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I have been using Corporate Lodging Consultants service called CheckInn Card for a couple years now and have recognized significant savings on hotel stays compared to on-line services like Price Line etc

Have any others out there used them and what have your experiences been compared to other lodging discount strategies?

I found it through an article in Sunshine Artist a couple years ago. And just like Square, it has saved me some serious money

http://www.clclodging.com/cid/

They have a couple program options and you have to check their fees on each option to get the best solutions for your needs.

There was a fee to join, don't know if it's still in place.

No, I don't own stock or get any perks for pimping their services. It has helped me save $ on travel

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Yes! I am an enthusiastic user. I have stopped using Priceline since starting CLC.

Priceline has mostly 3 stars and up, and those tend not to have breakfast, or the perks that I like. I don’t need a hotel to have a restaurant, and that’s what makes a hotel 3 stars.  I got fed up when I bid on a 2 star hotel on Priceline last year, and was “bumped up” to a 4 star pretentious hotel where the desk clerks had an attitude.

 

CLC in general has 2 and 2 ½ star hotels, which is more than enough for me. Since I choose the actual hotel, I am able to stay much closer most of the time, than with Priceline. I look them over, and often check reviews on TripAdvisor before making the reservation.

Mark and Linnea-  Thanks for this info- 

Just curious.   After reading your posts, which sounded like a good way to choose and save on hotels,  I went ahead and gave them a call.

The person I spoke with (very nice) told me that the prices quoted on the site are good for 2 weeks, then may change.  

I often book months in advance- has this ever been a problem for you?  (I know you can cancel the res. w/24hr notice, but I'd rather not have to think abt this after the initial reservation is made)

Also- I was told to ignore the hotel check-out invoice-  my CC will be charged by Check-Inn Card for the amount quoted from the Check-inn website, (unless they've changed if I book early...)  plus their $4.95/night fee, which I will see on my CC account statement, as well as in my Check-Inn Card account AFTER I check out- no advance payment is taken.  

Finally, I was told to make my reservation with the "front desk", not with the "reservations" dept.  Not sure why- and you must call the hotel- no way to do this on-line, or is there?

Have you ever had any billing problems, or rate-change problems?

I'm a little confused- 

Thanks for any clarification you may have through your experiences!

I keep a CLC card which I only use when traveling to and from shows for one night stays while on the road. CLC's prices are always as much or more when their service charge is factored in at the end of a stay. I research my motels almost always a 10 - 12 months in advance and the prices always beat CLC. I booked my stay in Greensboro, NC for November last year at 59.95 with LaQuinta which is a super nice place. I checked CLC two weeks prior to departure just to make sure and it was $69.95+their $4.95 service fee. I was there for 8 days so I saved $119.00 over CLC. I find this to be the norm as I always check while I still have time to make changes.

Thanks, Rich. I usually use Priceline or Hotwire, but sometimes (especially when traveling alone) you just need to be able to choose the exact hotel before you book it, and I'd hoped that CLC could be another option. Now that you've pointed it out, I can see how it could work for on-the-road, short stays.

Interesting, though- for a longer stay-  Just looked at an  Extended Stay Hotel w/good reviews for early May dates. CLC, with the $4.95 fee, beat out the hotel website's price by about $15/night, -  I'll be curious to see if the CLC price increases at the two week point prior to my departure dates. 

Sometimes it pays to book way in advance, sometime, not.  May also depend on what sites you use. 

Sharri,

With CLC, the reason you can only book within a specific time frame is B/c hotel rates can change by season and day of the week. There are two rate plans within CLC. The one with the approx $9.00/nite service fee gets you the guaranteed lowest rate at the hotel...plus their service charges and of course you pay the taxes on top of this. The CLC plan used by Rich does not.

(He may have failed to choose wisely grasshopper).

In Rich's case, he is correct that he does not get the best rate... because he likely chose the plan with the lower service charge. So he saves 4$/night on CLC's service charge, but he loses up to 30 % on the hotel rate savings because of the CLC plan he chose...

If you are interested, you should call CLC and speak to a customer service representative. They are pretty patient with customers and can explain the two plans better than I can. And when you cruise CLC's site for hotels, you see only the rates for your particular plan... So, if Rich chose the plan with the lower per night CLC service fee, he sees the higher rates... Does this make sense? You are paying more per night in order to always get the best/lowest rate available... And, indeed, if you only stay at the very cheapest of the cheap motels, you can sometimes pay a few dollars more with the service fee added onto the rate CLC gets... but I don't stay in the very least expensive hotels b/c I have had a couple bad experiences doing this (like the night I saw bedbugs creep out from behind the headboard and start making a beeline for my wife's exposed skin)

Also remember that nearly all of the advertised rates on the websites do NOT include taxes and fees... which depending on the market (like New Orleans) can be steep

Mark

I agree with what Mark said. I changed my plan after the first year, when I realized I would pay less with the plan with a higher service fee.  

 

I find that the rates on the CLC site are stable. The only time I have found them to be different is for a holiday weekend or blackout date. You can’t book online. I always call and verify that they still take the card, and that they accept it for the exact dates I need. For example, I saw a CLC hotel offered for the first time in a town I go to frequently. But, the show in question is on a holiday weekend, in a tourist town. I called, and sure enough, that weekend is a blackout date. But that happens seldom.  If you are really anxious, book a CLC hotel, and have a refundable backup too, until you are comfortable with the system.  

 

I make the reservation on the phone, and ask them to email me a confirmation, which I print out and bring with. I usually do book way in advance too, just because I like it to be done; and verify the rates by checking them online within that 2 week window. There is a button for “Print sample receipt.” I do that, too, just in case. I can’t promise, but thus far I have never needed to cancel one.

 

It is a little more work to book this way, but I feel it pays off. Not long ago I stayed in the “official” show hotel, and paid $20 less than the “special” discounted artist rate. It is no more work than Priceline, in my opinion, because you don’t have to do all that strategizing and  re-bidding before you get something. I would rather know I’m close, and have the perks I like; and check reviews before committing; which you don’t get with Priceline.  

 

You can search by address, and plug in the show  location, then sort by distance.  

 

They are not all super budget hotels. I have stayed at Best Western and Hampton Inns before. Those are good enough for me! I only choose a Super 8 or similar if it has the best location.

As far as the “reservations department” is concerned: the choice of taking the card is up to each individual hotel. Thus, one Best Western will take it, and another across town may not. If you book with the  corporate reservations department, they don’t know that you will receive a lower rate; plus, plus they will ask you to hold it with a credit card. Normally when making a reservation, the CLC hotel does not ask you for a credit card to hold it; since you will not be paying with one.

Yes,

You cannot use the 1-800 booking phone numbers, but you get all the contact info when you look up the hotels.

Also, you cannot get any bonus points for corporate programs when you use the CLC card - usually b/c you are paying way less than their cheapest posted rate

you can also find out if your hotel has blackout dates or seasonal rate changes by call ing CLC's service number. Plenty of beach towns have really high rates during the season (usually Memorial Day to Labor Day on the east coast, central atlantic region), and rock bottom cheap rates during the off season - which is why you can only get firm rates two weeks out....

Now you can book a room months ahead and then present your CLC card when you arrive despite using a credit card to book the real early reservation. But this is not without risk. I had one hotel at a beach location allow me to book a room and then failed to honor their CLC rate when I got there on a busy summer weekend... They were contracturally obliged to the rate but the less than charming customer service (?) shift manager at the desk decided to take it upon himself to deny us our room rate and wouldn't call the GM of the facility to get a yea or nay. CLC was not able to get this idiot to relent and couldn't reach throught the phone to rip open his chest and extract his liver...(and where have all those mythological punishments gone?)... and they couldn't get hold of the GM b/c they didn't have his home number.

Needless to say I quietly found another location which did accept the CLC card at the rates they posted, only 30 miles away from this location. I also raised hob with the CLC folks about enforcing their contracts and they comped me for my inconvenience. I also got a phone call from the GM of the hotel letting me know that Mr Charming at the front desk had be dealt with and that I should call him personally the next time I wanted to stay at this location.

CLC no longer deals with this facility. In speaking with one of the VP's of CLC, I was told that they do not put up with that sort of BS and CLC customers who receive bad treatment or disrespect from hotel personnel b/c they are CLC customers or just in general do not get their contracts renewed.

And trust me, I made sure I used some of the travel service rating websites to recount my disappointment in painful detail.......after all this is one of the powers that the internet grants you: the voice which is heard far and wide that does not forget

Thank you both for this comprehensive info- now that I am better informed I'll give CLC another call about the initial cost of the two different plans.  Your explanations were far better then the nice woman I spoke with! (in case you want to do a little moonlighting, they could use you over at CLC customer service!)

Thanks again!

Just adding an update to the CLC card info- the option of the higher rate plan w/the lower rate room is no longer available unless you stay 20 days/month or more.

Just booked my first dates- was quoted a high rate by the front desk, informed them I'd be using the  CLC card (which was fine) .  Received my confirmation from the hotel w/a LOWER rate then the current CLC quote.   A bit confused by this... Has this ever happened to you?  

 I'll be curious to see what the actual rate is, once my 2 week window arrives in a few days.

Shaari, is this a change in CLC policy?

I have yet to book any hotel stays for this year.

I think so,  Linnea-  I'd mentioned that I knew of a few people who had been able to change to the higher rate plan, and was told that you must have been grandfathered in.  The change would not affect you, but as a new member and small business, I don't qualify.

What happened, Nancy? Which plan were you on?

The lower service charge plan – I don’t remember what it’s called -  gives you a percentage off the hotels rate. But since that rate can vary, the amount you save is not easy to calculate in advance. When I first enrolled, I was on that one. I did incur charges that were higher than I expected. Whereupon I called and asked, and the fixed rate plan was recommended to me and I switched .

 

The higher service charge one (as mentioned earlier in the discussion) gives you a fixed contracted rate. Since I always print those out, for documentation, I don’t see how CLC can argue with it: but nor have I needed to.

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