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Nice Hotels Are My Secret Indulgence

March 22, 2011

I admit it, I love a nice hotel. I love the chocolates on the pillows. I love the fancy sundries in the bathroom. I love the crisp sheets. I love the mini-bar. I love the television with all the channels that I don’t have at home. And it is the only place that I love being called Mr. Lentini (otherwise I turn to look for my father). I usually travel during the Christmas holiday and right after tax season, so my excitement is building (vacation time..) as we have a month left for tax season to be over. And then I read an article in April’s issue of Smart Money magazine that was called “10 Things Hotels Won’t Tell You,” and now I’m rethinking my upcoming trip….

  • In tough times we have to discount – creatively. 2009 was the worst year for hotels since the great depression and yet hotels are holding the line on rates, while giving other various discounts like parking or gift cards.
  • Book with us to get an upgrade. Hotels pay commissions to third parties like Expedia or Travelocity. Talk to the hotel directly.
  • We can be sneaky about our best deals. Since most hotels are franchises, individual owners can offer the best deals. They’re promoted online, via e-mail, newsletters and more recently social networking.
  • Your room won’t really look like this. Reviews are good for the basics but pictures are usually provided by the hotel..so watch out.
  • Kiss your credit card data goodbye. Hotels have become a favorite target for credit-card thieves.
  • We need locals as much as travelers. With few people traveling, hotels that have bars, restaurants, spas and golf courses have been forced to look closer to home for help making up lost revenue.
  • We’ll happily wave that fee. These days airlines have found a way to charge for just about everything, and hotels have climbed on board that train. But the good news is hotels are open to negotiating those various fees. Just ask.
  • We can’t do much about bedbugs. Hotels are a perfect environment for bedbugs – lots of turnover and lots of beds.
  • We obsess over online comments. Traveler-review sites have become a powerful force in the hotel industry. Too many bad reviews and business may start to slide.
  • You can make a killing on points. All hotels are trying to lure in travelers with extra point offers.

This does not change my, after tax season plans, but it reminds me the time I worked at Great America (a local amusement park) in the summer of my senior year in high school and found all the tunnels and back stage movements of the park itself; the illusion then seemed not so magical. There are no illusions at GAI (www.gunwel.com), when we do tax work we make every effort to include every deduction possible to minimize your tax liability. There are no hidden fees or agendas, and we don’t have bedbugs…We are open Monday through Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturdays 8am to 5pm. Give us a call at 212-979-6830 as we’d love to hear your favorite hotel experience. See you soon!

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