The next time you are planning a business trip, vacation, or overnight stay, you might think you have to scour the internet day and night to avoid paying top dollar for a hotel room. The reason it can be so difficult to find a decent rate on a hotel room is because it is a constantly changing industry. So, if you find a decent room rate one month, you might not be able to secure the same rate the next month, or even the next week.
With the consistently fluctuating hotel industry, it can be difficult to stay overnight without paying an arm and a leg. Fortunately, some tips and tricks can help you know when to book, where to find the hidden discounts, and where the best deals are.
But, with all the discount sites, hotel advertisements, and television commercials, how do you know who is offering you a good deal? To help you find a hotel room that won’t break the bank, we have included a few tips and tricks, and a few ways in which you can really find the lowest hotel rates.
Call the Hotel Itself
Sometimes, the best way to sniff out a good deal is to go directly to the source. Although there are plenty of good discount sites out there, many times, the hotel will match or beat any rates that you have found online. The only way to know, is to call in person and ask the hotel directly if they can beat any prices that you have found online.
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Check in Near the End of the Day
At the end of the day, most hotels have a better grasp on occupancy, so, if you check in later, you have a higher chance of receiving a room upgrade. Even if your room rate remains the same, you are likely to receive free upgrades and extras.
Book Within a Hotel’s Cancellation Period
Usually, procrastination is something that is frowned upon in life, but when it comes to booking your hotel room, it could lead to huge savings for you. If you reserve a hotel room online, or even over the phone, and wait until the 24 or 48-hour cancellation period to book the room, you could save a substantial amount of money on your final bill.
Sign up For Hotel Loyalty Programs
Several different hotels will offer loyalty programs, and when you sign up, they will include various perks. For instance, you may receive a “best rate guarantee,” free nights, or free items with bookings.
You could also sign up for a loyalty program through a third party online booking site, such asHotels.com, which might offer you one night free after booking 10 nights. If you choose this option, you are not limited to selecting the same hotel chain.
Register for Price Drop Alerts
If you already have a third-party booking account for your hotel loyalty program, you can use it to register for price drop alerts. Both Hotels.com and Kayak accept online reservations for several properties all over the world.
In addition to taking care of booking your room, securing the reservation, and emailing you when your room is ready, you can sign up for critical alerts. A price drop alert will fill your inbox with a notification anytime prices fall, ensuring that you have access to the cheapest room rates.
Another feature you can utilize within these websites is the Hotel Price Index, which will provide information on where hotel prices are increasing and decreasing. You will receive filtered results based upon prices paid by customer per night and room, including taxes and fees.
Use Coupon Codes
When you are booking a hotel room, you might not think of using coupons, but they can be very helpful, and they are available to you on websites like DealsPlus.com and Coupons.com.
Mention Special Occasions
If you happen to be booking your hotel room for a birthday, anniversary, or special occasion, it does not hurt to mention the occasion when you call the front desk. Often, the hotel might have a special room package, or it can lead to additional amenities or upgrades.
Book According to the Rule of the Opposites
When booking, your hotel stay, plan your visit directly opposite of what the majority would do. For instance, if you are staying in a hotel within a business district, you would most likely find weekend deals in those hotels. When searching for midweek savings, you should look at resort and vacation destination areas.
Look for Secret Hotel Rooms
A secret hotel room is a regular hotel room that hotels will sell at a reduced price because they do not want rooms to be left empty. Savings can be up to 20-50 percent off the original room rate and can be found on websites like Hotwire.com.
Look at Your Credit Card Rewards
If you have a credit card, you might want to see if they offer any travelers discounts or hotel rewards. Some credit card companies like Discover and Capital One will offer rewards programs, bonus points, and miles.
Use Membership Programs
If you do not have a credit card, but you have an AAA, AARP, or ADP card, you might be able to access special discounts through these memberships. These exclusive offers can include up to 25% off certain hotels.
Book a Room at a New Property
When searching for a hotel room, you might want to look for a new hotel that is looking to increase business and ratings. This can lead to lower room rates and possible upgrades.
Check Rates at Business Hotels
Business hotels usually have the ability to offer lower room rates because they cater to business travelers, so consider these hotels first especially during the summer months.
Check Daily Deal Sites
There are several online websites like Groupon, Hotwire, and Expedia, which offer “day of” deal services and travel deals. Often, you can find amazing deals and discounted room rates, but you have to check the websites frequently and jump on the opportunity quickly.
Use Travel Reward Points
If you travel and have racked up points on your airline mileage, there are a couple of ways in which you can save money on your hotel rooms. First, you should look into bundling your travel and air whenever possible, because it is usually provided at a discounted rate.
Next, most airlines offer reward points, which will equate to a point per every mile that you fly. You can cash these in for hotel room stays, amenities, and rent-a-cars. If you have racked up mileage points, you can check with booking to see if they accept reward points.
Abandon the Amenities
Sometimes, the key to getting a killer deal on a hotel room is keeping it simple, so, just search for the basics and abandon the fancy amenities. If you can find a great deal at the Ritz Carlton, that is great, but most of the time, you are paying for over the top extras that you do not need. When it comes to saving a buck, ditch the fancy soaps, coffee maker, and additional resort fees, and keep it simple.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
The last thing that you would think you could haggle over is a hotel room, but most hotel managers are willing to throw in something free to fill a room. It never hurts to ask, so if you see that a hotel room has vacancies, see if the manager is willing to negotiate any additional extras or a lowered room rate to fill the room.
Consider a Less Expensive Room
Surprisingly, the less expensive hotel chains sometimes offer the most for your money and are more willing to throw in extras with your room. So do not be afraid to look at sister chains like the Fairfield Inn by Marriott, JW Marriott, or the Bulgari Hotels and Resorts to name a few. Most of these are owned and operated by expensive resorts, which means they have the same standards, but offer lower rates and more privileges.
Be Flexible About When Your Travel
If you are traveling for work, then it might be difficult to adjust the time that you can travel, but if you are booking a leisurely hotel stay, timing can be crucial. You can find great bargains during certain times of the year. In fact, Google Hotel Finder will tell you the best time to stay in a location based on your budget, and your desired travel dates.
Choosing the right hotel room can be difficult, and with all of the websites offering lowered hotel room rates it can become overwhelming. With these tips, you will be well on your way to locating a discounted room rate for your next vacation, or work trip.