Home Inn has become my budget hotel of choice when traveling around China. I own a Home Inn member card (40 RMB), which gets me a discount of about 7.5% at any of their hotels. They have an excellent reservation system: When I call from my mobile, they have my name and other reservation information already pulled up on the computer. As soon as I hang up the phone, I get a text message with the price, reservation dates and hotel address.
The Jiaodaokou Branch in Beijing is also the place I recommend to visiting friends and family who are paying their own way and just need a clean, quiet room and nothing fancy. I’m signed up there for a company discount of 10% – anyone I make the reservation for simply shows the front desk my business card and gets the discount.
Occasionally the staff will walk over to our office and hand deliver a brochure with special offers. Today they brought me one with special “discounts” for the Olympics. Below are the various prices for a standard room (with two beds, each one somewhere between a twin and a double in size):
- Normal price: 239 RMB
- With member card: 221 RMB
- With company discount: 215 RMB
And here are the “company discount” prices around the Olympics:
- August 1-4: 448 RMB
- August 5-25: 640 RMB
- August 26-31: 448 RMB
When I asked why the “discount” prices were so much higher than the regular prices, I was told that the normal price during this period is 900 RMB.
One reason I like Home Inn is that, unlike almost all other Chinese hotels, they don’t artificially inflate their prices and force every single guest to bargain. But it looks like Olympic fever has led them to succumb to temptation and jack up their rates–then turn around and immediately offer half off to their regular customers.
I wasn’t surprised when the stories started coming out a few months back about how Beijing’s hotels weren’t filling up as quickly as expected. But Home Inns often fill up during normal times, I assumed that they would have no problems in August 2008. It was therefore was a bit surprising to get a flyer offering discounts for the entire month and for several different room types. The opening ceremonies are just three weeks away! Makes one wonder about the hordes of Chinese tourists that are expected to descend upon Beijing. Maybe they’re all going to crowd into friends’ and relatives’ apartments–or maybe they, like many foreign tourists, are simply going to stay home.