Love to travel but hate spending money on a hotel room you’ll spend very little time in? You’re not the only one. The good news is there are several things you can do to find better deals on hotel rooms, keeping that extra cash in your pocket for food and fun.
Call the Hotel
Look online to see what rates the third-party booking sites are offering. Call the hotel and see if they’ll match the rate if you book directly through them. Many will do this because they will avoid having to pay a fee to a booking agency. You’ll have a lot of flexibility and won’t be stuck paying in advance. Don’t call the hotel’s 800 number, either. Look up the local number and call that instead to ensure you’re actually speaking to someone who works on the property.
Look for Business Hotels
Depending on the time of year, looking for hotels that usually cater to business travelers and conferences can yield lower prices because regular business will be a bit slower. This works best when traveling to Europe or during the summer months when there aren’t as many business conventions and conferences. While most hotels are more expensive on the weekend, business hotels tend to be less expensive because conference goers have gone home.
Book at the Last Minute
Planning a spur-of-the-moment trip? Wait until 24-48 hours before your arrival date to schedule. You’ll already be within the cancellation window and the hotel will be looking to offer lower rates to fill up any immediate vacancies. Booking after 6pm is also helpful, if you are looking same-day, because some people will have cancelled or not shown up for reservations.
Loyalty Programs and Airline Miles
Do you travel a lot? If so, check to see if your airline miles are good for hotel discounts. Be sure you are signed up for loyalty programs if you tend to stay within the same hotel chain. You will eventually earn loyalty perks, upgrades, and maybe even a free night or two.
Do you belong to AAA, AARP, or any other membership program? You can often get reduced hotel rates at participating hotels. Teachers, military personnel, and first responders also qualify for discounts in some hotels. Be sure to ask what discounts are available.
Hotel booking sites are great but there’s something to be said for a little creativity if you have the time or flexibility to wait until the last minute to look around.