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Niagara Falls Discounts – How to Find Great Deals During Your Vacation

It doesn’t matter which tourism hot spot you travel to in the world, everyone wants to find the best deals and rates during their trip to help make the vacation a little easier on the pocket book.

More than 11 million people visit Niagara Falls every year and out of those, millions stay in local hotels for several days, take many tours of landmarks and also ride on the numerous attractions in the area. If these visitors time their vacations for the right time and look in just the right places, they may be able to take advantage of special deals and discounts available to them.

Below I have listed some of the more popular ways to find great deals during your visit to Niagara Falls.

Off Season Discount: Niagara Falls is a year round destination. There are many things to do and see in every season and although tourism is greatest in the Summer months, there are still a significant number of visitors during the other months.

Many establishments such as restaurants, hotels and attractions see the number of visitors traveling to the Falls in the off season months and have decided to remain open year round and offer lower rates instead of closing down for the winter.

This is great news for anyone traveling to Niagara Falls during the Fall, Winter and Spring months. When booking your trip through a hotel website, many will have their winter pricing already included in the pricing. For the restaurants, it is a good idea to call ahead and ask what deals they are offering and make reservations. Some places may not offer any specific deals for off season but instead create an entire menu with the lower prices listed. The same thing goes for the attractions in the city.

Attractions Pass: For quite some time now, the Niagara Parks Commission, the company that runs many of the attractions in Niagara Falls, has offered what is called the Adventure Pass. There are two passes actually, one for the winter and one for the summer and both offer a great deal on several Niagara Parks Attractions.

  • The winter Pass: The winter pass will allow visitors instant access to Niagara’s Fury, the Butterfly Conservatory and the Journey Behind the Falls. This pass will save adults a little over 20 dollars and children will be 11 dollars cheaper.
  • The Summer Adventure Pass: With more attractions open to the public in the summer this pass is even better, offering greater deals on more things such as the Maid of the Mist, the Whirlpool Aero Car, Journey behind the falls and Butterfly Conservatory. The savings are comparable to the winter pass.

Hotel Deals: If you are planning to stay in a hotel during your visit you may want to shop around and see which ones are offering the best deals. Most will offer a package of some sort but the price of the package and what it offers is going to depend on the hotel you choose.

Most hotels will offer lower rates during the Fall and Winter months, some even drop their prices by as much as $200 compared to their peak season.

Other offers include free parking, free or discounted dinners, free shows like the Greg Frewin Magic show or the “Oh Canada Eh!” dinner theatre and show. Other hotels affiliated with the Fallsview Casino Resort may offer Guest pick up services and even casino gaming tokens as an incentive to stay.

These deals are not always advertised on their sites and can only be taken advantage of if you call the hotel directly and ask.

Local Rates: This is something that is never advertised but many in the area know about. The so called local rates are a small way of the various hotels, restaurants and attractions to give back to the community that they are located in. With it, local residents can often see an attraction, eat at a restaurant and even stay at a hotel if they want for slightly lower than normal rates. These rates don’t usually apply during the absolute peak season but are generally a great way to see and do things in the Falls for a cheaper rate.

If you know someone who lives in the Niagara area they may be able to help you get into some of the attractions as discounted rates as long as you don’t travel at peak times and there isn’t more than 4 or five of you at a time.

Visitor Center: A great way to find deals in Niagara Falls is to visit one of the Visitor Centers provided. Here you will be able to speak with a person knowledgeable about the area and you will also be able to find many time sensitive coupons or deals for various restaurants and attractions. Many deals are only good for the specific days that you are visiting and therefore a visit to one of these centers will give you the best access to these deals.

Remember to have fun. The object to visiting a new place for the first time is to take in the experience and enjoy being in a place you have never been to before. If you don’t manage to find a deal on every attraction or restaurant you visit, don’t sweat it, you are still going to have a ball and gain memories that will last you a lifetime. Enjoy!

Elements of a Strong Corporate Travel Program

In order to make the most of your corporate travel budget, it is critical to plan for leveraging your program for all it is worth. Telling travelers to select the lowest logical airfare is just not enough. Here are the elements that should be considered when planning or evaluating your travel program.

1. Travel policy

A well written and disseminated travel policy is the foundation of any good travel program, and I am consistently amazed that so many corporations have such an outdated and poorly conceived travel policy, if they have one at all. It is not difficult to find a well written policy. One can be found online quite easily. All that remains is that it is edited to reflect corporate culture, and disseminated within the company so that everyone understands and agrees to follow it. For this reason, it is a good idea to have everyone sign a copy of the travel policy to ensure that it is read, understood and owned by all company staff. I suggest that everyone in the company signs a copy of the travel policy, whether they travel or not. They may change positions in the company later and be required to travel. A travel policy need not be long or complex. Some of the best travel policies I have ever seen were only a few pages long.

2. Centralized travel internally and externally

Many companies do not centralize their travel program, and they pay a price in terms of a loss of expense reduction opportunities and internal efficiencies. Many companies that do not centralize travel have a fear of requiring travelers to do something they may not want to do, along with the idea that centralizing travel will require hiring a Travel Manager. Both of these may be legitimate concerns but they do not have to be in most cases. By requiring travelers to book centrally, you are not necessarily causing them to lose flexibility. You can centralize travel while still allowing travelers to book on their own, either with a travel agency of your choice, or online through a provider that you have partnered with and have confidence in. By assigning someone with the responsibility of overseeing travel, you are getting a single point of contact both internally and externally for travel issues. If your company spends less than $1 million in air travel, you probably do not need a full time travel manager. In these cases, travel oversight can be given to the finance department, human resources, or even an executive level assistant. Here is a look at the advantages to be gained by centralizing travel.

When you centralize travel with a single agency, you gain in a number of important ways. You will have a single point of contact for problems while travelers are on the road, and you will have one entity to go to for all your travel needs. This eliminates the problem of consolidating a travel report from among several sources. By bringing travel together, you will gain significantly from economies of scale. If you can measure total travel among various divisions or locations, you can get more for your money from travel suppliers. This will allow you to gain more from airline soft dollar programs, which means more free tickets and upgrades, get a higher percentage discount from our preferred airline, and get better negotiated rates from your hotel and car contracts. Your fulfillment costs will decrease as well, as your travel agency will often discount their fees for a higher overall volume of travel.

3. Mix of online booking and personal service

This is an addendum to the previous element, which calls for centralizing travel with one travel agency. This is important, but in doing so, you need not require travelers to use an online booking system, and you need not require travelers to call the agency directly. By offering travelers the option of doing either, you are accomplishing several goals. You will reduce your fulfillment costs, as online booking is cheaper in terms of a service fee. By giving travelers the option, you are giving them a sense of control, thereby increasing morale and standing a better chance of a high adoption rate. Thirdly, you leave open a best practice of using your online booking engine for less complex itineraries, and allowing senior executives, frequent travelers, and complex itineraries to be booked directly with a travel agent that can offer a higher level of service and a better overall travel experience where it is most warranted.

4. Look under every stone

While the bulk of most travel programs revolve around the air budget, there are several other areas one can investigate to find savings opportunities. There are a couple of more obvious areas to look, such as negotiated hotel rates at your favorite hotels, or car rental discounts with a favored supplier. Often your travel agency will already have discounted rates through consortia affiliations and agency car contracts. There are also some less common areas that should be investigated. For example, if ground transportation is a concern, most suppliers will offer discounted rates and a direct billing option. Direct billing arrangements with hotels and car rental agencies are also a great way to increase efficiencies and make the job of the accounting department easier.

5. Leverage hard dollar and soft dollar contracts

Most major airlines today offer hard dollar discounts as well as soft dollar incentives in exchange for company loyalty to their product. If your travel program is over $1 million in air spend, you can secure a discount off of the lowest fares of your carrier of choice in return for a market share commitment. For your secondary carriers, or if your volume is less than the minimum required by the airline, you can enter in to soft dollar programs for free tickets and free upgrades, as well as traveler status enhancements or airport club passes. These programs require little in the way of volume, but they are not well publicized so you may need to hunt for them or ask Baker Travel or your current agency to point you in the right direction.

6. Do not neglect hotel volume

Hotel volume is sometimes overlooked but it should not be. Negotiated rates can be had through your travel agency or directly with the hotel properties of your choice. Individual hotels near corporate locations will negotiate discounted rates for you in exchange for a minimum room/night commitment. By utilizing a travel agency, you are likely to receive discounts of 5% to 50% on thousands of hotels worldwide.

7. Have at least one car rental contract

Rental car contracts are easy to enter into and require little in the way of commitment from the corporation. Choose a partner that has airport locations and a reputation for excellent customer service. You can save 5-10% very easily and can also negotiate frequent renter membership for all your employees. This will make them more efficient and enhance morale. You can also enter in to direct billing agreements at the same time that can make the jobs of your travelers and accounting staff much less stressful.

8. Understand group and meeting contracts

Airlines and hotels will discount your fares and rates when you have groups traveling together or meeting at a single destination from multiple points of origin. These meeting contracts can bring you airfare discounts of 2-10%, and if you have enough travelers on a single airline, you may be able to negotiate for free tickets to be awarded at contract completion. The minimum requirement is usually 10 travelers going to the same place at the same time. Some airlines have higher minimums so be sure to ask before a contract is generated. Hotels will discount their rates in a similar way with a minimum of 10 room nights. These discounts can range from 10% to a much higher discount depending upon occupancy rate and seasonal variances.

9. Use reporting to consistently improve metrics

Well managed travel programs require constant monitoring and financial controls to be properly leveraged. Insist on timely and customized reports that can be designed to bring you the information you need most. By receiving regular reporting on traveler behavior and provider contract performance, you will be in a better position to fulfill contract obligations, achieve cost reduction objectives and see where opportunities for future savings may lie.

10. Use all avenues to enhance traveler comfort and efficiency

Lastly, any well managed travel program will take in to account the comfort and productivity of their travelers. When travelers are comfortable, they can focus on their main priorities that help propel your business forward. If travelers are happy, they perform at a higher level. Ask if your travel agency can upgrade traveler status on a preferred airline. Look in to purchasing blocks of airport club passes so they can be used strategically during long and complex itineraries. There are many ways to reward travelers for the difficult and often grueling chore of travel. These kinds of rewards generate feelings of loyalty and increased productivity and efficiency.

If you would like to learn more about how your company can better leverage their travel program to benefit your bottom line and the satisfaction of your executive level, feel free to contact me. I am delighted to point you in the right direction.

Aspen Discount Lift Tickets – Read What The Ski Resorts Don’t Want You to Know

First of all, the best thing about buying discount lift tickets for skiing at Aspen is that it’s a 4 in 1 deal. When you purchase ski deals for Aspen, Colorado, you receive the advantage of being able to use that same ticket at any of the Aspen Skiing Company’s suite of ski resorts. These include Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Highlands and Snowmass.

Whatever you do, don’t show up at the ticket counter at any of the resorts and expect to purchase discount rates for ski and lift tickets. In order to save money on your Aspen ski vacation, you need to purchase your tickets in advance online, or through our Aspen Travel site. In some cases, you can save 10% – 30% on Aspen lift tickets. One of the most popular ways to save money on lift tickets is to bundle it with Aspen lodging. If you know your coming to Aspen, Colorado for 3+ days and are going to be skiing for the majority of your vacation, you can purchase 3 days of lodging and get 1 night free as well as free lift tickets. This is the most common way to save money on ski vacations to Aspen, but this special differs between lodging companies, and is valid at off-peak seasons.

Another way to get ski ticket deals for skiing and snowboarding in Aspen is to stop by King Soopers or Safeway in Denver or Colorado Springs. Often times, they have rates that are better than ticket counter prices. The advantage to this is you don’t have to wait in lift ticket lines.

If you’re the kind of person that likes to have everything sorted out before you get to your vacation destination, simply purchase your lift tickets online. We hope you save money on your Aspen vacation, but the most important part of experiencing this mountain town is relaxing and having fun! Good luck planning your Aspen Trip!