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Hotel Planning Update

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  • Hotel Planning Update

    Well, I have been working on hotel reservations for the last couple of weeks. I started out with who promised to do the whole trip for us with personalized service. After looking at our schedule the response was "I did not expect that many locations" and I got quotes only for 3 cities that did not convince me.

    After that I tried, which is a more automated group planning site that distributes the requests to a bunch of hotels at or close to the destination, listing quotes on the site, allowing change requests and even distributing invitation emails to the members of the group. Very nifty functionality (mainly aimed at sport events or wedding parties), covering most of the locations we are going to visit. However, when I tried to get individual quotes for these hotels directly I found they were typically 10% cheaper than the group quote (does not make any sense, does it....). Additionally, the group would have to pay a deposit at some hotels. The problem may actually be the risk the hotel incurs reserving a room block without guarantee that somebody will come. For individual reservations they usually have a name and credit card.

    I tried also some local travel agents who would plan such a trip for a fee but that would be about $50 per hour with unknown total time demand and still the need to look up and decide which hotel to choose. Very frustrating the whole thing....

    O.K. here is the proposal:

    1. Somebody has a great idea how to organize the hotels or knows the super duper travel agency that can do it.

    2. I will continue checking hotels for the best deal I can find and publish a target list with contacts, web sites and prices. After that each tour participant would have to call or web-book the hotels themselves. According to my experience that may take an evening or two (13 locations) but it looks like we can even save a bundle doing this (especially if using AAA or AARP discounts). As a preparation for a 2 week trip I guess that may be acceptable?

    Sorry that it is not going as smoothly as I expected. But let me know what you think!

    Cheers, Gert

  • #2

    Proposal #2 is fine with me as I haven't used a travel agent in years. After I informally joined the USA tour last year, I made all my own reservations at the same hotels the group used and it worked out well. I probably didn't get as good a rate as the group did since my reservations were made at the last minute, but I did get the AAA rates which were a few dollars cheaper than the standard web rates.

    Maybe the hotels you choose would block out a group of rooms (20 or 25?) for us for a certain length of time to give everyone some time to make their own reservations?

    Let me know if you need any help!



    • #3
      have u tried getting in touch with any of the local chamber of commerces along the route to see if they can help with locations and vendors?
      2002 SV zetec/sierra; yellow over green


      • #4
        That would be an idea but the issue is not really finding hotels. There are plenty for most of the locations. I am trying to find really good (group) rates and organizing the reservations without early deposits and without spending most of my work day doing that :)


        • #5

          FWIW, the USA tour used a travel agent. In some ways that was nice, because they handled the cash transactions and they gave the organizer a little leverage (as opposed to everyone getting their own hotels). It's also nice because someone else is doing part of the work...even if that means it costs a bit more than doing it yourself. Unfortunatly, I don't have anyone to recommend! :(
          Tom "ELV15" Jones


          • #6
            Another update.....

            Pretty good progress so far. I enlisted the help of Stan "Soareyes" and split the tour with him doing the coast locations and me doing the inland cities. We got quotes and already some contracts for most places. We should be able to stay approximately within budget ($100 per day). In some places we have to spend a little more but can save elsewhere.

            Most places will allow for individual (and cancelable) reservations by credit card based on a group price agreement. The actual payment will then be made as we go.

            The only place that I found with a firm deposit requirement is Crater Lake NP. That means I will need to collect some limited money by about April but it should not exceed $300, including possible prepayments for ferries and a share for the support truck driver's hotel and fuel. Chuck Spera was very generous to offer his SUV with enclosed trailer as support vehicle. I am in the process of enlisting a skilled support driver.

            I am planning to use the umbrella of the emerging USA7s club for insurance purposes. I am also working an a liability disclaimer of the usual form that I would need the participants to sign (i.e. you promise you are a reasonable and responsible person and not going to sue me for bad weather).

            I hope to publish the complete list of hotels by end of November. That would alllow you guys to make up your mind and call in for reservations during December or January.

            Not much left to do then, except ferry reservations, some special dining events, the Brammo visit etc.

            Less than 10 months to go!!!!



            • #7

              Thanks for the update! Sounds great!


              Thanks for helping Gert with this. It's a big project for one guy!

              PS: I just drove a bit of the coastal road last weekend, around Point Reyes. It's going to be a lot of fun if the rest of the coast is similar!
              Tom "ELV15" Jones