Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Three Dot Coms You Shouldn't Live without

I have been using this one for a couple of years now to make reservations in New York, and all over the US (LA, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, San Francisco, Chicago, Hawaii, Virginia, Florida, etc.) when I am travelling, and I have racked up about $300 in certificates that I can use in any restaurant that accepts reservations through opentable. Opentable is a great tool for finding amazing restaurants in your own or an unfamiliar city. You will find hidden gems as well as top gastronomical choices. Opentable has never let me down. Not only can you make your reservations through opentable, but most of the restaurants are rated and reviewed. One of the reviewers is Gayot; a Gayot rating of 14 or above guarantees an exceptional dining experience. Michelin Guide Stars are also included, and you know if it has a star, the food is exemplar-y.

When my apartment was being renovated and I needed someplace to stay with my family for one night, I called quikbook. Not only were they able to get me a reservation for that evening, but the rate was unbelievable; it was lower than the employee rate for staying at that hotel (I only know that because I knew someone working for the company, and she was shocked at the rate I got through quikbook).

When you are travelling to a city in the US, quikbook is a great resource. Most times, the rates are lower than those quoted by the hotels directly. That being said, after booking on quikbook, I always go to the hotel's website directly to make sure there are no lower rates or special packages. Once on a hotel's website, I found a lower rate if the whole amount was paid at the time of making the reservation (the payment was non-refundable). And quikbook makes a situation like this very easy with its liberal cancellation policies. With one phone call or an email, everything was/is taken care of.

Another great quikbook feature is that it sends you emails about special hotel rates. Once I had already made a reservation through quikbook, and then an email later came with a lower rate for that hotel. I called the hotel to see if they would accept this lower rate, and they did. I never would have known about the newer, lower rate if it wasn't for quikbook.

On quikbook, there is a partner site, Hotel Marketplace, which includes more cities in the US and international destinations, and has different choices usually at lower rates because of pre-payment requirements and stricter cancellation policies. Hotel Marketplace has never worked for me, but it can be a source for getting an idea of hotel rates overseas.

Teri Agins, Fashion Reporter for the Wall Street Journal, passed this recommendation along to me, and swears by it. You enter the categories from which you would like to shop along with the types of clothing and/or accessories, your sizes and designers of choice. Shop it to me sends you an email (from daily to weekly, your choice) when items meeting those criteria are on sale. What could be better than your own private shopping spy?

Well, actually four; we can't forget KromStyle.com!

U r 24K!


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