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The Tale of Two Bookings

For the first time on an extended road trip (longer than a day, shorter than a week), I did something that I thought was reserved just for the unplanned and spontaneous. I traveled without reservations for half my trip. Traveling in the off-season (autumn or spring) to places usually visited in the summer does offer some travel discounts on the basis of supply and demand.

I planned to end day 1 of the road trip at Forks since it was at the midpoint of two places where I wanted to see the next day: the Cape Flattery lighthouse at Neah Bay and the Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic Nat'l Forest. I booked a room at the Forks Motel in downtown Forks, mostly because it was the only non-Twilight-themed lodging place that had rooms available on a Saturday. Their online reservation system was easy to use and even sent me an email confirmation immediately after booking. When I got to the motel to check-in, the front desk already had my key ready. Checking out was just as easy. I'd say that for such a low-key motel that attracts a lot more fishermen (this season it's coho salmon), it did a lot of things right for customer retention. When I filled out the guest comment card, I only put my room number on it. What I didn't expect was a personalized note from their guest services manager thanking me for choosing their motel:
This is the first motel where I received a personalized response by email. It's awesome. Sure makes me want to stay with them again. 

When I drove further along my mostly planned route to Lake Quinault, it was already dusk. I had a few options available for Sunday night's lodging. Lake Quinault Inn was on the other side of the lake and had no cars in its parking lot. How safe would you think a woman would feel booking there. That one got skipped. The parking lot at Lake Quinault Lodge was decently full. A cashier at a local grill recommended the Rain Forest Village Resort for its more reasonable prices.  It's a fancy name for an inn with motel-styled rooms. It was apparent after getting my room key here that it was the sort of place one goes to escape from the city and possibly the summer heat. The room itself was designed to let air in and didn't have a heater. It was cold and brisk indoors. As for the other standard amenities that resorts are supposed to have? This place had none, not even have a telephone nor an alarm clock radio. It did, however, have a mostly working TV that received four local stations. Good thing I packed a library book. For the most part, it was on par with the Forks Motel; except the customer retention part. Maybe it's an oversight, or maybe it's because there are very few lodge-styled places next to the lake.
Who needs amenities with a view like this?
Would I stay at the Forks Motel again? You bet. Not only is it inexpensive, it satisfied every requirement I had in a motel room. I travel a lot domestically and internationally, and the amenities, however insignificant they might be, are worth a lot to a tired traveler. The Rain Forest Village Resort? Don't know. There are other lodging options I would check out if I'm in the area again. Also, this isn't based on price. The two lodgings were equally priced and both were in desirable vacation locales.
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