Results of the survey, which gauged the experiences of more than 55,600 Consumer Reports subscribers who stayed at hotels during 1996 and early 1997, were also used to rate 46 chains categorized by room price, level of services, and readers' impressions of luxuriousness. A critical survey finding, as reported in the magazine's June issue: Most readers were very well pleased overall with their hotel experiences. Only about one in eight voiced dissatisfaction, and that was usually on the mild side - things like poor room lighting or lack of steam irons.
Other survey findings from the June issue of Consumer Reports: Almost one-third of the magazine's survey respondents said they dickered for a better rate than what the hotel offered, and three-fourths of them were successful. Most saved from $5 to $25 a night. Even in areas where the demand for hotel rooms often outstrips supply (such as New York City), it still may be possible to get a discount, Consumer Reports says.
In its June issue, the magazine offers 10 tips on how to find that bargain. One tactic: Call the hotel directly. Local staff may have more discretion in setting rates, and may be more knowledgeable about promotions, than the people who answer the chain's toll-free phones.
In its ratings of hotel chains, the magazine identifies the following as among the best in their categories. (The room-price range is the typical range paid by readers):
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Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union, an independent, nonprofit testing and information - gathering organization, serving only the consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health, nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public, and protect consumers.