Ten Tips for Scoring Hotel Deals
When saving for vacation, one of the most important budget items is the hotel cost. Luckily, there are many ways to save on hotel rooms. Try these tips to find a room priced within your budget during your next trip:
- Check price ranges. Even if you prefer to reserve your hotel room by phone, use a site like Kayak.com that shows lots of hotel rates in your destination to be sure the one you choose is a good value.
- Use online coupon codes. Many hotels offer online promotions plus codes for 5% to 20% off. With a current Orbitz travel coupons, you can take an extra 10% off at checkout off rooms that are already marked down. How much does this save versus paying regular price? For a 5-night trip in a $100 room marked down from $125, you save a total of $175 ($125 by markdown + $50 by code.)
- Factor taxes and fees into the rate. Taxes and fees on a 7-night stay can add $100 or more to your room rate. Plus, this doesn't include resort fees, hotel energy surcharges, parking fees, pet fees, and incidental charges that some hotels might include. Check on these fees to be sure the room rate you found is indeed as great as it sounds.
- Request the lowest rate. Hotel pricing structure tends to include a standard rate, plus lower rates that aren't typically mentioned unless a customer inquires further. Asking for the lowest rate actually often results in a lower price by phone and in person.
- Check room types. When quoted a room rate by phone, customers can often get that reduced just by asking if there is a room type that costs less. Typically, the least expensive room includes two double beds or one king-sized bed. The most expensive is the suite, followed by a room with two queen or king-sized beds.
- Find grand openings. Hotel lines often feature new or soon-to-open hotels on websites. These hotels make excellent stays because the staff is new and management is eager to quickly establish full occupancy and an excellent reputation. Plus, promotions often mean prices are drastically lower at these locations than other hotels in the same line.
- Focus on reviews not stars. When looking for hotels, relying on the star ratings can be deceiving. These days, it is often more informative to rely on ratings by customers who have stayed in the hotel. Sites like TripAdvisor.com compare hotel prices alongside reviews, so you know you're getting what you want for the price.
- Check back. For a trip during peak travel times, call far in advance. However, if you don't, not all hope is lost. As dates approach, hotel prices fluctuate often. Calling in August for a room over Thanksgiving Weekend may get you an unaffordable rate, but trying again in October, you might find the rate has been reduced. When there are many unsold rooms for a particular date, hotels lower the rates.
- Use group savings. Nearly every hotel offers a Triple AAA discount, and these discounts tend to be even better than other savings like Corporate Discounts and even AARP rates. Ask about all rates to be sure, of course. One example is a Westin coupon for 10% to 35% off instantly for AAA members.
- Ask about special discounts. Hotels usually offer discounts for government and military, extended stays of 15 to 30 days or more, and a senior or AARP reduction. Sometimes a hotel manager may extend a discount for regular visitors (but be sure to inquire rather waiting for hotel staff to realize you visit every year!). Also, hotels near hospitals often offer special rates for individuals who are in town for treatment, again, particularly those who need to visit regularly. These discounts are not usually offered during online booking, so call to inquire.
We want to know your tips too! What's the best hotel discount you've gotten, and how did you get it? Do you think you get the best rates online or by phone? We're eager to learn any and all secrets about how you save money
by securing the best hotel rates and discounts.