If you find a really good hotel deal online, call that hotel directly before making the reservation. Let them know when you’re planning to stay and for how long, and ask the concierge whether they can give you a better deal than you found online, or at least an upgrade.
You can also pit local hotels against each other to get yourself a better deal. Make a reservation that you can cancel at no cost, then call up a nearby hotel. Tell them that you had come across reviews for their hotel and really liked what you saw, but you already have a reservation. Tell them where the reservation is, when it is, and for how long. After citing what exactly it is that you like about their hotel, ask the concierge politely if there’s any way they could offer you a better rate or room. Make sure you call the actual hotel’s front desk, rather than the reservations hotline, as the employees at the actual hotel are far more able and willing to help you out.
If you’re traveling overseas, you should be aware that U.S.-based websites tend to not only give you higher rates, but also have fewer options. Check out websites such as Momondo, Booking.com, Agoda.com, and Venere.com, which not only offer cheaper rates, but also have a wider selection of hotels that aren’t all available to American travelers through U.S. websites.
HotelTonight is a mobile app that helps you find and book travel accommodations, often at prices 30 to 50 percent lower than listed rates. The app was once limited to same-day bookings, but now you can find a room up to seven days prior to your stay in Europe, the Americas, or Australia.
Options such as vacation home rentals, AirBnBs, and hostels can be much cheaper than hotels. Hotel booking sites like Booking.com and Hotels.com have even started listing private accommodations because of how many people prefer them. Vacation homes also offer the added bonus of available kitchens where you can save money by cooking your own meals. If you’re staying at a hostel, you can also try talking to the operators and getting yourself a short gig there. Working at a hostel means free room and board for your stay!
Many hotel chains have rewards programs that you can participate in without a credit card. As a means of rewarding return customers, hotels will give you points for each stay. These points can rack up to bonus amenities, discounts off your next stay, or even completely free nights.
As with real estate, location can greatly affect hotel prices. A room downtown will cost far more than one at a hotel a few minutes away in a less popular neighborhood. You can get an even cheaper deal if you stay at a hotel about 15 to 20 minutes outside of the city.
If at all possible, try to book your stay during the week. Weekday rates tend to be far lower than weekend rates —not to mention there’s a shorter line at breakfast!
Many companies provide travel discounts for their employees and even for their employees’ families and friends. So if your own company doesn’t give you a corporate discount, ask your spouse or your friends and family to see if they have access to any discounts that you can take advantage of.
Most credit cards have some sort of rewards system that allows you to cash in points for a variety of goods and services, particularly hotel rooms. As you continue to make purchases on the credit card, you rack up redeemable points that you can later use to get a cheap or even free hotel room. Every credit card is different, so check with your credit card company (or even consider getting one with perks that you prefer). Some credit cards also have a reward system for a specific hotel chain, which means better perks or sometimes earning double points when using the credit card at that hotel chain.
Are you a member of an organization? Nearly every kind of group provides hotel discounts to its members. AAA and AARP members in particular are offered discounts by nearly every major hotel chain. There are also often discounts available through professional organizations, as well as discounts for students, teachers, alumni, military personnel, and government employees.