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Most of us have a favorite brand of hotels for one reason or another. I’m going to talk about why you need to have a favorite hotel. I travel to San Francisco several times a year for business and pleasure, and they totally came through for me on an upcoming trip.
Three very good reasons to have a favorite hotel
The staff gets to know you by name
No matter how high of a level of status you have with a hotel loyalty program, if the hotel location you visit remembers that you visit their location frequently, you’ll be treated much better. This may mean a surprise upgrade or even a special treat waiting for you in your room. If nothing else, it’s always nice to have people remember you and greet you by name when you arrive.
You build loyalty status so much faster
By visiting the same hotel, you’re concentrating your stays with one hotel loyalty program. When you do that, you build status faster and you’ll earn more free nights quicker. Besides the obvious step of signing up for your favorite hotel’s loyalty program, be sure to sign up for every promotion that is offered by that loyalty program. Even if you don’t have any stays planned, promotion generally have a limited window of time to sign up, so if you book a stay later, you’ll want to get the extra benefits from that promotion.
You’ll be familiar with the surrounding area
When you return to the same hotel again and again, you’ll become familiar with the surrounding area of the hotel. You’ll know where the best places are to eat, grab a drink, or hit the market for something you forgot or ran out of. If you visit often enough, you may even become the Mayor on Swarm/Foursqaure!
The number 1 reason to have a favorite hotel
The number one reason to have a favorite hotel in cities that you visit often is that they can save your bacon when there’s no vacancy. Most people don’t realize it, but hotels almost always keep one or two rooms available for when special guests need a room. This happened to me on my upcoming trip to San Francisco for a finance conference I’m attending.
For personal trips, I’m always on top of booking my flights and rooms because I’m looking forward to a few days away from the office. When it comes to business trips, I think I have some sort of mental block and often book flights and hotels only a few weeks out. This almost happens because my work schedule can be quite hectic and work plans tend to change last minute.
Next week, I’m flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco for $99 each way on a private jet for a finance conference. A couple weeks ago, I went to book a room for one night at the Kimpton Sir Francis Drake. The Drake is my favorite hotel in San Francisco for a number of reasons – great location near Union Square, historic building with personality, super friendly staff, the room rates are usually reasonable for San Francisco, and it is part of my favorite loyalty program, Kimpton Inner Circle. However, there was no space available. Bummer!
So, my usual alternative is to stay the redesigned Kimpton Hotel Buchanan. Being that it is located in Japantown, it is a little further out from central San Francisco, but I still get treated very well there, I receive Kimpton stay credits towards free nights & renewed status, and it is a quick Uber ride (use my referral link to get $15 off your first ride) back to the main parts of San Francisco.
But, the Kimpton Hotel Buchanan was booked too!
Uh oh. Although Kimpton is my favorite, I’m willing to stay at other hotels when they’re not available. So, let’s check Hyatt’s availability.
Dang! No availability at Hyatt. What about Hilton?
Uh oh, this is getting serious. What about Marriott?
Ok, there’s some availability. But, do I really want to pay $500+tax for the lowest available Marriott properties in San Francisco? Um, no! I also checked with some other hotel sites and even the non-name brand hotels were in the $500+ range.
Lauren at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake to the rescue
I called up my friend Lauren (who is the assistant to the General Manager) at the Kimpton Sir Francis Drake to ask what’s going on. She informed me that there’s a conference in town that week, which is why there’s very little availability across all of San Francisco.
I then asked if the Drake has any rooms available that aren’t listed on the website. I explain my situation, and she agrees to look into it for me and get back to me before the end of the day.
A short while later, I receive an email confirmation of my reservation from Lauren! She had saved the day. The rate was comparable to many of the other hotels that I had found, but at least I get to stay in my preferred hotel. Lauren had given me the “friends and family” rate so my price would be a little lower than what an average person off the street would have paid.
Double Stay Credit Promotion
Literally the next day after Lauren booked my room, Kimpton came out with a Double Stay Credit promotion. Just my luck, right? I reached out to Lauren about the promotion, and she said it would be no problem to add that promotion to my reservation. How awesome is she?!?!?!
Which card to use for this hotel stay?
IHG bought Kimpton a little while ago, but there still are no reciprocal benefits for using the Chase IHG Visa at Kimpton properties. I’m only staying here for one night, so my card of choice it the Barclay Arrival so that I can offset a portion of my bill with the points I’ve built up.
Click on the affiliate banner below to apply for the Chase IHG or Barclay Arrival credit cards, or you can always pick something that works best for you.
Would any of this been possible if I was just a random traveler without a relationship built up with my favorite hotel? I highly doubt it. We’ve all had our share of bad customer service experiences at hotels. Kimpton is known for having excellent customer service and going out of their way to help guests, but I am 100% positive that having a good relationship with the Kimpton Sir Francis Drake is the reason they came through for me.
Have you ever had a situation like this? Do you have a favorite hotel in the cities that you travel to?
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