Insider Tips for Getting the Best Price For Your Room
Booking hotels can be a complete mystery. Prices seemingly fluctuate every day, and you may book the same hotel as a friend but pay a completely different price. It might seem like there is no direct formula to working out how to book your hotel room for the best price, but we have pulled together a list of insider tips that demonstrate how to get the best deal.
Be flexible with dates
If you can be flexible, opt to stay in a hotel on a Sunday, as room prices are usually significantly cheaper than the rest of the week. Friday and Saturday nights are often the most expensive times to stay in hotels.
Mid-week stays are usually cheaper for tourist destinations, and business hotels tend to drop their prices for weekend stays. Also consider the time of year that you will be travelling; Christmas and high summer time periods are always more expensive, so try to plan your trip for the shoulder seasons during school term times.
Trivago.com offers travel advice calculators for 47 cities around the world, displaying the average hotel prices for each month based upon 900,000 hotels on over 250 booking sites. Check if the city you wish to visit is on the list, and look it up to find the cheapest time to visit.
Book ahead of time
Insiders recommend booking your hotel room either 30 days in advance or 7-10 days before your stay. These are usually the times that hotels offer their best deals, especially if they are struggling to fill their rooms at the time of your booking. Alternatively, if you leave it until the last minute and book a room the morning of your stay, prices will be low as the hotels will want to fill their empty rooms – you just might not have a depth of choice available.
Book through Tingo.com to secure the best price
If you’re travelling at a peak time or have your heart set on a particular hotel, manage your booking through Tingo.com and the site will automatically update your booking if the price later drops. This way, you can ensure that you get the best possible price.
Sign up for price alerts and deal days
Sites including Kayak.com and Booking.com allow you to sign up to newsletters where they will notify you of any suitable deals. Kayak alerts you when the prices change at hotels that you have registered an interest in, whilst Booking.com sends out regular ‘deal day’ emails, listing hotels in the areas that you have been looking at that are offering significant discounts if you book by the end of the day. Both of these schemes allow you to find the best price without constantly searching through websites each day.
If you book through a site such as Hotwire or Priceline, you can enjoy staggering discounts with the only catch being that you don’t know which hotel you are actually booking until after you have paid. Don’t be put off by this ambiguity – these sites are renowned for offering discounts of up to 60% off and regularly include high-end hotels. Simply select the area in which you would like to stay and the amenities that you require, and chose the hotel with the price that suits you.
Look into The Roomer
The Roomer is a great place to head for both those in search of an affordable hotel room and those who have had to cancel a trip that includes a non-refundable hotel room. People list their rooms that they cannot use at a discounted price for other travellers to snatch up, usually with at least 20% discounted from the original price.
Consider how much time you will spend in your hotel
Don’t be tempted to pay extra for a sea view if you will be out of your hotel all day and it’s likely to be dark when you return. Likewise, there is no point in paying extra for use of the hotel gym if you are unlikely to use it, or for full board if you prefer eating out. Consider what you want to get out of your hotel stay and don’t pay for unnecessary extras.
Bid for the hotel that you want to stay in
Use a website such as Stayful to bid in an online auction for your hotel of choice. Simply search for a hotel that you want to stay in from their database that includes numerous boutique and independent names, and name the price that you are willing to pay for a room. If your suggested price is too low, the hotel will get back to you with their best price, allowing you to decide whether to accept.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.
Editors Note: Don't forget becoming a member of The Wise Traveller also gets you access to private hotel discounts with best rate guarantees.