Seven Tips for Getting Good Deals on Hotel Rooms
Whether you’re traveling abroad or within the borders of your own country, it’s important to know how to get good deals on a hotel room. Traveling is expensive enough, so why pay more for a hotel room if you don’t have to?
Many gas stations may have coupon books which offer deals for certain hotel chains. Unless the hotel is full, you can usually expect the management to honor these discounts. Just be sure and read the fine print, as some of these discounts won’t apply during certain dates or if more than one person is staying in a room.
Look for cheap hotel rooms as soon as you know you’re going on a trip. In many cases, a hotel will reserve a block of cheaper rooms, but their availability will only last for so long.
Know The Best Times
When booking a hotel room, there are certain times which are better than others. Know the best times and use that information to get a better deal.
For example, it’s usually cheaper to stay in a resort area on weekdays and during the offseason. It’s also cheaper to stay in major cities on weekends, as there will be fewer business travelers. You can also save money on hotel rooms by staying outside of peak holiday times.
If you’re planning on staying in a city, you may also be able to save money by booking a hotel outside the main tourist area. For example, a hotel in a suburb of the city may be much cheaper than a room in the actual city. Just make sure that you have adequate transportation to reach your destination and it doesn’t offset the savings (cab fare, train, etc.).
Some hotel chains offer rewards programs (also known as frequent guest programs or loyalty programs) which allow you to accumulate points each time you stay at a hotel. These points can later be redeemed for free hotel rooms.
Some chains also offer a credit card with enough points to give you a free night’s stay in a hotel room. For example, signing up for the Marriott Visa gets you a coupon for a free night’s stay plus enough bonus points to get another free night. Of course, it is a credit card, so make sure you can resist the temptation to get into credit card debt.
You’ll also want to see how fast you can accumulate bonus points. This varies widely from hotel to hotel, so make sure you select the bonus program or co-branded credit card which gives you the most bonus points for your money.
Internet Comparison Sites
A wide array of comparison sites are available on the Internet. What’s a comparison site? Well, you enter the city you’re going to be staying in and the date, and the site will show you the prices offered for a number of hotel chains. The purpose being, of course, to allow you to compare prices and save money.
Just keep in mind that not all hotels are included in the systems of these comparison sites. A much cheaper hotel might be right down the street, but it won’t be listed if it’s not in the company’s system.
Another tip on how to get good deals on a hotel room is to look at a number of comparison sites. Sometimes, the same room in the exact same location will be higher on one site than on another. It pays to shop around.
The Hotel’s Home Page
Besides checking with comparison sites, you’ll also want to visit the hotel’s home page to see if any discounts are offered. Often, Internet-only specials will be provided.
The home page will also have pictures of the hotel and the surrounding area. This is a good way to make sure your affordable rooms aren’t located in a high-crime area.
Another tactic is to call the hotel directly. And when I say “call the hotel,” I mean their local phone number. Calling the national 800 number will get you nowhere, as the person on the other end of the phone will be limited in the deals they can make. The local owner or manager, however, can make whatever deal he or she feels is fair to both parties.
Also be sure to mention any promotions you may have seen. In some cases, all you have to do is mention the ad to get a discount. If you’re a member of an organization like AAA or AARP, be sure and mention that, too. What have you got to lose?
The most important thing to keep in mind is this: for every empty room, the hotel is losing money. Renting you the room for half price is ultimately better for their bottom line than not renting it at all. Remember this fact and negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.
For more tips on getting good hotel room deals, check out: