My current job requires a lot of travel. My wife is OK with it. However, as sort of a travel newbie, it seems to take me forever to get a trip booked. I have a disadvantage of being a contractor. My company gave me a corporate Visa and I'm told to take care of my own travel, and I will get paid back. No problem there. One thing I'm finding is that being a contractor puts me at sort of a disadvantage. The organization that I'm contracted to has it's own travel office, with different standards. I can only book a hotel within government per diem rates. In the location I'll be spending quite a bit of time at in the near future, I'm having a lot of trouble finding a decent business hotel within per diem rates. The last trip, I was able to get justification to stay at the Springhill Suites by Marriott. That was nice! Very nice, large room. It cost a lot more, but I was able to justify it as "directed by customer" so my company can bill for the increase and everybody is happy.
I'll be gone for a week coming up. I went to Hotels.com to find a room. Most of the hotels in that area that come back within my price range have terrible reviews. Some people say the hotel was great, others say it's dirty and smells like mold and has people yelling in the halls all night. I'm not going for that! For my week-long trip, I had a lot of trouble finding a hotel within my price range close to the meeting location, but I did find an oceanview suite 20 miles away. Well, I can turn my gas receipts in, so as long as traffic isn't too bad, I can deal with it. Since I have an oceanview suite, I'll just take my family with me. The location is within 5 to 6 hours of driving, so I'll just rent a car for the week on my corporate card.
I had to go back today to book a trip for one night. That same hotel was out of per diem for the time frame. Doh! I couldn't find anything on Hotels.com that sounded good for this trip. Last night, I saw a commercial for Hotwire.com. I decided to give it a shot. I found a 3 star hotel near my needed location for $79 a night. After I booked it, the room came up as a Holiday Inn. That is very nice! Maybe I'll use Hotwire again in the future. I've never quite had the guts to try Priceline.com, but maybe for my next trip I'll give it a shot.