When traveling, I can research the perfect hotel for weeks. Like with airfare, there is an amazing amount of comparison sites out there.
Going to the fridge to make a sandwich might mean you will lose the great price you just managed to find three minutes ago. So, how to save money on your hotel stay? Here are my tips!
USE INCOGNITO BROWSER SETTINGS
Just checking you are already!
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR STAY?
If you’re not big on amenities but location is key, book the clean three-star property smack-dab in the city center and not the four-star one a metro ride away. If you’re planning to spend a lot of your time in the hotel, using its facilities, it probably doesn’t matter if the perfect hotel is not within a walking distance from the main sights.
If you’re going to be working in your hotel room, don’t book one without a desk. If you’re choice of morning exercise is swimming, make sure there is a good-sized pool. Hotel comparison sites have an enormous amount of search terms to help you.
Forget Hotels.com, Booking.com, after you’ve done with your initial comparison and made your choice. These sites are high-commission booking engines that the hotel will pay up to 25 % commission on your room rate.
Furthermore, the hotel staff cannot do anything to your booking if you would need to change or cancel it. If you have any special requests, there is also a possibility that if you’re paying directly to the hotel – i.e. they are left with more money from your room rate – they are more likely to give you that little bit of extra without charging for it.
Most hotel chains now have a best price guarantee, which means that they will make sure the rate they are offering in their own channel is the best one. If you can find a cheaper one elsewhere, they will price-match or even offer the first night free.
Hotel websites usually have special rates and packages available that might save you money.
CHECK WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE RATE
To avoid annoying and costly mishaps, read the reservations terms and agreements. They state if the rate is final or will there be added taxes such as city tax, or resort fees.
If you want to have breakfast, make sure you book a rate that has breakfast included. Adding it when you arrive will usually cost you a pretty penny. Check if the hotel or the brand has wi-fi always included. Believe it or not, some hotels still charge for internet, some even mind-blowing amounts.
FIND A BRAND THAT RESONATES WITH YOU AND STICK WITH IT
If you travel even a few times per year, it is worth looking into choosing a preferred hotel chain and enrolling in its loyalty program. Usually the benefits include things like free wi-fi, late check-out when available and other little perks that will make your life easier.
With enough stays you will usually gain reward points and a possibility for free upgrades. Most loyalty program memberships can be linked with you airline miles account, or the points are transferable between them.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO THE RESCUE
If you have a family member or a friend working for an international hotel brand, it’s worth asking if their employer offers a friends and family-rate program. They usually have good discounts on room rates in many of the chain’s properties globally.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO GO BACK
If you’ve booked a refundable or cancelable rate, you can still go back and check the rates after making the booking. If there’s new promotions or a significantly lower rate, it’s worth canceling the initial booking and making a new one.
BE NICE ABOUT YOUR SPECIAL REQUESTS
Always be nice and accommodating when it comes to special requests. Keep in mind that they are, indeed, requests. If you really, really want to celebrate your anniversary in a suite, book it and pay for it.
Many travelers nowadays have this weird sense of entitlement because of their platinum elite diamond fluffy unicorn-member statuses. Throwing that around is not nice.
Mention a special occasion or a request when communicating with the hotel, but leave it up to them to acknowledge or not. Most hotels will do a little something.
… AND ABOUT EVERYTHING
You’d be surprised how often hotel guests don’t raise a problem they encounter to the staff during their stay. If you don’t raise the issue, you’ll feel bummed not getting what you are paying for. And that’s a bummer for the hotel as well!
Telling the staff when you’re checking out will make them hope you would have told them earlier, so they could have had the possibility to fix the problem. Just be kind and polite about it! Some seem to think it’s appropriate to stay quiet and then write an appalling review on TripAdvisor afterwards. Not cool, people.
Phew, you made it all the way to the end! Share your best hacks with me in the comments.