prices at the pump continue to creep upward, a growing number of
hotels that are heavily dependent on customers who drive have begun
subsidizing the cost of gasoline.
While not a new
idea, the need seems more urgent this season as prices push to
Nearly 200 inns and
B&Bs, members of BedAndBreakfast.com, are participating in the
networks Tanks a Lot promotion by providing gas cards, credits or
other schemes for subsidizing fuel costs.
As of this month,
the typical subsidy ranged from $25 to $50, though a few were as
high as $80.
offered for varying time periods. Some offers end as early as June
30; others run through the year, but those generally require
weekday stays and black out holidays.
is an online directory and reservations network, listing more than
6,000 B&Bs and inns in the U.S. and abroad.
Mayne said the network introduced Tanks a Lot two years ago, with
June start dates in 2004 and 2005. However, members started rolling
out their gas offers in April this year because of skyrocketing gas
prices, she said.
Mayne said members,
who were concerned that people wouldnt travel, responded with
rebate plans when travelers became vocal about gas
She added that she
frequently hears from members that, based on guest comments, this
is their most successful promotion.
One of the best
offers can wind up rewarding owners of gas guzzlers. Historic Inns
of Rockland, Maine, promotes
Drive Mean to Save Green, a two-night midweek package, valid
through July, that offers a choice of three inns and pays, in gas
money, $10 per cylinder in the guests car, up to eight
The same group of
Maine inns rewards carpooling with a $50 gas card when two or more
couples travel in one car and stay two weeknights.
When gas prices
spiked this spring, the Rabbit Hill Inn of Lower Waterford, Vt.,
offered through June a straight $25 room credit per night with no
cap, said co-owner Brian Mulcahy.
Rabbit Hill also
offers a two-night Carpool Getaway Special, available to at least
two couples traveling together through Sept. 14, priced to yield
savings of up to $130 per couple.
BedandBreakfast.com members supplement gas subsidies with other
car-related services. Coppertop Lodge and Retreat Center in Hebron,
N.H., is one of the most ambitious B&Bs, offering through
October a car wash, wax, detailing, rim polish, oil change, on-lift
safety check plus up to $30 in gas with a four-night, midweek
Barr Ranch Retreat
in Odessa, Texas, offers a $25 cash rebate through July for those
staying two nights. An ironic twist: The visit includes a guided
tour of drilling operations on the ranch.
International, specialists in vacation home rentals, is promoting
the Gas Up and Go package for its 17,000 properties in the U.S. and
Canada through 2006.
Guests who drive to
their rentals will be reimbursed up to $50 for gas purchased during
the week before or up to a week after leaving a ResortQuest site,
at any gas station in either country.
gas rebates were initiated in 2004, said Kristina Jonathan,
director of marketing and Internet strategy. She said they were
created to boost drive-in business in the West as gas prices began
Those early efforts
were so successful that the company created a national program that
launched in October. Benefiting from national marketing, Gas Up and
Go is even more successful by an order of magnitude, Jonathan
A selection of
hotel groups and individual properties have introduced gas
subsidies, as well.
The 95-unit Eagle
Mountain House in Jackson, N.H., offers up to $75 based on miles
driven. Guests receive a credit on charges at checkout equal to 10
cents per mile for a one-night stay and 15 cents per mile for two
or more nights, based on roundtrip mileage from home to the hotel,
(the maximum is 500 miles). The offer applies to bookings made
before June 30 for travel by Sept. 21.
300 miles and staying two nights at Eagle Mountain would receive a
$45 credit. If the guests vehicle achieved 15 miles per gallon, the
credit would amount to a $2.25-per-gallon rebate.
Our guests may be
having second thoughts about going away on a summer vacation this
year, said general manager Jerry Jacobson. The lodging industrys
summer business will be impacted by high energy prices. Something
has to be done.
program, he said, takes into account that some guests travel
greater distances than others, and that the value of the program
increases dramatically for those driving fuel-efficient
The Eldorado Hotel
& Spa in Santa Fe, N.M., meanwhile, relaunched its Santa Fe Gas
Rebate, a $50 credit for minimum weekday stays of at least two
nights through July 31.
guests must present a dated gas receipt that corresponds with the
date of check-in. The gas can be purchased locally or at home. The
property began giving gas rebates last summer.
All three Gaylord
Hotels properties are providing a $25-per-day room credit for
minimum two-night stays through Sept. 10 to help offset the high
cost of filling up, the group said.
travelers want a helping hand, said John Caparella, chief operating
officer of Gaylord Hotels.
The offer is good
at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville;
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Fla.;
and the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine,
Gaylord Hotels is owned by Gaylord Entertainment.
contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine
Godwin at [email protected].