"Hello... I'm having an emergency..."

>> Sunday, November 27, 2005

I'm about to reveal something to you that will make you love me forever and ever!!!

You remember my plans of going to volunteer at an orphanage in Dominican Republic? Well that broke up- the site where the building work is going on got flooded so all trips are suspended at the moment... so I looked into my second choice, which was an orphanage in Mexico... well a big group was already signed up to go there and there was no more room for other volunteers. At some point in the process my friend Kaiya suggested we try Costa Rica, and we looked into a few orphanages there but apparently there is a WAITING list to volunteer at a CR orphanage since its a popular volunteer destination! I will definitely adress this issue later and much more indepth because I learned that the whole non-profit world is one big interconnected mafia! (TRUST me I WILL go into details a bit later.) But this isn't what I'm going to tell you that you'll love me for.

Basically Kaiya and I were left with no more options so we just booked a pair of tickets to Costa Rica last weekend and decided that we're going no matter what!

What we didn't realize is that apparently the ENTIRE COUNTRY gets booked up for the end of December. Not only is that time considered the "high season" it is the HIGH SEASON OF the high season, where not only a ton of tourists show up, but all Costaricans go on vacation as well! Ooops.

Well, nothing is impossible at SP (unless the non-profit mafia is involved) so I stepped up. As the result last week I've been doing some creative work... and I bring you:


First of all lets discuss a couple of givens:
- always use polite, happy tone - smile, they want happy people staying at their hotels
- be empathetically- "Yes of course I understand you hotel is completely booked, right, I imagined as much..."
- and don't take NO for an answer!

OK, here we go:
"The Confused Act" - just act really confused, your tone will throw them of and make them pay attention.

"The Repeat" - Ask for availability naming each date individually. After you're done with the cycle, REPEAT. Ex: "Do you have December 27 available?" -No- "December 28th?" "December 29th?" "December 30th?" ... "Ok, yes I understand, what about December 27th?" etc.

"The Call Back" - If the confused act and repeat didn't get you anywhere, hang up, and call back in about 20 minutes. Lead in with a story how you just booked a different place for some of the dates and have new dates you want to check with them. Than proceed: "The dates I now need are: December 27th, 28th and 29th"

The good old "Bait and Switch" - This one is good because it gets the owner to start saying "yes".
Ex: "Good morning, I'd like to book a room in December..."
"Yes, Ok, what dates do you need?"
"I need 27 through 30th"
"Oh, sorry ALL booked"
"Ok, well which dates you do have?"
"Lets see we have 21, 22, and 25 ONLY"
"OK, I'll TAKE IT!"

Feel free to call back in 20 minutes and say: "Oh, I need to change my reservation... There was a full week available somewhere else, so I'd like to change the reservation to Dec 27th, 28th and 29th"

The "Add on" -
You might have caught that I left out Dec 30th when booking earlier... that's because we can always perform the "add on". Book your reservation, if you still have a few days before or after the booking, feel free to wait 20 minutes and call back. Say you called everyone and you just need the one more day.

Now mind you, its possible that these worked because they all are boutique hotels and when you call you're usually talking to the owner or at least someone related. Not sure if these will have the same effect on large hotels...

I will tell you this. All hotels always keep an "emergency" room available. Even through the high seasons. I'm not exactly sure why they do it... but there is always at least ONE room kept open, its just a matter of being that person who will be awarded the "emergency" room.

OH, and there is always the sixths strategy for booking hotels during the high season... YOU CALL IN ADVANCE!!!

So, yeah, how was your Thanksgiving? :)


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