How to Save Money When Booking a Hotel
Summer is on its way, and many of us will be getting our cars checked and fixed, and heading out on a road trip; others will be hopping on a plane to travel. Regardless of where you are going, unless you have someone to stay with, you will probably need to book a hotel or some place to stay. Hotels can be a great way to sleep comfortably while you’re far from home, but they can also be expensive. Cutting costs when booking a hotel can help you cut the cost of your trip; if you’re feeling really industrious, you can save even more money by making meals in your hotel room instead of eating out. If you want to find a comfortable, clean, and convenient hotel, but you don’t want to spend too much money, then these tricks are for you. Here’s how to get started.
1. Use your memberships or points
Many memberships or credit cards can help you save money on hotel reservations. Some credit cards offer points that can be redeemed for hotel stays, but there are also credit cards that are co-branded with a hotel; consider the card bonuses and usability when making a choice. If you can earn a free night (or several) at a hotel simply by making your regular purchases on a card, then you will certainly save money. Utilizing hotels that are available based on the cards you earned will help you save money when you book.
If you are part of an organization, such as the AARP, you can also check if you qualify for discounts.
2. Do your research
There are many sites that allow you to search different hotels for the best price, such as Hotels.com. These sites can often help you get the best deal available. Some websites allow you to search by the hotels’ rating, location, or any number of other criteria that you choose. Using these sites will allow you to see the price of many different hotels at once; you also can consider calling a hotel directly if you find a deal at another hotel but want them to match it; it might work, especially if you speak directly to a manager or someone in guest relations. In general, speaking to someone on the phone will give you the best opportunity to negotiate the price of the room.
If you are not attached to a specific hotel, you can also bid on a room with sites like Priceline.com.
3. Check deal sites
Using sites like Groupon to find a deal can really help cut costs on your hotel stay. Groupon regularly has hotel deals, and especially if you can travel during flexible dates, you might be able to score a great price. Many deal sites can be searched by location, so you likely can find a good deal on a hotel where you want to go; however, you might not get the best deal unless you wait for it. Some of these sites are more trustworthy than others; also, most of the deals are limited or can expire, so you may be too late to get the deal, and you might waste quite a bit of time looking for the deal too.
4. Share your story
Want a suite or a ocean view without paying for it? Appeal to the emotions of the hotel staff and share your story when you call to make a reservation. If you’re staying there for a wedding, or you have another special reason for wanting to stay there, you should share this information. Sometimes staff will upgrade you simply because you ask, but sharing the significance of the hotel and your visit will often have more of an impact than simply asking.
Many hotels give a free room or a discount to the bride and groom if they are reserving a block of rooms for guests; the same might be true for a reunion or other occasions.
5. Time it right
Hotels lose money when they have a lot of empty rooms. If your travel plans are flexible, you can try waiting until the last minute to book and score a great deal; unfortunately, you may not get a room at the hotel you want. You also can save money by booking a hotel far in advance, so deciding which way to go will mostly depend on how flexible your travel plans are (and you should also take holiday travel into consideration). Traveling during the off-season will also help you save money.
There’s no perfect time to try to score a hotel deal, and if you’re set on a specific hotel, you might need to shell out the money and reserve it early so there’s no risk that it will fill up. However, if you’re open to several different hotels, you can save money by checking deal sites, and being flexible with your dates.