Often times, a huge portion of our travel expenses goes on accommodation, and the constant debate between quality and price never ends. There are a variety of booking websites around that provide a wide platform for hotel bookings, which makes it totally common that you may miss a better deal somehow, somewhere on the other side of the internet. Some of these booking websites also have “unpublished” or hidden rates which can get a little tedious and complicated for someone who just wants to find an affordable hotel to stay in. And no, we don’t all just want a budget hotel! So, how exactly do people book enviable hotels for cheap?
Don’t worry, read on to find out how to book the best hotels at the cheapest rates. Cheap hotels need not be bad!
Searching on multiple sites may not only be tedious, but time draining as well. Metasearch engines have been on the rise over the recent years due to their efficiency and time-saving methods. They exist not just for hotel bookings, but also for flights, restaurants, and more. Metasearch engines basically do the work of comparing the prices from multiple hotel booking sites for you, all with just a few clicks. With metasearch engines, you can search for the cheapest yet best quality hotels that are in the area, ranked from the lowest price or filtered in any other way that you like. Examples of popular metasearch engines include
So forget opening multiple browser tabs on your phone and adopt the method of using metasearch engines instead!
Book refundable / cancellable rates
Did you know, when there are more people booking rooms in the hotel, the higher the hotel rates will be? Yes, the whole supply and demand theory applies here. This would in turn result in higher prices reflected on the booking websites. This is where refundable and cancellable rates come in handy.
For example, booking sites like booking.com have “FREE cancellation before xxx” as a disclaimer under the conditions segment on selected rates. Simply book this rate and then monitor the price for the next day or so, which is guaranteed to change. However, do double check that the price is indeed cancellable! This might require a longer time, and may even seem a little tedious, but it is sure to save you a lot! As not many hotels provide cancellable rates, do check with other booking sites or even the hotel website directly. You can also compare the prices with the hotels nearby or in the location as well.
An additional tip would be to go incognito if you’re going to search on the same place as you did before. This is because hotel booking sites may have your internet history and use it as an advantage to offer your higher rates!
Last minute booking
This might only be applicable for shorter trips such as weekend getaways, which require shorter planning time. Hotels always offer cheaper rates on their unsold rooms and the best time to actually get the cheapest room can be within 24 hours prior to your booking. It requires plenty of research and cross-checking with the various booking websites though.
To make things easier, look out for the “Flash deals: Deals Tonight” disclaimer in the booking websites. For example, Expedia has their own “Tonight” or “Deals Tonight” section. Do note that comparing with other booking websites is highly necessary as some booking websites offer these deals just to clear their inventory!
Pros: most of the last-minute booking rates are also cancellable and refundable!
Always check for additional discounts
Discounts come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing’s for sure, they’re always good news. It is always necessary to check for additional discounts that you may qualify for. The obvious ones would be credit card discounts. For example, Visa Signature offers a vast variety of offers and perks on a rotating cast of hotels. There are also discounts offered by associations or organisations such as the American Bar Association and the United States Billiard Association, which offer discounts on various hotel chains.
Try checking and enquiring with your organisation or credit card company on any perks and discounts they offer and who knows, you might be able to save yourself $100!
Pros: besides getting yourself a sweet discount on your accommodation, some of these organisations and card companies have loyalty programs as well. So the more you spend, the more rewards you get!
Book flight + hotel deals
Flight + hotel deals can not only save you a bunch of money but also the convenience of having to book the two separately. These package deals are also recommended for short, straightforward trips rather than the complicated, long, one-city-one-week kind of trip. Booking package deals can save up to almost 30% off your booking expenses! Some booking sites such as Expedia offer flight + hotel deals where multiple filters can be used to get you the cheapest flights and hotel deals that suit your preferences.
Do check with the website directly to confirm that there are no hidden charges, including baggage charges for the flight.
Pros: some of these package deals come with airport transfers as well, and hidden benefits such as free breakfast and parking may be offered.
As there are plenty of booking sites around, people tend to dismiss the possibility that the direct hotel website can offer lower prices as compared to the booking sites. Some hotels offer lower prices or cash vouchers if there are lower rates offered on other booking sites. Some even offer complimentary night stays! There are actually a whole bunch of hotels offering this price matching claim such as Accor, that offers 10% discount, Hilton, with its $50 off, and Choice Hotels that offers a free night’s stay. So for example, if the Hilton website has a room at $250 and the same room is available on
Pros: although this requires additional time and effort, especially during the research process, you’re guaranteed to get the same room at a lower price. There are also a whole bunch of benefits that come with booking directly with the hotel as well.
Call the hotel directly
If you have a particular hotel in mind, calling the hotel directly can give you better rates. You’ll be able to speak with someone in real-time and the staff will usually offer you rates that aren’t advertised on the booking sites or even their hotel websites. Do call their direct line and not the 800 one, which would direct you to a third-party line. Also, events such as conferences, concerts, and conventions can result in hotel room prices being higher than usual. This is the same case for holidays where expensive rates are the norm. When this happens, try looking for other hotels within the area and compare the prices.
Pros: hotels usually offer their best rooms to guests who make direct bookings. There is also the hotel’s loyalty program to consider. By booking directly with the hotel, you’ll be able to accumulate points. Freebies such as parking and breakfast may be offered if you book directly with the hotel as well.
Stay in style, for a cheap price
Why splurge on accommodation? Sure, these steps might take more time in the research process but don’t worry, it gets easier as you get the hang of it, and besides, with good prices, there’s really no downside of this!
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