marriott.com, Hilton.com, etc.)

    38 vote(s)
    59.4%
  5. Call the hotel

    15 vote(s)
    23.4%
  6. Have the FBO book it for me

    12 vote(s)
    18.8%
  7. My scheduler/dispatcher/secretary/boss does it

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. I don't book hotels, I just show up and find something on the spot

    14 vote(s)
    21.9%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. airnav

    airnav Pre-Flight

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    Guys, can I ask you about hotels?

    AirNav used to have hotel reservations on the site. At some point, the partner we were using got bought out by Expedia, and started pushing only Expedia rates, which tended to be the "buy-now non-refundable" type that does not fit our lifestyles, and also did not allow pilots to earn hotel points.

    So we dumped the partner and rebuilt hotel reservations from scratch. We now offer all the rates offered by the hotel to the public, from the most restrictive to the most flexible. Also, at hotels that give points, our rates allow you to earn points and to have your elite status recognized by the hotel. We also added some aviation-friendly features, such as FBO recommendations of hotels (FBOs tend to know better what the local hotels pilots like), driving distances from each FBO (road distance from the FBO, not crow-flies distance from the center of the runway), the ability to share your reservation with the FBO (giving FBO visibility into where you are staying, so that they can coordinate transport to hotel or know where to find you it there is a problem), and the ability to book at FBO negotiated rates.

    So, my question to you is... do these features sound appealing? Have you tried booking a hotel on AirNav in 2018? If so, what did you like / not like about the experience? If not, why not, and how are you booking your hotels today?

    We hope these features are helpful to pilots, but want to hear your ideas on how to make this the best hotel booking experience for general aviation. Thanks in advance or any input you may share.
     
  2. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    never booked a hotel thru airnav.
     
  3. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I’ve always just looked for hotels myself in the rare instances I needed one on a flight trip that wasn’t already dictated by the business needs at the far end or the vacation destination.

    The airport distance was never considered at all nor do I do accommodation planning while I’m doing flight planning.

    In other words, 80% of the time I already knew what hotel I needed to stay in near the customer site or vacation attraction. The airport was usually chosen first by amenities and needs of the aircraft plus on site rental cars if needed, or an easy way to get to one, and only secondarily (as long as it was in the same city) by distance to the hotel.

    Some cities have a lot of reliever airports so there’s more choice but a lot of places have one or two and airports being airports they’re either a way out of town, or they once were and now they’re in the middle of things and completely landlocked.

    Once in a while a business trip would require an extended stay style hotel also, so typically those were rarely at or around reliever airports.
     
  4. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I will let y'all in on a hotel booking secret, if y'all promise not to tell anyone. Here it is: Don't book on-line.

    In the olden days (like, 10 years ago) you could save money by booking on line. The on-line booking companies were all eager, hungry, and helpful. We all loved them.

    Then, consolidation. Expedia bought Hotels bought Travelocity. Competition diminished, and people became used to -- no, dependent on -- the 3rd party on-line booking agents.

    Greed set in. Soon, the 3rd party booking agents were charging hotels 15% commission, and more, PER reservation.

    Reaction? You can now save beaucoup bucks by finding your best rate on-line, and then calling the hotel front desk. Ask for the manager. Offer him 10% less than the cheapest rate you found on-line. If he doesn't take it, he's a MORON, because he's going to net 5% MORE profit by giving you 10% off that rate. Keep calling around, cuz you don't want to stay at a hotel run by a moron. ;)
     
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  5. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Usually call a hotel myself and try for a discount rate. Sometimes I'll call the FBO to see what they can do.
     
  6. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Whoa! I never knew we had a user named @airnav!
     
  7. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nothing sacred anymore...:(
     
  8. chartbundle

    chartbundle Line Up and Wait

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    I almost always book through the hotels website, I tend towards IHG properties when I can since I have most of my points with them and don't stay in non chain properties unless it's literally the only choice, too many times I've gotten to the local boutique hotel and realized they thought that things like wood blinds being pretty was a good idea instead of something to keep out the out the parking lot lights, the chains may be bad but they're usually at least at some minimum standard. But really I rarely book near the airport anyway since I'm usually travelling for work or to see people who don't live near an airport.
     
  9. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    If it’s a stop along the way I’ve let the FBO do it for me. Saves me time and transportation is usually all worked out. If it’s the destination then I’ve booked something ahead of time
     
  10. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Huh?
     
  11. chartbundle

    chartbundle Line Up and Wait

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    As a total aside, what I've occasionally wanted is an in-flight concierge service that I could text with my inReach and say "Hey, I had to divert, please find me a car/hotel/whatever at KXYZ" And also someone who could cancel my Southwest flight once I take off if I've booked one as a backup.
     
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  12. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Reference what you wrote in post #6
     
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  13. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    I travel extensively for work and am a complete points whore. There has to be a VERY compelling reason for my not to book direct with a Marriott property (they have a ton of brands in their network).

    Second to that is direct with another brand like Hilton or ICG.

    While I may use them to search, I NEVER NEVER NEVER book through a third party. Third party reservations are the bottom of the barrel when it comes to dealing with issues like getting walked, receiving points, and are almost always the most restrictive on cancellation and change policies.
     
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  14. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Although I've never used AirNav to book a hotel I have found it helpful for picking a hotel. And sometimes the presence of hotels nearby helped me pick a destination.
     
  15. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    This. We had to train all the new logistics people not to do it. For us, the best thing was booking through an FBO or directly with the hotel.
     
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  16. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Always book through the hotel directly or the wife finds an Airbnb.
     
  17. slacktide

    slacktide Line Up and Wait

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    This right here, except I'm a Hilton guy. I have a nearly unending supply of HHonors points left over from a 9-month stay in the Vienna, Austria Hilton almost a decade ago.
     
  18. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    I absolutely HATE the pre-pay hotel stuff. Even IGH is starting to do it now. So, if I use Travelocity, I do so simply to see what's in the area and then go to that brand's website to book. Same with cars and flights.

    If I have an unplanned RON, I'll sometimes get the FBO to book me in their preferred nearby hotel.

    If I'm driving, quite often I'll just show up at the front desk and ask for a room, although I have been known to make a reservation online while in the parking lot. (I did that once when a hotel stated they didn't have a particular rate. I walked out, got on the internet, booked a reservation at the rate they said they didn't have, then walked back in again just to tick the front desk guy off! Did similar with a rental car a couple times too.)
     
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  19. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Unfortunately there are lots of moron managers, or at least most hotel managers are just that, managers not owners.

    I’ve been booking a fair number of rooms lately and frankly Hotwire has become my tool of choice. They do the “we won’t tell you the hotel name until you pay” deal and in exchange I’ve been getting lower rates than I can get via any other means. Now of course the hotel considers you an alien being with minimum amenities and such. But just as often I bag a superior room in a hotel I may not sampled before and that has been a positive.

    On two recent occasions at two different hotels I’ve tried to lead the ‘manger’ through how not to be a moron. I look at Hotwire and see an anonymous hotel that I recognize nonetheless. I go to that hotel, ask for the manager and in the most friendly and ‘please help me’ tone I try to walk him and her to a deal where they match the Hotwire price but book me directly. Why? Because I’ve stayed here before and I like it.

    I bring up the deal on my iPad and show them the price. I’ve even figured out that I can confirm the hotel without completing the sale just so they know I’m not gaming them. Bottom line is that they have zero stake in profit margins and a giant stake in following their internal rules and pricing with no discretion delegated. So they can’t and don’t match the price.

    One hotel I did book directly because I was able to lead the manager thru how they could apply some discount rates and amenities to my stay and get close to my Hotwire price e.g. I’m visiting the hospital across the street (15%), you can halve valet parking (-$10], and we’ll offer you a sit down breakfast ($15). Problem was it took me 20 minutes to check in and it still cost me $10 more than Hotwire.

    AirNav? Never noticed the hotel thing. Best thing on AirNav for my purposes is identifying Hertz supported FBOs.

    My ace on the hole is the FBO. Every FBO has some hotel connections. They may not be where or what you want but often the best value (cheapest) and most important, when every single room in town is booked, they can save one’s bacon!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
  20. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I still have so many hotel points that I try to use when possible. That drives me to the hotel chain site.
     
  21. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I still feel like I get pretty good deals on Priceline. Who knows, maybe I don’t. But I’ve booked regularly on PL and when checking in I hear the going rate other people are paying and I’m like dayum, do some research, fool!
     
  22. airnav

    airnav Pre-Flight

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    This makes perfect sense. You book the best hotel for your destination, not necessarily one near the airport. Unless the airport itself is the destination or just a stop along the way.

    Hi Jay, our resident hotelier. This only works at small hotels, right? Surely a front desk person at a 300-room Marriott does not have the authority to approve a price offered by a customer, and the manager would be too busy to entertain every caller with an offer.

    We heard this loud and clear with our previous system. Pilots were not liking not getting their points. With the new system, when you book on AIrNav you get your points and get your status honored at just about every chain. We are partnering with the hotels, not the 3rd party mega agencies. I suppose our challenge is to have people believe that. Notice also that on AirNav you can pick hotels by points program. Pick Marriott Rewards from the menu and you get all those Marriott brands in one search.

    This is interesting. So if you found the hotel on AirNav, why not book there and instead go somewhere else? Do you find AirNav good for search but not for booking?
     
  23. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Usually the FBO can get you their rate and try to help with transportation.
     
  24. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    I can't answer for asicer, but until this thread came out I didn't really know you could book through AirNav. Back when the nearest hotels were listed under the fuel price section I would use the mileage info to pick a place to RON if necessary.

    On a mostly unrelated topic, I recall that there was a link for Enterprise that once clicked seemed to jack their rental prices up significantly until you cleared your cookies or used a different browser. I'm glad that's no longer a "feature."
     
  25. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    If not the FBO if the airport is large enough to have ANY training companies on the airport all of the nearby hotels will have a discount for that business. Just start rattling off training companies to the front desk on the phone and one will hit. Jackpot. None of them call the business and check if you actually train or work there.
     
  26. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    It was if you looked up the price to rent at an FBO instead of 300 yards across the airport at their normal pickup location.

    If you called the FBO directly and asked if they could give you a ride to the Enterprise place to rent a car they’d say “Oh we have their cars here.”

    “Okay my rate over there is X. Is that what it is there through you?”

    You’d either hear “yep!” or you’d hear them hem and haw and say no — but hang on we’ll figure it out — then they’d figure out some way to book it at the rate you got quoted across the airport without even calling Enterprise through whatever access they had to Enterprise’s website they have that you don’t.
     
  27. iflyatiger

    iflyatiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hi Airnav..

    May I suggest that if you are going to try to sell us your service of booking hotels through your website you might want to go back to your roots and provide us with the full listings of all fbo's at the airport and also provide unbiased and uncensored reviews of those fbo's..! I mean that was a main reason for the use of airnav.

    Thank you..
     
  28. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Loyalty rewards from other vendors. In the distant past, selecting a quality hotel and booking on airnav seemed a bit cumbersome although I never really tried it so I can't say if my perception was true. I also haven't really looked at the hotel listings after you resumed doing them. Most recently, my hotel choices have been driven by other factors but that may change again in the near future.
     
  29. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Personally...only way I would book though a third party site like an AirNav is if though the AirNav site it took me direct to the Hotel site with say an AirNav promo code populated...kinda like a AAA discount.

    Part of booking direct for me is also the ability to manipulate and manage my own reservation logged in as a reward member for that chain.
     
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  30. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We see people do that all the time!

    When they walk in and tell us they have a reservation (that we haven't yet received -- it comes via email) they are always stunned to find out that they just paid at least 15% more than they would have had they just walked in. lol

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  31. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hotwire IS actually a real discount on-line booking service, and you can save money using them. Same with PriceLine.

    The only flaw in that system is that only unsuccessful hotels use it (they dump rooms they know they can't sell there) and we usually don't want to stay at that sort of place.

    The other flaw with on-line booking (that I forgot to mention earlier) is that most hotels shut off the 3rd party booking companies on high demand weekends. Therefore, you may not see any availability on line, even though there are plenty of available rooms.

    We don't use them on any weekends during our high season (April - October), since there is no reason to pay them 15% when we will sell out anyway.

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  32. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've done this.

    I started doing it after getting really hassled by a couple of hotels as walk-ins. Some of which, apparently, were driven by fears of overbearing city hotel laws. It quickly became apparent that booking (via the hotel chain website) made the process easy (and generally got me some perks they were unwilling to give to a walk-in). One hotel manager even told me to do it by reservation.

    Sounds like it works great for you, Jay, as a smaller, independent hotel. But a lot places, particularly chain-affiliated, are a different beast.
     
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  33. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Interesting perspective. I've stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC and one of the Copely Plaza hotels in Boston on a Priceline. Client set those up. I don't do it any more, but I don't consider them as "unsuccessful" hotels.
     
  34. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    What's the deal with room blocks? For one event that I was attending the event website said "We have a room block for $150/night" and then a couple days later they update the site to say "Sorry but the block has sold out." So I look on hotels.com and booked the same type of room in the same hotel for $100/night. :dunno:
     
  35. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Youre gonna need to 'splain that a bit more. You're telling us that a hotel front desk clerk wanted you to book on-line when you walked in off the street, credit card in-hand??

    That's, um, crazy.

    Did you actually stay at that hotel? I wouldn't have let the door hit me on the butt on the way out! lol

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  36. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you have to dump your rooms on Priceline, you call that "success"?

    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk
     
  37. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sounds like the organizer of the event did a craptastic job of negotiating a group room rate. I imagine the guys who paid $150/night were less than thrilled that you found a room for $100! ;)

    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk
     
  38. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't book through the aggregators (Hotels, priceline, etc...) for anything. I've been screwed too many freaking times. I book with the chains own site (if they have one), which usually works though sometimes you gotta call the inn and plead your case.
     
  39. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Those people might be in my social circle for a while so I kept my mouth shut when discussing room rates during the post-event luncheon. :)
     
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  40. tspear

    tspear Cleared for Takeoff

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    Actually I have had something like that happen once.
    The clerk said they already put some rooms on Priceline, so i could save a lot by booking it online. He did say it will take about twenty minutes to hit their system. It was a NYC Hilton, got it for 50 bucks. Well worth it, went for a nice dinner while waiting on the computers to send across the data.

    Tim