If you read this blog regularly, you know the focus is generally on airlines and, lately, their financial struggles. But the hotel industry has suffered this year as well, particularly as business travel declines in the face of a tanking economy. Joe Sharkey at the New York Times writes that, "Both domestically and internationally, many properties managed by major hotel companies are reeling from an unanticipated drop in demand that began in late summer and abruptly accelerated with the economic crisis on Wall Street."
Unlike the airline industry, which can cut capacity to match drops in demand, hotels are stuck with the rooms they have. So what can a hotel do to cope with a decline in bookings? Offer deals, of course. As Sharkey reports, business travelers (and their corporate managers) find themselves in a position of power as they plan travel for the coming year and reserve blocks of rooms, meaning they can negotiate rates and find good deals.
This is also true for the rest of us as well, because hotels and tourism-dependent destinations are (understandably) growing anxious about the future of their businesses. The AP reports that hotels across the country are offering deals and suggests joining hotel rewards programs, many of which have been dropping blackout dates for rooms booked with points.
So if you are planning on traveling, don't be afraid to call a hotel directly and ask for a deal or some extra perks. As Sharkey writes, "bargains can be had for those with the inclination and money to travel."