Planning a trip has become increasing difficult as there are so many options to choose from. After finding a hotel that suits all your needs you need to ascertain whether you are getting a good rate.
When you ask a travel agent or refer to a brochure for rates what you get is the generally quoted rate for a room. But if you are wise you can get a better deal and save a lot of money.
- Surf the net and see what online travel sites like Expedia, Hotels.com, or Travelocity are offering. Or you could browse the hotel web site to find a good deal. Many sites list special offers as well as discounts.
- Use a search tool to like HotelsCombined, Trivago, BookingBuddy.com or Travel Axe to compare various offers and rates.
- Look for what is known as “lowest rate guarantee” these are mainly on offer online but are subject to advance booking and very harsh cancellation policies. Even if the price offered online is attractive do call the hotel up and see if they are willing to better the rate.
- Opaque-pricing travel sites like Hotwire or Priceline do offer good rates for good hotels. The only downside is you cannot specify a hotel. All you can do is indicate where you want accommodation. The reservation needs to be made online and is non refundable and one cannot change plans or cancel.
- Consider purchasing an Entertainment book discount for between US$22 to 45. Becoming a member entitles you to discounts of 50% on the rack rate of member hotels. But these discounts are only available when the occupancy rate of the hotel is less than 80%.
- Ask about weekend rates. Often hotels that cater to business travelers have great rates on what they consider off season, weekends.
- If you plan your trip well in advance you could get a discount of 50% or more during off season.
- Some hotels have special rates for members of AAA, American Automobile Association and other professional bodies or clubs. Call the hotel of your choice and ask them if they do have such schemes.
- If you are traveling in a group ask about group rates or family rates. Most hotels have different options for multiple bookings. Some even offer a day or two additional stay at no extra cost.
- When you leave the airport or railway station or just drive in to a town stop at a gas station and find out if they have hotel coupon booklets. These oftentimes have great offers for visitors.
To get the best deal you need to be thorough as well as flexible. Just as you spend time sourcing air tickets at bargain prices you can do the same for hotel bookings. Read all travel offers carefully, set aside any discount booklets your bank or credit card company sends you for use when you travel. If you are smart you will save quite a lot.