You’ve just arrived in town, and a major convention has the hotel rooms booked. Don’t despair. Toll-free reservation hotlines, often recommended by city convention and visitors bureaus, can find you a low-cost room. California Reservations (800-5760003; www.calres. com) promises savings up to 50% off room rates at hotels in California, Seattle and Portland. “The average saving is about 30%,” says owner Mari Zatman. In New York, there’s Housing On-line (800-915-9931). The San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau recommends its Leisure Reservation Service (888-STAY-N-SF). There’s also the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau (800-393-8559), a 24-hour service. In Palm Springs, California, there’s the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Reservation Hotline (800-41- RELAX). Going to the U.K.? Thistle Hotels’ Business Plus Programs (800-847-4358) guarantees an executive room at participating hotels with just 24 hours notice.
Here’s how the services work: hotels join up with these firms and may provide a block of rooms. The room rates may be more or less than the actual hotel room rate, so check with the hotels of your choice first.