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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

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Sandy Chen

Sandy Chen

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OHIO hospitality expert offers summer travel tips


With temperatures climbing and the school year coming to a close, it is time for many to start planning and enjoying summer vacations. Hospitality expert Sandy Chen, an associate professor in the Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism Program within Ohio University’s Patton College of Education, offers five tips that can help travelers save money, and stay comfortable, during summer vacations.

  1. Book accommodation with economy hotel chains. “By doing so, you not only get more value out of the money you pay for the room since these hotels normally offer free breakfast, WiFi, swimming pools and gym facilities, but you also accumulate loyalty points with these hotel chains, which you can use in the future for free or discounted rooms,” said Chen. “If you use a credit card that rewards ‘cash back upon purchases,’ you could save more for future use.”
  2. Book accommodations one or two days before you check into a hotel. Chen explained, “Unlike the airline industry where you can receive low airfare if you book way ahead of time, the hotel industry plays the other way around. Studies on revenue management show that customers normally can get good deals with hotel room rates if they wait until the last minute. But make sure you do reserve a hotel room via phone or website before checking into the hotel. Normally the walk-in rates (without reservation) are the highest rates you could get. However, in the peak season, this might be somewhat risky since sometimes all your favorite hotel rooms could be sold out due to special events. This might mean you would not get the right hotel room in the right location.”
  3. Check three major reservation outlets to compare rates and special offers. “Sometimes, travel reservations sites, including the hotel’s website, the hotel’s reservation staff at its physical location, and an online booking website like Expedia.com, offer different rates. When they do offer same rates, they might have different bonus offers, such as government rates, veteran discounts and loyalty rewards,” advised Chen.
  4. Book accommodations in suburban areas instead of urban areas. “Booking hotel accommodations in the suburbs, instead of urban areas, could mean saving several hundred dollars on one trip,” said Chen. “For instance, a hotel room in downtown Washington, D.C., is much more expensive than one in the suburb Rockville, Maryland, which is only 35 minutes away by car to the capital city and may offer free shuttle service to and from the city and nearby areas.”
  5. Consult customer reviews on hotels if you are interested in booking. “Websites, such as TripAdvisor and Expedia, have customer ratings of hotel facilities and service quality. Many of them give detailed descriptions of hotel experiences, which can help you decide the right hotel in which to stay,” said Chen.