"We recognize that our potential customers may not have the discretionary vacation dollars that were perhaps available previously; during our traditional 'off and shoulder' seasons we've created value-added packages that allow them to take a vacation that might not have been available otherwise," said Max Roth, the hotel's director of sales and marketing. "This 'Dollar for Dollar' offer, for example, allows a family to extend their available funds by incorporating a credit for their meals; breakfast, lunch, dinner and their choice of beverages."
Roth added that it also helps to keep the hotel's staff employed during this downturn.
Florida might be a place for the elderly to retire, but now those not quite ready to retire but still with a few years behind them can find a great deal at The Atlantic Hotel, a landmark luxury property on the beach in Fort Lauderdale.
The hotel's Cheers for Years package provides a food and beverage or spa credit equal to the age of the oldest guest in the room. For example, a guest age 54 will receive a credit for $54 for each night during their stay.
"Most hotels and resorts offer promotions targeted at children," Jon McGaunn, general manager of hotel, said in a statement. "The Cheers for Years package is a way for us to reward the person that, in many cases, is paying the bill."
Package rates start at $199 per room, per night, based on availability. Guests must present the driver's license of the oldest member in the party to verify the credit amount per day. The package is valid through Sept. 30.
The most mind-boggling offer comes from the luxurious Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego. The hotel is pitching its "Survivor Package," in which guests can remove amenities to lower their rate. Through Aug. 31, guest can get the package, which starts at $219 a night, including breakfast for two.
Eliminate breakfast and the rate drops to $199 a night. Cut the bar and it falls to $179. No air conditioning or heat, pay $159. Cut the pillows and the rate is just $139. For further price cuts guest can eliminate sheets, lights, linens, toiletries and finally the bed.
That's right, for $19 a night you get, well, a room. Staff will remove the mattress and headboard and leave a small tent instead.
The hope is that guests will later return and pay full price.
Sin City has suffered more than most tourist destinations and is deeply discounting rooms to lure travelers. This has been going on for nearly a year but as more and more hotel rooms enter the market, the deals are getting even better.
Anthony Curtis, publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor, says that room rates today are 40 percent lower than their peak. In July -- typically one of the slowest seasons at the desert city -- he surveyed 84 casinos and found that 60 of them had rates of $49 a night or less. That's up from 42 that had the low rates last year. Similar deals remain throughout the summer.
"If you are a real shopper and you go on the net," Curtis said, "you can get lots of ad-ons. You will get a cheap room but they will also give you 50 percent off at the spa and two-for-one on buffets and maybe show tickets. There's a lot of bundling available."
Hotels are lowering the rates, hoping that tourists will come, gamble, shop and eat.
"The best thing Vegas can do is get people here," Curtis said. "After that, nature can take its course."