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Take a good look at this picture. Do you recognize anyone? Like, yourself maybe? If so, Howard Johnson is looking for you.
No, it's not because you once stole a hand towel or pencil pad from. It's because they are looking for former employees who starred in the 1960s ad campaign, "Spotlighting on You" as part of the celebrations for HoJo's 60 years in the hospitality biz. The ads featured HoJo employees who went above and beyond the call of duty to help out guests.
Here's exactly the deal in tracking down the former employees/commercial stars.
Through the end of the year, Howard Johnson is searching for the 14 former hotel and restaurant employees featured in the “Spotlight on You” ads. These former associates will receive a free stay at a Howard Johnson hotel, and may also be invited to participate in an upcoming company ad campaign. For additional information, visit www.hojoadsearch.com.
Since the names of the employees are "spotlighted" in the old ads, we think tracking down some of the people will be very possible. (The free stay will be awarded to the former employee in the form of 60,000 Wyndham Rewards points. If the employee is deceased, a relative will earn 20,000 points.) We'll keep you posted on who's been found so far.
[Photo: Howard Johnson]
If you thought the cray cray deal-hunting was over when Cyber Monday ended, think again. Aside from a couple hotels in our Ultimate Guide extending their offers for a few more days, Howard Johnson is once again hosting Orange Wednesday on December 4th giving guests 50 percent off room rates for an up to three-night stay.
You can check out the participating HoJos in the U.S. and Canada on the website now but you do have to book between 12:00 AM and 11:59 PM EST on December 4th. And you can't book through the website. You have to call the hotel directly and request to book the Orange Wednesday rate. The deal is also limited to the first three travelers to call for each hotel so time really is of the essence on Orange Wednesday.
Here's some more fine print: Stays must be completed in the first three months of the reservation being made. Each guest can only book one reservation for up to three consecutive nights at the 50 percent off discount during the promotion period. Blackout dates apply.
If you're reading this and Orange Wednesday has already passed you by, Howard Johnson is still offering 20 percent off the room rates when guests book three consecutive nights from now until December 31st. Orange Wednesday may not be the new Cyber Monday but it's still pretty nice.
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OK, so it's hard to get too excited about a new Howard Johnson hotel, but as all-too frequent riders of the AirTrain, we can appreciate this new one's location.
A tipster pointed out that a new HoJo opened last week on Archer Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, which is actually just a few minutes' walk to the AirTrain's Jamaica Station -- putting you within a 30-minute commute of JFK. Not a bad idea for those early morning flights.
Rates start at $110 and that includes breakfast, WiFi and access to a fitness center. You'll earn Wyndham Reward points, too, so you can save up for something with a bit more pizzazz: like the Dream Dubai
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About a dozen Westin heavenly beds were hauled up to the hotel's third floor ballroom, where select SPG members got cozy and settled in for a private performance by indie trio Ben Folds Five. It's not every day you get to watch a live concert in bed!
But that wasn't the only exciting thing about the grand opening. Earlier in the day, HotelChatter got to sit down for an exclusive interview with the band and quiz them on their early days in the 90s as motel-hopping road warriors. Sure enough, they had plenty of stories to share...
HotelChatter: When you guys were just starting out and traveling to different cities each night, what was it like? Where would you stay?
Ben Folds: The Knight's Inn. Usually, one of us would book the room as if it was just for one person, and the others would hide out in the van and wait. The reason being, if there was more than one of us, the price would go up. So then we'd get into the room; someone would share a bed, I usually blew up a mattress and slept on the floor.
HC:: And how much did you have to pay?
BF: $39.95 usually. We would use whatever cash we'd gotten from the night before.
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Howard Johnson sure is getting a lot of love these days. First, it got featured on an episode of Mad Men (which, in turn, prompted a nifty promotion whereby you could get a free room if your name was actually Don Draper). Now, it's getting shout-outs from the Prez himself.
During a speech in Cedar Rapids, IA yesterday, Obama mentioned how he used to take childhood visits to HoJos with his mom, grandmother and sister.
The Des Moines Register points out that "the reference was meant to reinforce his middle-class roots, and paint a picture of the modest luxuries that should be available to Americans who work hard."
Fair enough. Though it's also worth mentioning, they're doing wonderful things with Holiday Inns these days too.
Howard Johnson must have realized it's not such a good look denying Don Draper...well, anything. And so, after last week's episode which portrayed the Man Men character driving off to a HoJo in Plattsburgh, NY with his new wife Megan, and being denied access to the hotel's pool, the company has decided to make up for their error.
Anybody who was actually born with the name Don Draper will receive a free night at a participating Howard Johnson this summer. It's the hotel's way of saying 'sorry' to all the Don Drapers of the world—even though, in real life, they never did anything wrong. Then again, we're not complaining. If we knew someone who was named Don Draper (and, very sadly, we don't), we'd be all over this like a spoon on orange sherbet.
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Bitcoin is an electronic currency that's only accepted in the digital world. It's not recognized by any government, it's entirely unregulated and the only ways to get your hands on bitcoin is to either buy it with real cash or spend days "mining" for it on the internet. For more on how it works, you can (try to) read the bitcoin entry on Wikipedia.
Yet, Jefferson Kim, the owner and manager of both the Howard Johnson and the Red Roof Inn in Buena Park was eager to use bitcoin for hotel reservations saying that he would "personally like to see the BTC succeed." On the hotel's website, he detailed how to pay for a room with bitcoin.
One person who took him up on this? Wired contributing editor, Joshua Davis, who wrote about bitcoin for a piece in the New Yorker (the October 10th issue.) Davis booked a room at the hotel online for 10.305 bitcoins.