When Zoe heard that I’d be in San Francisco on business for a couple of days she wanted to join me. I decided to stay over the weekend so we could spend time here together. My flights and weeknights are a company expense but the weekend stay comes out of my pocket.
Automattic rides in style. Maya put me up at the Westin on Market. This is a four-star hotel, or “the bomb” in urban parlance, just one star short of “bling bling”. Thus they command six times the nightly rate of the hotels I usually book for myself. I learned this when I checked in.
I’m neither cheap nor, despite Mom’s best efforts, congenitally frugal, but like a boxer to a muffler I wasn’t going to pay a lot for a hotel room. I checked hotels.com for something closer to my range and found the same room in the same hotel available for about 45% less than the hotel’s quoted rate.
With several hours before the cancellation deadline for the weekend stay, I called the front desk to offer them the opportunity to take my money. I told them about the hotels.com quote and asked them to match it. The agent checked with her manager and then advised me to book it online and cancel the existing reservation.
That’s crazy, right? I offered to pay the hotel the full price quoted by hotels.com, saving them a commission and thus increasing their profit and they refused. Book it online, they said. So I went back to hotels.com.
Right about then, the hotel internet connection died. Perfect. Challenge me to book it online and cut my internet connection? Not really. The connection came back in a few minutes. I booked it and called the front desk to finally cancel the original weekend reservation and note that I’d keep the room for the new reservation.
Fifteen minutes of my time yielded a very big savings. It’s too bad the hotel will pay that commission. It’s a funny business. Use hotels.com.