Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Test Run

Kareem and I have decided to give visiting Sarasota a test run tomorrow. Anna, our planner, has given us some really great ideas on rehersal dinner locations, hotels, and the like in the area. We figure that heading down there is the only way to really get acquainted with the area. So tomorrow night, we will head down to Sarasota for the night to see what we can see. Of course, some dining out, beach time, and just plain ol' relaxing are in order as well.

There are two really prime hotels in the Sarasota area. The Ritz Carlton and the Hyatt Regency. Of course, our first inclination was to stay at the Ritz for our wedding night. However, Anna told us that the Hyatt Regency is really hip and that alot of brides prefer it because they have large suites, some with two floors. When Kareem suggested heading down there for a night, the idea of test running this hotel seemed perfect! So tomorrow we will stay at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. Here are some pictures!

Check out more great photos and information about this hotel on
If you know me at all, then you know I love to travel. Not only do I love to travel but I love to find great deals. Priceline has always been one of my favorite tools for travel planning. I used to work in a hotel and got an awesome employee discount. Ever since, I HATE paying full price for hotel rooms. It is just one of those things. : )
Priceline didn't fail me for tomorrow's Sarasota trip. Rooms were being listed at $199. My priceline deal?? $99.00!!! Pretty cool huh? Of course, Priceline is not always an option. It works best for areas that have a lot of competition. For instance, I almost always stay at 4 star hotels in the Orlando area. The reason? There is so much competition, even on the 4 star level in Orlando. From my memory (I haven't worked at a hotel in 5 or 6 years), the hotels take a certain percentage of their inventory and offer it to Priceline for them to sell at no lower than a certain rate. When you go on Priceline, you bid on a room within a specific area of town and certain star level. For instance if you bid for a 3 star in the downtown area, Priceline looks at all the arrangements they have with 3 star hotels within that area and evaluate if they can honor your price. There are several catches for you as the purchaser; 1) you don't select you exact hotel - you just narrow it down by star level, location, and price 2) once you purchase, you are pretty much stuck, with some exceptions 3) you might have gotten a better deal if you bid lower - there is no way to know. So say you bid $69.00 on that 3 star in the downtown area; you might have gotten it at "Hotel A". But maybe you wanted "Hotel B" or maybe "Hotel A" would have accepted $59.00. Your stuck with "Hotel A" at $69.00.
I have made some tried and true rules for using Priceline. 1) I always do research on the hotels within the location I want to stay at first, noting their prices 2) I never bid on a star level lower than 3, this is really just because I am particular about hotels and usually can find a good deal without going any lower 3) I take into consideration the likeliness of them accepting my bid. This third rule relates to another drawback of Priceline. If your bid is denied, you must modify your search to another star level or location before being able to bid again. If you want to present the exact same bid but for more money, you have to wait 24 hours. If I don't have time to wait, I may be more incline to make at 60% - 70% the first time.
So those are my thoughts on Priceline. If you want to check it out visit
Ok, so how does all that relate to the wedding blog?? Well, you might just want to use it when visiting Sarasota for our wedding. We are currently working on room blocks and will have that information soon. However, you might be interested in staying near the beach or up in St. Pete or Tampa areas.
So tomorrow we are off to our test run of Sarasota. I suspect I will have updates on the hotel and Sarasota in general. Check back next week!!

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