I’m happy to present 19 tips for getting a good hotel deal whether you planned ahead or just jumped in the car.
- Check websites for special discounts, but also be sure to call the hotel directly to find out what their rates are for the type of room you need.
- If you aren’t tied to a specific hotel chain, but want a good deal and a clean place to lay your head at night, you can purchase your room through Priceline or Hotwire. You’ve probably heard that you are essentially booking a mystery hotel until you confirm your reservation, but you can search by lowest price and star rating so you don’t end up paying $300 a night for, SURPRISE!…a hostel.
- If you want to see which hotel you’re getting and receive an automatic cash refund if another customer books your itinerary for less, visit Orbitz. You don’t even have to do any digging – they track it for you. If someone else pays less for your identical trip, you get a check in the mail. Boom.
- Find out prices for five hotels in your area so you feel confident that you nabbed the best deal. However, even though it’s booked, don’t consider it set in stone – yet. Check those same hotels as your travel date nears. If you find a better deal and you’re within the timeframe where there’s no penalty for cancelling your original reservation, do so and rebook the newer, cheaper one.
- Never be afraid to ask what options are available in your price range. Twice in the last year, I’ve been upgraded to a suite because the price was actually the same as a standard double. High five!
- Before you book, ask if there are extra charges for parking, Wi-Fi usage or other oddball fees that hotels may charge so you know the true cost of your stay.
- When possible, plan your trip ahead of time – months if you can. If you plan on traveling for occasions like New Year’s Eve, the Olympics or any other kind of large-scale event, you would not be considered crazy if you booked a year in advance!
- On the other hand, there are also benefits in taking advantage of last-minute deals. If you have a flexible schedule, you could get a super low rate on a hotel room simply because the hotel wants to fill remaining rooms. Score!
- If you took a random road trip and have no laid plans, you could always walk into a hotel and ask for their best price. This only works best if it’s off-season and you’re feeling confident that rooms are available. Why would you ever do such a thing? Well, you get to size up the hotel when you walk in the lobby instead of just relying on Internet photos and you get to look the clerk right in the eye (with puppy eyes) when asking for the best rate.
- Thinking of traveling for a long weekend? While Friday through Sunday is popular, play around with dates and see if arriving on Thursday or leaving on Monday could save money on your stay.
- Book your room during off-season months. Duh. Less crowds, possibly better weather and good pricing? Sold.
- Ask if there are any promotions or packages, and see if you can use any discounts that might apply to you, such as: AAA, senior citizen, government or military discounts, and more.
- If you plan on flying to your destination, it’s worth checking out sites like Expedia that offer airfare and a hotel stay through a package deal. You may find that it’s actually cheaper to book them separately, but you may find at certain times of the year, a nice chunk of change.
- Based on some of your experiences, you probably have some “go-to” hotels that you trust. Pick your favorite hotel chain and join their free loyalty or rewards program for discounts and more.
- Type in “hotel coupons” in your favorite search engine, or get specific and say, “Hyatt Regency coupons,” etc. and visit coupon gathering sites like CouponCabin and RetailMeNot.
- Use social media too! Follow several hotel chains on Facebook and Twitter and be the first to know about last minute deals or special packages.
- Are you a frequent flyer? Cash in airline points for hotel rooms when possible. Do you have tons of points on your credit card that you can redeem for rewards? See if you can use them toward a hotel stay.
- Subscribe to private sale sites like Jetsetter to get exclusive deals on hotels and resorts. You have to be a member, but membership is free and you can even download their app for iPad and iPhone for on-the-go information.
- Want a secret weapon in your back pocket? Call Getaroom at (800) 468-3578 to receive the benefits of pricing not found on their website for up to a 20% discount.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make sure you’re getting a good hotel deal the next time you travel. The key to getting the best hotel prices? Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions so you understand the total cost.
Do you have any other tips for your fellow travelers? Share them here!