Hotel prices are by no means set in stone and how much you pay will depend on a range of factors. By following the steps in this short guide, you can reduce the time spent in front of a computer screen and be sure to find an awesome deal for your next hotel stay!
Step 1: Use this awesome price comparison tool:
There are hundreds of websites available on the internet that claim to have the best hotel deals, but how do you know which actually are the best?
Comparison sites are a great place to start. Here you can look up a certain hotel, or hotels in a particular area, and see which websites offer the best deals for the time that you want to travel.
Some booking sites offer an auction service, whereby the customer can bid on a room in a specific hotel. If the hotel has numerous empty rooms, the owners would rather make some profit than none – thus accepting lower offers for rooms than they usually would. Customers have reported saving up to 70% through this method of booking, often in top-quality, 5* hotels.
Based on the same principle (a filled room at a low price is better than an empty room), some websites offer ‘secret hotel’ deals. In this case, the customer browses a selection of hotels in the area that they wish to visit and makes a decision based on a brief description and star rating of the hotel.
The hotels are supposed to remain anonymous until the booking is complete; however, it is often possible to decipher which hotel you are looking at by putting parts of the description into a search engine and narrowing down the results based on the star rating and location.
For those who aren’t too restricted on where and when they want to go on holiday, daily deals and last-minute deals sites offer two fantastic options. Here, you will find a great selection of hotel deals at reduced prices. It is best to enter these sites with an open mind and see what takes your fancy – if you have a very precise idea of where you want to go and what hotel you want to stay at, these sites are not for you.
Step 2: Consider the timing
The price of a hotel room fluctuates immensely throughout the year, and even throughout the week. The key is to be flexible, if you can. Generally speaking, Sunday and Monday nights are the quietest for hotels; this may be the best time to grab a bargain.
Consider the hotel you are looking to stay at – if the hotel caters primarily for business people, you might want to look out for weekend deals. If it is a leisure hotel on the other hand, they may be more open to negotiation for mid-week stays.
The peak holidaying months will vary depending on your destination; the peak time for a trip to England for example, will be a different time of year to the peak time for Mauritius.
If you are planning a holiday in America or Europe, remember that prices will rise sharply during the school holidays. If you can go away just-before, or just-after the holidays, then do! This will reduce the hotel price considerably without compromising too much on the weather.
Step 3: Contact the hotel directly
Don’t be afraid to try to negotiate a price with the hotel directly. Many hotels are open to discussing discounts or deals, assuming that they are not likely to fill all of their rooms for the nights that you are looking to stay.
Whether you have found a great deal from another website or not, it is always worth contacting the hotel before booking. It may be possible to cut out the middle man; the hotel could offer you the same deal, without the extra booking fees.
Moreover, it is always best to check with the hotel that there aren’t any additional charges. Some booking sites may not include taxes, resort fees, or charges for amenities in their prices.
Last but not least, ask the hotel about loyalty programs and discounts (e.g. for seniors or AAA members). Joining a loyalty scheme will mean that you are a more valued customer, you will get deals and promotions sent to you directly, and, in time, you could rack up enough points to have a short stay at the hotel for free.