Hotel and training centre, Melksham, Wiltshire
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Getting the best hotel rates - customer and hotelier viewpoints

Customers - naturally - want to get the best value when they stay in a hotel, and there are web sites out there such as Independent Traveller which advise them how to get that good value. The site says

While even cars have gone the way of reliable sticker prices, hotel accommodations remain a haggler's game, with arcane and confusing rules and terminology that seem aimed to sneak dollars out of your pocket even when you think you're making out well.


Even though I'm a hotelier, I actually prefer that our guests know up front what they'll be paying, and that they get the best and most appropriate deal for them. We much prefer guests to leave happy, as our ambassadors, rather than feeling hard done by with extra costs or silently peeved that someone they were talking to over breakfast who had a more adversarial approach had got himself a lower price by haggling.

So hear - for our knowledgeable customers (and I like our customers to be knowledgeable) are my comments on the suggestions made by the Independent Traveller site as it effects Well House Manor.

Rates quoted in this article are correct at August 2013. Apart from VAT changes, our rates have remained unaltered since 2007; they are likely to rise to help us meet rising costs for new bookings from 1st January 2014

1. Ask for a lower rate.
This sounds simple, even doomed, but very often works like a charm.


Our rates are simple - £95.00 for a double or twin room for two people, including continental breakfast for each of them. Or £85.00 for a single, including breakfast.

For training courses delegates, we offer a £72.00 rate - that's directly booked, and part of a package (see suggestion no. 7), and we can offer the lower price because we're saving on cost of sales. And they can come back alter at that price too. That £72.00 is also available to local businesses which are members of the Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and for bookings of ten room-nights or more. And I would love you to ask and check if you qualify!

2. Shop around online.
Hotel discount reservation services like Hotels.com can also help you save considerably on hotel rates, as can general travel booking sites like Expedia and Travelocity. Note, however, that these sites may charge booking fees, so often your best strategy is to shop around to find the lowest rate and then call the hotel directly to see if they can match it.


We don't offer seasonal rates, or standard rates that vary through the week. But there are some evenings, notably Fridays, which are sometimes quieter than other nights of the week, and you may find us offering the room at a lower price on occasions through late rooms. Almost inevitably, these deals are "pay with booking", uncancellable once booked, automated booking, and for a minimum stay of two nights. And they're available only in very limited quantity. If they work for you, that's great - we'll be just as delighted to see you when you arrive, and you'll get the same quality of room and service at Well House Manor.

4. Call the hotel directly.
Many times specials are offered at the hotel that can't be submitted through the 1-800 central reservations system.


If you are a delegate, or with a Chamber of Commerce business, yes please do call. As you become a regular customer, we'll give you a customer code to enter on the web site so that you can book directly at the delegate rate.

5. Be flexible with your dates.
Hotel rates can vary widely based on the time of year and the time of week when you travel. If you're staying at a property that serves mostly business travelers, you may find great weekend deals, while B&B's and other leisure properties tend to have lower rates midweek.


Well, yes - take a look at Late Rooms as I mentioned above. You may be lucky if you're looking to stay from a week into a weekend, or from a weekend into a week.

6. Take advantage of last-minute specials.
If your travel plans are flexible, you could get a great rate by waiting to book your hotel until the last minute. Hotel managers are often willing to lower their rates to fill their last remaining rooms.


We're a little different here. You'll not find us lowering rates to fill the last room late in the day. At Well House Manor we provide more than just a room for the night, and guests who are literally just looking for a bed to sleep in don't want that "more"; they feel they've been charged for facilities not used, and so they don't show the place the respect that most guests do. They'll be happier elsewhere, and our limited resources for servicing rooms are not stretched for very little benefit.

7. Consider a package deal.
If you're looking for both airfare and hotels, shop around and see if it's worth booking the two together as a package deal. You may not have as many hotel choices as you would if you were booking your lodging separately, but the discounts could be worth the lack of flexibility.


Not quite hotel plus airfare, but hotel plus IT course ;-) - see [here]. You'll get delegate rates on rooms, and you can bring your partner and extend the stay too - make it a holiday too - at delegate rates.

9. Look beyond the big hotels.
If you're seeing high rates at big chain hotels, consider some alternatives.


I have to agree totally on this one. At a big chain you know what you get. Rarely will it be spectacular value for money, but rarely will it be dreadful. Hotel inspection ratings are costly for the small private hotel, and these days more and more of us are choosing not to be officially rated; it would put our prices up. Instead, take a look at reviews on Trip Advisor, or Late Rooms, or watch our TV appearance on "4 in a Bed" online which will give you a real view as to what we offer ... and what we don't offer!

10. Know the full cost.
You may think you've found a great deal, but keep in mind that the base rate isn't the only thing that will determine your total bill. Be sure to ask what taxes, resort fees, parking costs, energy surcharges, and other odds and ends will apply to your final tally. Even if one hotel has a lower base rate, it may end up being a more expensive option once all the extras are added in.


The prices quoted above are the total. No further charge for internet access, teas, coffees, breakfast, extra TV channels, bringing a dog, early checkin, late departure, and all taxes are included. We WILL charge extra is you take a strawberry cream tea in the afternoon, or you want to hold a meeting in our conference rooms and provide refreshments for your visitors.

13. Follow up.
Once you've booked your hotel, don't just rest on your laurels. Call back or check online in another month or so and see whether rates have gone down. If they have, cancel your booking and rebook your stay at the lower rate. (Read the hotel's cancellation policy carefully before doing so to make sure you won't have to pay any penalties.)


Well - if you cancel and rebook because the rooms are available through [another] agent for a few pounds cheaper, it's one sure way to upset the hotel. You're generating them lots of extra paperwork, and the less professional places will then tend to provide you with a room and service that's adequate rather than any better than that. In our terms and conditions, we allow no-penalty cancellation until quite close to your arrival date, but we do reserved the right to charge an admin fee if you cancel and rebook in this way. We've never had to apply this yet, but I wouldn't hesitate to do so where appropriate.

15. Leave your bags in the car.
Planning to negotiate when you arrive? Don't haul a huge piece of luggage into the lobby and then tell the agent that you'd just as soon go elsewhere if they can't bring their rates down. You'll look tired, hassled, sick of lugging bags and, to a shrewd hotel clerk, ready to pay handsomely to unpack that suitcase.


Rare for us ... we're simply not on a road where people drive by and walk in. It won't make any difference if you bring your bags in or not - the price is £95.00 double and £85.00 single for the one night you're likely to want. It's excellent value for what we provide, and if we're full, or if you want a cheap bed, we're happily to tell you about the other accommodation providers in Melksham where you may be better suited - you end up happy, they end up happy, we end up happy. That's what it's all about!
(written 2013-07-27, updated 2013-07-30)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
M102 - Well House Manor - booking system
  [4232] Not wanted here - hotel guests who will not be happy - (2013-12-30)
  [4153] Rooms available tonight - how to code an algorithm from first principles - (2013-08-19)
  [4138] Should a hotel accept guests who book for just one night? - (2013-07-11)
  [4122] Well House - booking through agents - (2013-06-23)
  [3976] Easy pricing, quick and easy checkout - (2013-01-15)
  [3932] River nearly bursting its banks in Melksham - (2012-11-23)
  [3825] Well House Manor - direct hotel bookings help us improve the customer experience - (2012-08-04)
  [3281] Does Well House Manor Hotel in Melksham offer lots of discounts? - (2011-05-07)
  [2705] Hotel booking in Melksham made easy! - (2010-04-03)
  [2436] Melksham Hotel Rooms - pictures - (2009-10-04)
  [2403] Hotel Booking Scam / Cost of calls to 070 numbers - (2009-09-12)
  [2377] Wiltshire / Melksham Weddings - guest accommodation - (2009-08-26)
  [1907] Melksham Hotel Rates - (2008-11-25)
  [1815] Hotel Guest Surveys - (2008-09-28)
  [1554] Online hotel reservations - Melksham, Wiltshire (near Bath) - (2008-02-24)
  [1311] What do people look for on a hotel web site? - (2007-08-20)
  [1084] Writing terms and conditions for conferences and other events - (2007-02-17)
  [864] Add to shopping cart - NO VACANCIES sign - (2006-09-13)


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Bus times - Melksham to Bath from 28th July 2013
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After the storm
Some other Articles
Special General Meeting, Adoption of Constitution for TransWilts Community Rail Partnership
A hidden hotel gem in Melksham
A few more trains means a LOT more passengers. Why?
After the storm
Getting the best hotel rates - customer and hotelier viewpoints
Bus times - Melksham to Bath from 28th July 2013
Passenger survey at Chippenham - report and pictures
My pictures of Melksham Carnival, 13th July 2013
Riots in Melksham
Out of doors (mostly) at Well House in Melksham
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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