How to find extra large savings when booking a hotel.
A hotel manager would usually rather rent a room at a discounted price than have the room unoccupied - even at deep discount hotels. The closer you get to the check-in date, the greater the chance that a hotel may be willing to offer an even deeper discount - up to 60 percent off retail - just to make sure that the room is occupied.
To quickly find the best deals, you should start by checking several online travel agencies such as Orbitz and Travelocity. This will give you a good feel for the typical discounted price and for any hotel specials being offered - however, these may not necessarily be the best prices available.
Save Big with Consolidators
Continue your search for deep discount hotels at a hotel consolidator site such as Hotels.com or Hotwire.com or hotel research site like UpTake. A consolidator will buy or reserve large blocks of rooms from hotels in major destination areas. They receive the rooms at major discounts which they then pass on to travelers.
Booking a room with a consolidator can be a great way to find deep discount hotels if your trip is to a vacation mecca such as Las Vegas, Hawaii, California or New York City; however, a consolidator may not have as many rooms to offer in less-traveled areas such as Nebraska or Utah.
Advantages of Booking Directly
If you have found what seems to be a great room rate, contact the hotel directly before you book the room through a consolidator or online travel agency. You may find that the hotel's website offers even lower, online-only hotel deals. The hotel may also be willing to match or exceed the discount being offered on their rooms by third-parties such as online travel agencies and consolidators. For example:
- Marriott - Marriott has a "Look No Further Best Rate Guarantee." They will give an additional 25 percent off any publicly-available rate that is presented for the same reservation made through a third-party.
- Hilton - Hilton promises to match any Hilton rate found through a third-party plus they offer travelers a bonus if they book their room directly through Hilton - a $50 American Express Gift Cheque for guests at Hilton hotels in the United States and $50 off the hotel bill for guests at Hilton hotels outside the United States.
- Starwood - If you find a published rate on a Starwood property such as a Sheraton or Westin hotel, Starwood will match the lower rate and give an additional 10 percent discount.
If you book your room directly with the hotel, you may also increase your chances for a room upgrade when you check in. Also, cancellation policies are usually less stringent than they would be if you book the room through an agency or consolidator.
Bidding for Good Deals
If the hotel you want to stay at does not have a price-matching guarantee, you may still be able to beat the consolidator's price by bidding on a room with Priceline.com. You have a good chance of getting your price if you bid within 40 percent of the regular rate for the room. You might be able to save even more if you are bidding on a last minute reservation.
Discount Does Not Mean Second-rate
Booking a room for a deep discount does not mean that you sacrifice the quality and customer service that would be provided if the room was booked a higher rate. You will still receive the same room features and service that you would have received if you had paid full price for the room.
Read more Travel Deal Articles.