Election Day is right around the corner, and a handful of Sonoma and Mendocino county hotels are offering registered voters the incentive of deep discounts to drive traffic to area ballot boxes and, subsequently, to their premises.
Specifically, voters in the midterm elections can piece together a multi-night Mendocino vacation at various hotels for an average of 20 percent off regular rates.
Hoteliers aren’t tying discounts to how people vote; they just want to encourage voting.
“My eighth-grade government teacher had a poster on her wall that read, ‘Bad politicians are elected by good citizens that do not vote,’” says Cally Dym, owner of Little River Inn, a 66-room hotel on the Mendocino County coast. “That has always stuck with me and I don’t think any of us has a right to complain if we don’t take action ourselves.”
Dym and her husband Marc are leading the discount charge, offering 25 percent off new reservations at the highest rack rates through the end of the year.
To obtain this rate, guests must book online at the inn’s website directly (and not through an online travel agent), they must type “IVOTED” into the notes section at the end of the booking process, and they must show proof of voting at the time of check-in.
Further up the coast, in Mendocino proper, the 11-room Brewery Gulch Inn is offering a discount of 15 percent on new bookings through Feb. 28 if guests show a voting stub at check-in.
Owner Guy Pacurar says “anything to get people more involved in democracy” is a good idea.
“When you look at numbers for voter turnout, it’s pretty embarrassing,” he says, referring to the 20-year low in nationwide voter turnout during the 2016 election. “If the promise of saving some money on a room at our inn for the weekend will inspire someone to get out and take 30 minutes to vote, we’ll gladly extend the offer to anyone and everyone who goes and makes it happen.”
Hotels in Sonoma County are getting in on the voting discount game, too.
The Astro Motel in Santa Rosa is offering 15 percent off reservations between Election Day and April 30, 2019, for guests who post selfies to Instagram with their “I voted” stickers and tag the Astro’s Instagram handle, @theastromotel. Guests seeking the discounted rate must also book on the hotel’s website, use the promo code VOTED2018, and show their selfies at check-in.
At the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, voters will get 10 percent off bookings through the end of the year, as well as 10 percent off meals at the inn’s Michelin-starred restaurant.
“Now more than ever it’s critically important to vote,” says Managing Partner Joe Bartolomei, who notes that the restaurant discounts apply to food only and are valid on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday nights. “We can’t be complacent. We have to stand up for what we believe in.”
Bartolomei noted that the discounts also apply to snacks and meals from FARMSTAND, a more casual, farm-to-fork dining option that opened at the inn this summer and rolled out a new winter menu this week.
“Midterm elections often have a low turnout, and our current political discourse has done nothing if not raise the awareness of our civic responsibilities,” he says. “This little discount will hopefully be a small carrot to someone who may not otherwise vote. Voting is our best way to get involved, and I support anyone who takes the time to get involved.”
Dixon is offering voters 20 percent off the highest rack rates at both properties through the end of 2018.