It’s an age-old challenge. Hunting great hotel deals has become an art for the experienced traveler. For the less seasoned searchers looking for a few secrets, we’ve compiled a list of tips on how to find the cheapest hotels.
See all the options
You can only recognize a good deal when you know the market. To know the market you have to spend time exploring the wide range of hotel options out there. AllTheRoms search engine is excellent for reading the market because it shows you all hotel options (along with Airbnb’s, Couchsurfing etc.) and not just the hotels paying for top spaces on searches.
Look for voucher codes
With a little bit of research, there are plenty of third party sites that offer codes for discounts when booking at specific hotel chains or OTAs (online travel agents). Typically, these vouchers are given in exchange for signing up to a site or are for promotional purposes and need to be used within a certain timeframe. Remember to start your search broad — see what vouchers are available for where and then use those sites to book.
Utilize price matches
Many booking agents these days provide a Price Match guarantee whereby if you’re able to find the same accommodation (on the same date, with the same amenities, etc.) for cheaper, they’ll match that price. Don’t be shy in contacting companies to let them know you’ve found a better deal — they may even reduce the price further or throw in some free extra bits during your stay!
Check for rewards
Booking with a credit card has its advantages! Credit card companies often have access to exclusive deals on travel, accommodation, and other purchases. For example, previous deals saw Mastercard holders got 10% off bookings made through Hotels.com. Contact your credit card issuer to see what offers you can claim.
Sign up and save
Membership schemes are probably one of the easiest ways to save money on hotels. Sign up to loyalty programs/memberships to get special deals and receive emails with short-term offers. A lot of hotels and OTAs also have points systems, through which users can claim money off.
Normally, discounts are additionally available for guests with military and senior citizen cards. All you need to do is have proof of identification and inform the hotel upon booking.
Book weekday dates
Saturday and Sunday undoubtedly see average daily rates increase across the hotel industry due to the higher demand. Weekdays are usually quieter and therefore lower in price. If possible, select dates during the week for your check-in and check-out. Be conscious of national holidays too — these will see the same high prices as weekends.
Search on Sunday
Hotel prices change from day to day, but only experienced hotel deal hunters know that prices are lowest on Sundays. Also, read up on when hotel prices drop.
Know your peak times
Similarly, be aware of vacation price spikes and the deals that come in their wake or in the off-season. For example, a Caribbean vacation in the summer will cut your hotel price significantly compared to what you might find in the winter.
Location, location, location
If you can be flexible with where you need your hotel to be located, devote some time to checking out hotels outside of the center of your destination. City center and airport-adjacent hotels, in particular, tend to be a lot more expensive. Compare rates with hotels a little further out: the difference in cost might just be worth a little longer commute. If you’re looking for something fancy without the price tag, check out the best ways to get a luxury hotel upgrade.
Even if you’re not quite serious about booking your vacation quite yet, browsing through hotel sites will help you refine your searching skills. You might find sites you prefer or comparison techniques that help you find the best deal. Call it productive fantasizing.