Hotels are trying to boost travel this summer by giving guests free gas -- giving back some green.
The promotions are designed to lessen the crunch of rising gas prices. But it's really a ploy to generate some positive public relations and marketing buzz.
What is the difference is between advertising "free gas" and advertising "$50 reduction in your hotel bill"? A lot more of us writers and bloggers will write about FREE GAS than will write and blog about Hotel X is discounting its two night stay by $50.
And the free gas promotion has restrictions. Duh! Surprise.
Take Choice Hotels International. Never heard of them? They're the parent group of Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion and Cambria Suites brands.
You can get a $50 gas rebate -- if you book three different, separate visits between June 1 and August 14, and if you register for the program before your first stay, and send in the paperwork after your third stay. Wow! I'm so impressed.
Wouldn't it just be easier for Choice Hotels International to say "join our frequent guest program, stay with us three times this summer, and we'll reduce your total bill by $50". Of course it would. But who would write about that?
There's lots of ways to travel green, to save the environment, and also save the green in your wallet. Travel smarter, travel green.