Learn How to Get Cheap Hotel Rooms
Along with airfare, hotel rooms are one of the largest travel expenses. It can be frustrating knowing how to find the best possible rate. The secret to getting cheap hotel rooms is having some flexibility, knowing where to make your booking and learning where to find discounts.
Whether you are headed to Europe, London or around the world, don’t pay more then you have to! Securing an affordable hotel room will give you more money to spend on your trip and the opportunity to visit more places.
Find out how to get cheap hotel rooms and get the best bargain below.
1. All you have to do is ask
This might sound too good to be true but asking for a discount actually works very well. This is because many hotels have something called a ‘fallback’ rate for customers who are refusing the rate they are quoted.
Just ask the following when making your booking:
- Is the hotel running any promotions or packages?
- Are there any special rates that might apply? This might include: frequent flier, government discount, convention, weekend, hotel membership, senior, family, AAA, shareholder or corporate rates.
2. Don’t bother with a hotel’s toll-free number
You could potentially get a better deal by calling the direct hotel line compared with their 1-800 line. This is because hotel agents are better in touch with current deals and availability. The 800 agents usually do not have permission to negotiate and usually do not have access to room availability.
3. Be flexible about travel times
Just like flights, hotel rates are based on the time of year and even the week you are travelling. It might be helpful to identify when the peak times are for the hotel you are booking with. Also, knowing the peak seasons to visit your destination. For example, wintertime in the Caribbean is popular and prices will be higher at this time.
Scheduling your trip at a less popular time could save you a lot of money on a hotel. You can check the best time to stay at a destination with Google Hotel Finder. You can also generate a list of potential travel destinations by imputing parameters such as desired travel dates, budget and geographic limits.
4. Compare prices online by visiting multiple websites
If you only visit one travel site to book your room, you may not be getting the best deal possible. Do your homework and check out multiple reservation sites to get cheap hotel rooms.
Comparison sites worth visiting:
- Expedia, Trivago, Travelsupermarket.com & Kayak – these sites aggregate other search engines
- Orbitz & Priceline – both are auction style sites allowing you to name the price you want to pay
- HotelChatter – rates quality of access in hotels around the world
Sites such as Kayak, Travelsupermarket.com and Trivago help scan the web for the best deals. According to the Guardian Money price check, you should check all three of these sites before booking. This is because no single site generates the best prices.
The above chart shows how prices can vary on comparison websites and that you should go to multiple sites for the best deal.
Image Source: Guardian
5. Be mindful of the full cost of booking at a hotel
Although you may think you found the best deal, your total bill isn’t determined by this rate. Even though you see a fantastic base rate for a hotel, it might actually be a more extensive option once other costs are factored in.
Look out for the following charges:
- parking costs
- resort fees (like a beach umbrella, workout facilities, the pool, internet access, ironing board, daily newspaper, coffee or even mandatory valet parking)
- energy surcharges
6. Book according to price not hotel
If you don’t care what hotel you go to, then you can book a hotel room without knowing where you are going to stay until it’s already booked. Sites like Priceline allow you to choose how much you want to pay according to location. Also, the ‘hotel inventory’ section on Hotwire is extremely discounted.
7. Check the rate after booking
It doesn’t hurt to follow up after securing your booking. You can look online a few weeks after booking to see if the rates have dropped. If you find that they have gone down, you can cancel your booking and rebook at the lower rate. Just double check that you don’t have to pay any penalties by reading the hotel’s cancellation policy.
8. Find hidden coupons, vouchers & discounts
You can find discount coupon and voucher companies online and also in print. Do a simple web search for coupons for your hotel chain or destination. You will be surprised to find what is out there. Example searches might include “coupons Paris hotels” or “coupons Paris Hilton hotel”.
You can find hotel discount codes on sites like:
Another tip is to sign up for regular e-newsletters to receive the latest information on discount packages for the hotel. The hotel website is also another great place to check for packages and deals.
9. Sign up for a loyalty program
It only takes a few seconds to sign up and it could help you save money. These programs will often reward you with points that you can use to pay for your stay or even upgrade to a better room. Some programs reward members with extra perks such as free Internet.
Check out Travel Zoo for an updated list of popular loyalty clubs and perks.
10. Benefit from a private sale
If you become a member with sites like Jetsetter.com and TabletHotels.com, then you can benefit from exclusive offers on hotels and resorts. The deals on hotel rooms don’t usually last very long. However, if you are flexible then you can often find great discounts on luxury and boutique hotels.
11. Get a package deal
By booking your flight and hotel together, you could get some great discounts. Many frequent travellers get package deals to cut down costs. This may limit the choices for accommodation but the discounts could make up for the lack of flexibility.
12. Book a last-minute deal
If you are comfortable with booking at the last minute, then you you could get a great rate. Hotels will often lower their rates to fill remaining rooms.
13. Consider your alternatives
You don’t have to stay at a big hotel chain. You may even get more for your money by staying somewhere else. There are many different kinds of accommodation and alternatives that could amount to large savings.
You may consider staying at the following:
- bed and breakfasts
- vacation rentals
- independently owned small hotels