Ask a Hospitality Expert... is part of Hotels Week 2013 here at Curbed Boston. Our expert? Adam Castiglioni, the editor/publisher of the Boston Hospitality and Tourism Industry blog, covering news and events in this dynamic industry in Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter @conciergeboston. And got a question for Adam? Email us (anonymity guaranteed).
A reader wrote in: Is there a best day of the week to book a hotel?
Adam's answer: While getting an inexpensive hotel room in the Boston area during peak season may be next to impossible, there are several ways to make the booking process a little easier.
Book directly through the hotel: Most hotels will guarantee you will get the best rate if you book directly through the company, often times with better rates available online. Many hotel brands, such as Starwood, Marriott, and Hilton, will also match any published online rate. When booking, always make sure to read all the terms and condition of certain rates, as they made require a prepayment, a specific room type, or certain cancellation fees. It can also help to become a member of a hotel's loyalty program when booking.
Understand Hotel Taxes: Boston and Cambridge charge a total 14.45 percent tax per night on each hotel room sold in the city. The tax is broken down as follows: 6 percent city tax, 5.7 percent state tax, and 2.75 percent convention center tax. Boston and Cambridge's hotel taxes are still lower than New York, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Nashville, Houston, Seattle, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Cleveland, San Antonio, and Columbus, Ohio.
Use a credit card: If you have a credit card, use it to book your hotel reservation. Upon check-in most hotels will take a hold on the card for a night's stay plus incidentals. This can create problems for guests using debit cards, as money taken as a hold is not released by your bank as quickly as the hotel releases the funds. Bottom line is that if you have a credit card, it's good to use it to book your hotel reservation.
Be nice at check-in: At check-in, be nice to the guest service agent. Politely inquire if an upgrade is available. It may not be available, especially during peak season, but it's worth it to ask. Thank the person checking you in using their name if possible. If there are any problems with your reservation or experience, be assertive, but calm and in control. The people on the other side nearly always want to do whatever they can to help you, but it helps you more if you're nice.
Follow Hotels on social media: Nearly every property (from bed & breakfasts, guest houses and hostels, to the five-diamond properties like the Four Seasons, Boston Harbor Hotel, and Ritz-Carlton) has a presence on social media. Hotels use social channels to promote rates, packages, and other special events at hotels in the area. Some even offer special rate promotions to their social media followers.
More hotels are on the horizon: There are plans to build many new hotel rooms in the Boston area over the upcoming years, which will enable the city to host many new events and visitors. While it's not clear whether an increased inventory of hotel rooms will lead to lower rates overall, it's clear that a variety of different types of properties will be coming online. More choice is always a better thing for prospective guests.
· Our Hotels Week 2013 archive [Curbed Boston]