Since 2008, I’ve been planning events and conferences almost full-time at a variety of hotels and resorts across the country. And I have to say, four years ago, I knew nothing. Nothing. I’d just show up, take whatever came my way, and never ask questions or inquire about options. But I’ve learned a few things about working with hotels, booking hotels, and generally just getting the most of out of your hotel experiences.
I recently traveled with my family (For fun! Not work!) to the Westin Kierland resort in Scottsdale, AZ, and I was reminded of some of the extra things to look out for and to consider when booking hotel accommodations for yourself or for your family.
Here are five favorite tips…
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Two Words: Club Level. Look Into It. 1 of 5Seriously. Seriously consider the club level. It can run you an additional $50 to $100 a night...depending on the hotel, but with it, you get access to all kinds of greatness...including free breakfast, lunch, snacks, and often dinner. They'll even box it up for you. And I'm telling you, this is a huge lifesaver (And money saver. Really.) with kids. Snacks. Water. Fruit. More snacks. These things seriously add up, and they're totally available to you (often 24X7) on the club level. In the end, I've always found this to be a money saver. I'm a huge club level convert. It's the way to go when you're traveling with kids. Or even when you're not.
Ask About Their Specials. 2 of 5And I'm not just talking about their rate specials (although, you should always always ask about these...especially inquire about any family specials). I'm also talking about what special things they have going on, what they're known for, and what their can't-miss items include. For instance, I would have never known to watch out for the evening bagpiper at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale...but he was fantastic.
Consider the Extras. 3 of 5It may seem like a splurge to get a cabana, but in the end (at least for us), it's money well spent. You get a guaranteed spot by the pool, a place to keep your things all day, and they usually throw in some free food and beverages with the deal. Anything that makes family/stuff coordination easier is alright by me (and completely worth looking in to).
Let Them Know Ahead of Time That You’re Traveling with Kids. 4 of 5Smart hotels will prepare accordingly ... and often greet you with special treats and/or itineraries. Kids get really excited about this.
Ask About Kids Activities. 5 of 5Often resort hotels will have extremely cool kids clubs or camps. Kids super love these, they have a blast, and you can rest easy by the pool know that they're having the time of their lives. Don't worry, you can catch up with the in a couple of hours to swap stories. Fun for everyone!