How to Save Money on Your Next Hotel Stay
It is no secret that hotel rates have been on the rise. If you have not traveled for some time, you may be in for a nasty surprise the next time you call your favorite chain to book a room. What kind of tools do consumers have in this fight against inflationary hotel prices? Our favorite solution: coupon codes.
Whether you are traveling for fun or for business, you can take a few simple steps to save money. You do not have to pay those costly rack rates; you can negotiate substantial discounts if you know when to go and who to talk to. Just use these tips to save money on your next trip.
Know When to Go
You will have far less price flexibility if you try to book a hotel room during periods of high demand. When you go can have a huge impact on how much you pay, so it is important to do your homework ahead of time.
You obviously need to be aware of the high and low seasons for your destinations, but there are additional considerations as well. If you are traveling to a college town, you need to that special events like homecoming weekend could cause a spike in demand. Avoiding travel during peak times gives you additional flexibility and the freedom to negotiate more effectively on price.
Book Your Stay Directly Through the Hotel Website
Many hotel chains offer additional discounts for booking directly through the hotel website. Always check the website first for special discounts and promotions. It is still a good idea to call the hotel and ask about discounts, but you will typically get the best price if you book the room online.
Consider Blind Booking Sites, but Be Aware of the Risks
If you do not mind not knowing where you will be staying until you have paid, you could get a rock-bottom price on a 4-star or 5-star hotel room. Sites like Priceline.com and Hotwire.com post offers from top hotel chains, and those prices can be as much as 60 to 70 percent less than regular rack rates.
The risk is that you may not get the most convenient location or the hotel chain you prefer. Priceline and Hotwire do divulge general location details, but you will not know the exact setting or the name of the hotel until the deal is made.
Watch Rates Even After You Book
It pays to keep an eye on hotel rates even after you have booked your trip. If rates go down in the intervening days, you may be able to renegotiate your own booking and save more money.
Hotel rates change all the time based on a number of factors, from supply and demand to location-specific circumstances. In addition, many hotel chains offer best-rate guarantees, which may entitle you to a partial refund on a previously booked hotel room.
Watch Out for Last Minute Fees
When you arrive at your hotel, be sure to check the fine print carefully and look out for any fees. If you spot anything questionable, question it and ask that those fees be removed. You may be able to negotiate away things like last-minute booking fees and other charges. You may have better luck negotiating fees if you are a loyal customer of the chain, but many hotel managers are willing to make accommodations even for first-time guests.
Make Friends with the Concierge
The hotel concierge can be your best friend, especially if you are visiting a city for the first time. A good concierge will have the inside scoop on everything from the best romantic restaurant in town to where to get two-for-one theatre tickets.
Be sure to check in with the concierge as soon as you get checked into your hotel room. Talk about what you like to do and what you hope to see while you are in town. The concierge should be able to help you find the best deals on local attractions and save you a lot of money in the process.
Vacations are expensive, and the costs keep going up. Doing what you can to save money on the hotel can put more money in your pocket and give you more cash to spend actually seeing the sites and enjoying your holiday.