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Everything You Wanted To Know About Booking Hotels :: The Perfect Escapes Edition

July 11, 2008 at 4:15 PM | by | ()

Here at HotelChatter we get all sorts of questions about booking hotel rooms such as where to book (boutique hotel or a place with a loyalty program?), how to book (phone or website?), how to get a cheap rate, how to get free upgrades and the always lovely "Can you hook me up with a free room?" (We can't.)

But we do realize that you have a lot of good questions about booking hotel rooms. So once a week we're running Everything You Wanted to Know About Booking Hotel Rooms where we will give you the latest news, advice, tips, and answers on booking a room. And just maybe we'll be able to hook you up with a free room after all.

This week we're chatting with Eric Jeck of Perfect Escapes, a luxury hotel booking site. Eric details for us just what Perfect Escapes is all about, how it differs from other sites out there and what deals at hip hotels they have going on right now. Oh yes, and The Wynn Las Vegas makes an appearance too.

Keep reading for the full interview.

There are a lot of booking sites out there. We've even interviewed a few of them. So what makes Perfect Escapes different or stand out from the rest?

Eric Jeck:
Perfect Escapes specializes in luxury travel. The difference is in the selection of hotels and that we have a much higher level of service.

On the selection side, we only promote the top one percent of hotels around the world. These are chosen by our editorial staff and they have to fulfill certain qualifications. We also don't charge hotels to be included as a way to maintain objectivity.

On the service side, we have travel experts 24-7, 365. They help with advice, research and do the bookings.

Once a reservation is made, we call the hotel to verify that the reservation is in their system. Then when we have confirmation, we send a personal note to the guest letting them know we confirmed. and letting them know what they should know about the property. We found that if we invest more time upfront, we avoid problems in the end when a guest is arriving at the hotel and we get more repeat customers.

What about fees or other charges?

Eric Jeck:
We don't charge any additional fees or change fees. We negotiate direct deals with hotels and we always try to give guests a little more value.

For instance, we offer our guests extra amenities like early check-in or check-out, room upgrades (if available), free breakfast, parking, free WiFi, wine etc. So they get the room at a good rate plus an extra little thing.

Back to the hotel selection, what types of luxury hotels are you looking for?

Eric Jeck:
We try not to rely solely on the star system when selecting hotels. Often you end up with lots of hotels that do what they need to do to make them three or four stars but they don't really do what they need to be nice. Like there's a 24-hour business center and room service, but the rooms have chipped armoires or old bedspreads.

Also, the star system cares about stuff that we don't necessarily care about. For instance, room service is not really needed when you are staying in midtown Manhattan and can walk out the door to a bunch of cool restaurants. And there's different expectations from a 8-room hotel than a 800-hotel room.

So we rely on our team and their expertise in the hospitality industry to create our list of hotels. We also take into account user reviews and personal customer experience. It's a living list, meaning we are adding and subtracting hotels each week.

So, what are some hot promotions going on this summer?

Eric Jeck:
Well, we are offering 15 perent off the best rate plus free WiFi at the Hotel Mela in New York. At the Sagamore in Miami we have a room upgrade if available and 25 percent off the room rate. At The Argonaut in San Francisco we are offering daily breakfast, cable car passes and parking for $283 a night.

We are also running a big giveaway for three nights at the Wynn Las Vegas that's worth $3,000 and includes a dining credit of $400, tickets to Le Reve, and another $400 credit for the spa or shopping.

Sweet. So getting serious. How do you think the luxury travel market will fare in the rough months ahead? Will hotels do more discounting? And what will Perfect Escapes do to entice a traveler who might be put off by spending money on a vacation?

Eric Jeck:
Rates have already fallen in many markets and will likely continue to do so during shoulder seasons and slower times of the week. Hotels are also pushing more promotional offers in an attempt to increase demand and the average length of stay.

Consumer travel patterns are shifting with more travel occurring closer to home (saving time and travel expenditures0 and more travel to destinations that offer value. For instance, we are seeing a lot more Canadian and European travel in the U.S. as they not only come for great hotel deals but also for discounted shopping of all goods and services.

U.S. travelers, on the other hand, are shifting away from Western Europe and instead are traveling to Eastern Europe, parts of Asia, Mexico and Latin America.

This environment plays to Perfect Escapes’ strength in helping consumers find great rates on luxury hotels and resorts.

Thanks Eric!

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