Hotels offer gas rebates amid record prices

Hoping to tempt tapped-out travelers to hit the road this summer, the travel industry is offering fuel rebates and dining vouchers.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney.com staff writer

Photos
America's Money: In their own words America's Money: In their own words America's Money: In their own words
Everyday folks tell their stories about hard economic times. Check back frequently for new stories.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gas prices hit another all-time high of $3.50 a gallon - and that's bad news for businesses that rely on the summer travel season.

Many hotels and inn keepers hope to lure recession-weary customers out of their homes and onto the road this vacation season by offering discounts on gas and food.

The conference and visitor bureau in Costa Mesa, Calif., home to popular Southern California beaches and Disneyland, is offering a $25 gas or airfare rebate for travelers staying at select Orange County hotels, plus a food voucher worth $25 per night, through its "Drive and dine on us" program.

"Everybody's looking for the most value for their dollar, and this is cash in their pocket," said Dan Pittman, a spokesman for the visitor bureau.

Pittman said the program has been running for the last two years, and that last year over 1,300 people took the bureau up on the offer.

Driving season pain

In New Hampshire, the state visitor's bureau has a whole page of "gas saving offers" on its Web site.

They include a gas credit of as much as $50 for drivers headed to the The Highlands Inn in Bethlehem - 25 cents a mile or 30 cents a mile if you drive a hybrid.

And The Inn at Mill Falls in Meredith is offering a gas voucher of $20 per night, good at the local Meredith Mobil station.

The New York State hospitality association is organizing hotels that offer one free night of lodging when two nights are booked.

"One of the reasons people came up with this is because of the high gas prices," said Mark Dorr, a spokesman for the association. "People don't want to drive far from home."

Most hotel chains aren't offering similar discounts - calls to the Marriott (MAR, Fortune 500) and Hilton didn't reveal any special programs.

A spokesman for Choice Hotels, which has over 4,000 properties across the country, said the chain is considering offering customers a $50 gas card after three separate stays - an offer the chain made last year.

Hotels.com also might offer the same discount it did last year - a gas rebate of $30 for any stay of two days or more.

"The fact that we have seen hotels use these things in the past means they must be at least moderately successful," said Mike Pina, a spokesman for the motorist organization AAA.

Expect to see more discounts and rebates as the weather gets warmer. Most will likely come from mom-and-pop operations, like the Arlington Inn in southern Vermont.

Nestled in the state's Green Mountains, and offering hiking, fishing, antiquing and other country diversions, the inn is giving a $25 gas card to visitors who stay during the week.

This is the second year the inn has offered gas cards to attract visitors, most of whom drive from New York, Boston, Montreal and other smaller cities through out the region, said assistant innkeeper Cheryl Write.

She expects at least a few dozen people will take advantage of it this year.

"It's just a nice little incentive to get people to come up," she said.

Issue #1 - America's Money: All this week at noon ET, CNN explains how the weakening economy affects you. Full coverage.

How is the economy affecting your everyday life? Tell us about how your money situation has changed - or stayed the same - in the last few months. What's your biggest economic worry? Send us your photos and videos, or email us and share your story.  To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
The 7 most searched stocks The bull market hit some turbulence in September, but that didn't stop these stocks from generating lots of interest from investors. More
Here are the 20 most ticketed cars in America The racy Subaru WRX tops the list, but some of the other ticket magnets will surprise you. More
Lamborghini to unveil 910 horsepower plug-in hybrid The Lamborghini Asterion concept car will have a V10 engine and three electric motors. More


Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.