Michelle Higgins, Practical Traveler columnist for the New York Times, wrote an interesting story about hotel frequent stay programs this week.  Thanks to Amy at the Saratoga Arms for sharing this article with us. Entitled How to Attain Hotel Elite Status, the article outlined how frequent hotel goers who spend anywhere from 36 to 100 nights with certain brand hotels are more likely to get perks like free breakfasts, individualized concierge service, a break on the exorbitant wi-fi access or resort fees, and maybe if they’re very loyal a free bottle of water too!  She went on to say however, “But let’s face it: Unless you are practically living in hotels, you are not going to see any of those benefits”.  Hotel loyalty programs move aside.  B&Bs are the better way to stay!
Travelers, you don’t have to join a loyalty program to have elite status at any inn or B&B; you automatically get it.  Choose an inn or B&B and you’ll be treated to a scrumptious complimentary and homemade  breakfast, afternoon refreshments and plenty of individualized attention and pampering.  Add to that, fabulously comfortable beds, in-room fireplaces and deep whirlpool tubs (in some rooms) balconies and great views too.  Free wi-fi?  Count on it at more than 93-percent of inns and B&Bs , according to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International. But you want a TV?  No problem, more than 81-percent of inns and B&Bs offer TVs that are probably nicer than your typical hotel version. All these amenities come complimentary with a room which in many cases will run far less than the rates of city based hotels.
The other thing that amazes us is how hotels consistently strive to emulate the country inn model, but never make it there.  Heavenly beds?  We had those years before Westin capitalized on them, along with high thread count sheets and beautiful bed coverings too.  Free breakfast?  It’s been included with a stay at a B&B for years. After all, breakfast is the second B in our name.  Yet hospitality? This is where hotels  fall short.  When is the last time the owner of a hotel greeted you by name, made your coffee just the way you like it. If the hotel owner happened to bring you coffee, you can be assured it would be added to your bill.  Elite loyal hotel goers receive individualized concierge attention.  Heck, we have an individualized concierge at every inn and B&B. We called them innkeepers!
Hotel goers, forget the loyalty program that takes forever to qualify for and under delivers. Convert to the better way to stay and give inns and B&Bs a try.