Whiskey Girls
June 8th - 16th, 2013.  Now in it's 90th year!
 
Getting a Room, And Keeping It

Thinking about booking a room during bike week?  Might want to think again.  If you plan on staying anywhere near the Weirs during bike week, you better be ready for a fight.  It's you against the other 340,000 bikers, all of which want to be staying in an area less than one square mile in size.  There simply are not enough rooms within 20 miles to accommodate so many people.  So how do you get a room?

In this article, we will offer some tips, advice, and common sense we've gathered that may help you secure a room during bike week.  Getting a room is part luck and part science. Either way, it will most likely entail hours of calling and searching around, being told the same thing over and over again, and all with the possible prize of shelling out a big pile of money in the end. With that, let's begin.

If you have never stayed up here during the rally before, you're already going into this battle with your arms chopped off.  Why you ask?  Many lodging establishments will offer their previous well behaved guests the option to return, and a vast majority of them will.  This saves both parties time and effort and many of the family owned properties look forward to seeing familiar faces each year.

For starters, don't try to book years in advance, no place wants to take reservations that far out.  It's been known that a few people have attempted to place reservations two or three years in advance.  That's a long time, and you don't know what's going to happen during that period.  You could get a new job and have to move, you could get a divorce, you could lose all your money in a poker game.  The possibilities are endless. The further out the reservation is, the greater the chance is that you will cancel. No lodging establishment enjoys taking risks, especially when they know that they will be booked, regardless of whether you book with them or not. Why would they risk a hassle?

The explosive growth of the internet has led to many room seekers taking their search online.  Correspondence with lodging establishments via email is becoming a great way to do your room hunting. It allows you to always have a copy of what was sent and what the response was, unlike a phone call. It also eliminates the chance of someone calling someone at a bad time.  For example, in the winter the owner of a lodging property may not have any hired help, and so he or she takes on all phonecalls. If you call during dinner, there a good chance you'll be blown off, regardless of whether or not there is a vacancy. There is another pointer that you might want to keep in mind.  First, be careful what email address you send things from.  Whether you think it's fair or not, if you send an information request from your personal email address, which is PublicEnemy1@drugdealer.com, chances are your email is going right into the virtual trash can. It's not a secret that what people choose for their email address in some way represents what they feel their personality is, what they wish is was, or an interest they have.  If we owned a lodging property, we'd much rather rent a room to suzy@savethewhales.org. 

Although every property is different, your best chances at sneaking in a room rental would be to call around starting in February, again in March, and yet again in April.  At those times, most places will request deposits from the previous years guests.  Sometimes, a deposit is not received and that persons room is released. Just sit down with a big list of places numbers to call and make your way through them a couple of times between February and April. Your only other options entail finding a place outside of Laconia, or the Lakes Region.  Head out at least 20 miles or so, and things will slowly start to open up.  Consider staying in the White Mountains, where there are more vacancies, lower rates, and of course spectacular scenery. The commute would run around 45 minutes at the least, and it's a ride few people tire of.

Now lets say you made a phone call when the moon was aligned with Jupiter and a major solar flare erupted on the surface of the sun, you managed to get a room and you are overjoyed.  Chances are, you really want to be getting a mailing come next winter asking if you want to return, don't you?  If so, you can better your chances as being asked back by following the below tips.  Some of them seem obvious, you may take offense to some of them, but you'd be surprised how often these things happen.

Keep your room reasonably tidy.  It all boils down once again to the fact many of the establishment around here are family owned.  Your staying with the owner of the property, not buying a room from a chain corporation.  Trash your room, and to the owner, in a way it's personal.  It shows you don't respect their property and the work they put into it.

Only a few places have so many rooms that they can't keep track of who is a registered guest and who is not.  No matter how clever you are, the odds of you successfully sneaking friends into your room is nil. If you get caught, not only will you not get asked back next year, you place yourself in a position to be asked to leave, and you probably won't see a refund.

Smoking in a non smoking room is a bad idea.  It puts the lodging establishment under stress to remove the smell you left behind for the non-smoking guest who is to have your room after you leave.  Please, take our word for it when we say that, no matter how hard you try, you cannot conceal the fact that you have smoked in a room. If you think that spraying air freshener will hide it, you are mistaken. The mere sight of air freshener in a motel room is 99 percent of the time a symbol of guilt as significant as ashes on the floor. Continuing to smoke after being warned will lead to you being asked to leave, and don't expect your money back. No place will refund you for breaking their rules. That won't be your only problem. If you get kicked out during bike week, you head for home, your not likely going to find a room elsewhere.  Also remember, many property owners in the Lakes Region are well networked, poor behavior at one place will hurt in so many more ways than one. 

Bike week is a great event, follow a couple of these tips, and if you get a room, you'll likely be able to keep it.