Get a good deal on a hotel and spend that money elsewhere! Read on to find out how to do just that
Almost everyone tries to look for ways to cut costs when they travel, especially when it comes to accommodations. That way, we get to spend more money on food, experiences, and sightseeing, which is really what travelling is all about. Here are a few easy and practical tips on how you can save money on hotels.
1. Check the hotel’s website for deals
Even though booking sites are a convenient way to see the price ranges of accommodations in a destination, booking directly on a hotel’s website is still the best way to go. A lot of hotels post special offers on their sites that you probably wouldn’t have learned about otherwise. For example, just a quick visit to the Accorhotels website immediately shows you discounted rates that might not have made it to other sites.
According to Frommer’s, booking directly with the hotel can also improve your customer service when you actually arrive in the hotel. When you book directly on the hotel’s site, they don’t have to pay commissions to a third-party website, so hotels often give guests who book directly with them better rooms.
2. Call your hotel directly
Sometimes, booking on a hotel’s website doesn’t guarantee the same price. If you find a better price on a third-party website, you can call their front desk directly and ask for a price match.
3. Book waaaaay in advance
Like airline fares, room prices are highly volatile, which is why booking months in advance usually saves you a lot of dough. That’s just the law of supply and demand at work—as rooms begin to fill up, the remaining ones typically increase in value. Though you might be able to find last-minute deals (see item #4), if you can help it, best not risk it.
4. Look for last-minute deals
If you weren’t able to book your room in advance, don’t worry. Look for last-minute deals with apps like HotelQuickly and Hotel Tonight (in the US and Europe), which let you look for great deals at short notice. I just tried using HotelQuickly to book a stay in Bali for this weekend, and the room I wanted was 50% cheaper than the listing on Expedia. Cool, eh?
You could also try using services that resell cancelled reservations at lower prices, like Cancelon and Roomer. Looking for rooms in Bali, I easily found accommodations that were 60% cheaper than those on normal booking sites.
5. Book rooms with free cancellation
Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too. With free cancellations, you could book accommodations in advance AND keep looking for a better deal. Plenty of the accommodations on Booking.com offer free cancellations. Some of them even allow you to book now and pay later!
6. Search online for promo codes
7. Schedule your travels in the off-season
Travelling in the off-season is one of the easiest ways to cut costs across the board. As hotels lower their rates to attract more business, airfare also becomes cheaper, as do some entrance fees at tourist attractions.
8. Avoid weekends
Choose to travel during the week and your wallet will thank you for it. And because most weekend travellers check out on Sundays, some hotels drop their prices for Sunday stays as well. Instead of booking from Friday to Sunday, consider booking from Sunday to Tuesday
9. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, let them know
Will you be celebrating a special event during your stay? If so, let the hotel know as you’re making your booking, and make sure to remind them about it while you’re checking in. You could score some free upgrades or gifts!
Hotels often give guests celebrating their honeymoon complimentary drinks and/or chocolate-covered fruit. Some hotels even give guests celebrating their birthdays goodies like champagne and cake.
10. Convert your airline miles to hotel points
In general, it’s not a good idea to transfer hotel points to miles (and vice versa) because they don’t usually convert at a good ratio. However, if your miles are about to expire, if you don’t plan on flying with that airline anytime soon, or if you simply want the hotel points more than the miles, then go ahead!
11. Get yourself a hotel rewards credit card
If you find yourself booking hotels from a certain chain several times a year, why not sign up for a hotel co-branded credit card? Lots of big hotel chains offer these credit cards that give you hotel points as you use your card for your day-to-day expenses. A rewards card can also give you special privileges like room and buffet discounts.
12. Stay longer than a night
Some accommodations give special deals to guests who stay for more than a night, especially in the off-season. When booking, ask if they’d be able to give you a discount if you stay one more night. You might even be able to score a free night!
13. Explore other options.
Who says you have to stay in a hotel in the first place? In many locations, you could book a decent 3-bedroom apartment on Airbnb for the price of one room at a four-star hotel. If you’re open to rooming with strangers, you could even stay at a hostel. Not only is it cheaper, it’s also a great way to make new friends.
14. Stay outside the city centre
If the public transport situation in your destination is easy and convenient to use, why not cut costs by choosing accommodations away from the city centre? You could even stay in a nearby town instead of in the city itself. (However, make sure that it’s easy to commute to the sights you actually want to see—sometimes the inconvenience and time lost just isn’t worth it.)
15. Make good use of your in-room kitchen or mini fridge
The breakfast buffet at your hotel may look enticing, but you could save a serious amount of cash by just stocking up your mini fridge with breakfast cereal and fruit.
16. Check dining options
When choosing between hotels, factor in the dining options. What are the nearby restaurants? Do they offer free breakfasts? One hotel may have cheaper rooms than another, but if you have to take an expensive cab ride to the nearest reasonably-priced restaurant, you could end up spending more by choosing the “cheaper” option.
Did you agree with the points made in this save money on hotels article? Share your thoughts with us in the comment box below.
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