Posts tagged ‘hotel’
By Chad Upton | Editor
I’ve been saving hotel key cards for years because I want to see exactly what is on them.
Years ago, somebody told me that hotel room access cards contained personal info and credit card data. The rumor was that this info was necessary for you to charge items to your room during your stay.
I recently got my hands on a magnetic card reader and started swiping all my old cards. The results fit into three categories.
1. 77% of all the cards could not be read at all. This should not be a surprise to anyone who has ever stayed in a hotel with magnetic card keys; some are notoriously poor at holding their magnetic charge. Another reason they may appear blank is that some systems use non-standard data encoding which make it difficult for an ISO card reader to extract information. Whether the charge is weak, distorted or proprietary, specialized card readers may be able to extract data from these cards. Still, that data would likely fall into one of the two following categories. (more…)
By Kaye Nemec
In 1962 a couple of building contractors decided to open up a chain of motel rooms that would be available at extremely low rates. It took two years for their business plan to be developed and, in the end, they decided to market themselves as a “no-frills” motel chain, offering customers an alternative to the higher-end hotels that were becoming popular. The budget-saving strategies included black and white, coin operated TV’s in the rooms, basic room décor and no on-site restaurants. The low cost plan allowed them to charge only $6.00 per night for a room.
Today corporate policy still states that Motel 6 will always have the lowest rates of any national chain.
On a related note, Super 8 was opened in 1972 with rates starting at $8.88 per night.
Photo: J. Stephen Conn
The internet has completely changed bargain hunting and finding the best price couldn’t be any easier.
I like to use Google products (formerly known as “Froogle”). It compares prices at thousands of retailers and show you the best deals along with ratings for each retailer.
Google products also searches sites like ebay. Although, it’s worthwhile checking ebay independently, there are lots of auctions for new products or if you’re willing to take a used one then you’ll get a great deal. If you’ve looking for something that doesn’t ship well, such as appliances, be sure to check craigslist.org or kijiji.com (owned by ebay). They let you search for products in your area so shipping is not necessary.
Sometimes the best price is at a website you’ve never heard of. This is when customer ratings and common sense are really helpful. If you’ve never heard of the retailer and can’t find a phone number for the office on the site, then I probably wouldn’t order from them. Amazon might be the only exception to this and in fact they’re one of my favorite online retailers, they frequently have the best price and their shipping and customer service are great.
If you’re searching for cameras, be weary of small companies based in New York City. They usually have the best price on camera equipment, but there are lots of online horror stories about some of these companies.
I’m not talking about minibars that are jammed with overpriced, undersized hickory peanuts and watermelon spritzers. I’m talking about an empty mini fridge that you can stack with caffeine boosting morning starters and gut busting dinner leftovers.
It’s fun to go all MacGyver and use the sink as a cooler, but that loses its cool when you want to use the sink as a sink. That’s why hotels keep mini fridges on-hand for special requests. I discovered this little secret last year, and I travel a fair amount for work so I’ve tried it in many hotels since then — it held true for almost every one.
When you book the room, ask for a mini fridge (or add it to the notes if you book online). Chances are good they will have it in the room for you when you arrive. If you get to your room and there is no fridge there, call the front desk and kindly request one. Don’t mention you already asked for one unless they’re all out, then tell them you requested one when you booked the room, you’d like a discount and you’d like the next fridge that becomes available (when someone who has one checks out). With this approach, I’ve never waited more than a day for a fridge ; I’ve never been given the discount either.
Photo Credit: DewKnight (Creative Commons)