Sunday, August 16, 2009
Hotel Advice - Read and Ask Questions
The headline from the Miami Herald travel section this past Sunday read "Season For Deals." There are some great deals out there as we enter the off-season but you need to read the fine print at the bottom of the ad to figure out the real price.
Take for example The Cove Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. They ran a full-page, 4-color ad in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. There was a beautiful photograph with the tag line "3 nights from $629." The description read: "Here's to butlers on the beach bearing mid-day mojitos. To oceanfront lounging raised to an art form. To private teakwood cabanas so perfect, it's hard to believe it only gets better."
Sounds really nice. The problem is... it only gets worse! The fine print states... rates are per person with double occupancy required. What? Now the deal goes from $629 to $1258, double the advertised price. But wait, there's more... "add up to $122 per person for mandatory taxes, mandatory housekeeping gratuity, utility service fees and service charges."
You see a very appealing ad with prices pitched at $629 when the real deal is $1502. The Bahamas are notorious for pushing the envelope of deceptive advertising. Every Bahamas ad I found last weekend was quoting single occupancy. How many people fly to the Bahamas alone for vacation? Contrast that with Florida Hotels. All the ads promoted their best deals but the rates were for 2 people, double occupancy.
Still, there are some South Florida issues like "resort fees" that are mandatory daily add-ons not quoted in the rooms rates. Hotels near Pines & Palms Resort charge up to $65 more per day in addition to the advertised room rate. For more info on that tricky maneuver see my blog posted August 5, 2008.
It's a jungle out there... it pays read everything and ask questions.