Accommodation is often one, if not the most expensive element, of any holiday. While the hotel market is indeed saturated with facilities boasting anywhere from one to five stars, parking lot views to oceanfront villas and a host of amenities, most travelers are simply looking for an economical and enjoyable option during their long-awaited holiday.
Savvy travelers know that advertised prices for accommodation – whether they’re online, through a travel agent, or offered by the hotel itself – should be viewed as a jumping off point to begin negotiations for discount hotel rates. Below are some helpful tips and tricks for travelers looking to get the best bargains on hotel accommodation.
The internet is an international marketplace and travelers have the unprecedented option of comparing hotel prices from around the world. Comparison sites offer deep discounts that are intended (and sometimes guaranteed) to be the lowest available. However, some sites may charge booking fees so it pays to find the advertised rate and then go to the hotel website. Hotel chains also offer special rates for online bookings and many support membership rewards programs. Do your research before booking anything and make sure you’re getting the absolute lowest rates possible.
Ask for a lower rate
Many people feel timid when it comes to asking for a discount directly. Once you’ve found a price and property that suit your budget, consider calling the hotel directly and speaking to someone about special rates beyond what’s been advertised. Members of hotel groups, senior citizens, government employees, frequent fliers and even shareholders are eligible for a range of discounts so it’s always to your benefit to inquire. Some hotels even have what’s called a ‘fallback’ rate which is a special rate for customers who are, for whatever reason, not willing to pay the quoted rate. When searching for discounts, it pays to be a bit of a pest.
Hotel rates vary drastically depending on dates of travel. For hotels that are geared primarily to business customers, weekends might be much cheaper, while B&B accommodation will likely be less expensive during the week. Do some research about your destination and find out when peak season is; if you’re willing and able to avoid these dates, you’ll likely find significant discounts which will save you a lot of money. If your schedule is flexible enough to book a last minute holiday, you can take advantage of rock bottom prices on hotels as well as package deals. The closer it gets to travel time, the lower the rate you’re likely to get, as hotel operators are more interested in filling rooms than charging full price.
Getting cheaper holidays doesn’t have to mean cutting corners or sacrificing comfort. If you’re diligent in your research, bold in your approach and flexible in your planning, you could potentially book the trip of a lifetime in the hotel of your choice.
Image by Steve Johnson, used under Creative Commons license