Friday, September 26, 2008

The Business Of Vacations

One reason I plan my vacations in September is to take advantage of reduced travel rates. Usually, hotels are cheaper, as well as gas. Of course that didn't happen THIS year thanks to that [insert your favorite expletive] Hurricane Ike. Gas spiked about 50 cents a gallon the week that I was on the road a couple weeks ago.

Wonderful. I assuaged my financial pain somewhat by visiting local brewpubs in the Upper Peninsula. Wendy and I have a pamphlet produced by of all the microbreweries in Michigan and we've made a point of trying to visit as many as we can. Michigan businesses need our support, especially in the Upper Peninsula which relies so much on tourism. That's not going so well with today's economy. I'm doing my part to help.

When we dine and quaff at these establishments, I like to order the sampler tray of fresh brews. I included a couple pictures. Very pretty, yes? The food at these places is usually good too. At the Jasper Ridge Brewing Company in Ishpeming I ordered the Miner Burger, which included a quarter-pound beef patty as well as a quarter pound cudighi patty (yes, Big Dave got bigger on vacation unfortunately).

Didn't even know what a cudighi patty was until afterwards (a type of Italian sausage). But I was able to enjoy something new and now I know what type of burger the miners ate in the Upper Peninsula. I always thought it was a pastie-burger. So I got some education too.

Back to the business of vacations, I like to try to save a few bucks by picking up one of those hotel coupon booklets they stock at the welcome centers. I found a Holiday Inn coupon advertising a $69 room rate for a room that ordinarily runs over $100 a night. When I arrived at the Holiday Inn though, I found the lobby packed. Other people there for business meetings were checking in. Here I'm concentrating on taking care of the business of my vacation while they're there just taking care of business. Doesn't seem right.

So this white-haired nattily dressed may stood next to me trying to check in himself. He had reserved two rooms at the Inn. Or so he thought. The desk clerk could find nothing for him, even though the businessman said his wife had "pre-checked in" that morning before the businessman himself had arrived in town.

But the desk clerk could not find the reservation and the hotel was filling up fast. When I got my room, the clerk said there were only two left in the whole place. The business guy was clearly becoming frustrated.

"You think that a plan is coming together, and this happens," he groused.

The desk clerk checked the spelling of the man's name. Nothing close. Maybe the last name was put in as the first name? Nope. Maybe the wife checked in under her own name? Not that either. Could the man call his wife on her cell phone to verify that she had checked in at this hotel?

"She doesn't have a cell phone," the man sighed. He wore an increasingly pained expression, as did the desk clerk trying to help him. Good thing I didn't get in his line. They had already been trying to check him in for some time. She even tried looking for his credit card number in the reservation system. No luck there either.

As I was leaving, he was riffling through the papers in his briefcase. "I have a confirmation number somewhere," he said. "Let me try to find it. My secretary made the reservation."

Can anyone guess how this ended?

[ADDENDUM: The reservation was under the secretary's name. After the boss mentioned she made the reservation, the front desk clerk made the connection and asked for her name. Sure enough, two rooms under the name of C. Johnson.]


Blogger Paul said...


You have a cool blog here. Thanks a lot for sharing this useful info on 'Business Vacations'. I hope to read more from you. :)

Travel Business

11:21 PM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

I would guess it ended "not well" And I'd also guess he didn't have his facts exactly straight.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I'm guessing he was at the wrong hotel, good post Dave.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Babette said...

SPARTANS and beer don't mix very well, I'm afraid. Our victory was nothing to spitoon at today. Inversely, your skunk bears beat Wisconsin by the skin of their pointy little teeth.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

sounds as if you have things organized pretty darn well-I'm very unsavvy when it comes to beer and hotels (that's why we take those cruises), but it seems to me your a lot better off that the guy riffling through his briefcase.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

PAUL--A spammer, eh. Haven't had one of those here in a while.

CASSIE--I want to wait for a couple other guesses. But, yes, he didn't have all his ducks in a row.

PETER--No, he was at the right hotel all right. Let me see if somebody else can guess.

BABETTE--A historic come-from-behind victory against a top ten opponent deserves kudos even from Spartan Bonnie there.

Interestingly, when I Googled the news to catch the story on the awesome Wolverine victory, I discovered another news item in the Seattle newspaper about a high school Wolverine team that has been dominating teams in your area just like we've been dominating the Spartans of late. You must have skunk bear nightmares every night.

CARINE--I've yet to take a cruise. As a gotta go, gotta do kinda guy, I feel like I'd be constrained somehow. And I like quieter, if less exciting, vacation venues.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That poor guy. Glad you made it into your hotel though. :o)

Wine is my drink of choice, so the family and I sometimes visit wineries when we're on vacation.

Looks like you're having a great time!


9:23 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

First his wife made the reservation, then the secretary. Hmm...funny business going on there?

I love the sampler trays, too. I usually stay away from the darker beers, I'm not a big fan of the heavy stuff.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

Oh, yeah....don't call my wife... she doesn't know I am spending time in a hotel with my secretary and I'm too stupid to look for my secretary's name on the reservation. Sheesh! You mean we old ladies have to keep an eye on our white haired dudes?

2:34 PM  
Blogger Nankin said...

I prefer to think that the guy was at the wrong hotel, but I'm probably just an idealist.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

Wrong date for the reservation?

When I was visiting my daughter in FL, we did our own beer tasting party. We got a series of shot glasses and other small glasses and went to town, trying to determine which of the many flavors we liked. Fun! But we didn't have that Miner Burger. :(

5:38 PM  
Blogger Armen Cyrus (GRN) said...

This is great and also very interesting post, i think without beer the party is incomplete. I love to have beer...
travel and vacation

2:20 AM  
OpenID caroldee said...

HI. made me think it was the wrong place if all those things in the reservation were missing. SoMEONE screwed up. don't know who though.. hehe Hope you have a great week. : )

9:53 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

DEB--After our vacation, we stopped at a cider mill and bought some fruit wines--cherry, peach, blueberry and pear. Haven't opened any yet.

FRED--Wendy and I wondered what the wife thought about the secretary making the reservation. And that the reservation turned out to be in the secretary's name (that's why the desk clerk couldn't find it).

KACEY--Good call, Kacey. The man didn't even think the reservation might be there under his secretary's name. It was the front desk clerk that suggested that connection.

LYNILU--No, right hotel, wrong name. The reservation was under the secretary's name.

ARMEN--Another spammer, eh. One more and I'll delete you all.

CAROLDEE--I wonder who did screw up--the secretary who put the reservatio in her name? The person who took the reservation who didn't get the name of the boss? Or the boss himself for not being aware of what was going on?

5:25 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave - Sorry that our hurricane spiked your gas prices. It's kind of funny, our prices went down. We are paying $ 3.39 a gallon right now. Prices that go down are my favorite kind of

I am glad that you and Wendy had a good time on your trip...I don't drink so beer is not my thing.

Why in the world would a secretary make a reservation in her own name? Is this woman a blond? Sorry ladies, but this sounds like a blond joke. If the wife confirmed the reservation, in the morning, then she knew it was made by the secretary. Too bad the two women didn't tell the man.....

A friend of mine just told me that she is moving to Michigan to help run a bed and breakfast up there. She will be leaving at the end of October and she is really excited. I'll have to find out more about it and let you know.

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:27 PM  

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