This is really two questions: 1) What booking method will get you the best hotel deals? and 2) What types of hotels usually have the best deals? Let’s take ‘em separately.
What booking method will get you the best hotel deals?
There are different schools of thought on this. The reason is that there is no single method that is guaranteed to get you the best hotel deal every single time. However, there are definitely some methods that are better than others!
Here are our best recommendations for how to book the best hotel rates, from top to bottom:
- Use a booking site with a great rewards program. Hotel Engine is a new booking site that offers the same rates as the top online travel agencies, but has an awesome rewards program where you can earn up to 10% back on every reservation.
- Call the hotel directly. Hotels face stiff competition from online booking sites, which of course take a cut of the profit. Often, the managers have some leeway in determining room prices, so you can be rewarded for taking the time to call directly.
- Use a travel search engine. Sites like Kayak don’t actually book hotel rooms for you—they are simply search engines that find the lowest publicly available rates. Often you can find excellent deals on search engines, but the results are variable.
- For bundled trips, use an online travel agency. Online travel agencies, like Orbitz and Expedia, are best when you want to book your hotel room, your flight, and maybe your rental car together. But they don’t always have the best prices for each of the individual pieces.
What types of hotels usually have the best deals?
So, that’s how too book, now let’s look at where to book. Even in expensive cities, there are always ways to find better prices. The trick is to research specific properties and keep your options open.
In no particular order, here are several types of properties that often have great deals on rooms.
- New hotels. New hotels, especially in popular areas, want to steal customers from existing hotels, and they will often do so by offering great introductory rates.
- Hotels undergoing renovation. Many people think of renovation as meaning all dust and noise, but that usually happens during the day, when you are probably not in the room anyway. If you are willing to put up with minor inconveniences, like having to walk up the stairs, you can usually find some great deals here.
- Hotels farther away from the hot spots. Especially if you are visiting a city with a good public transportation network, expand the geographical boundaries of your search. Staying in San Francisco’s Union Square can cost you a pretty penny, but head to the Civic Center area and you can find a better deal. Plus, you get the extra fun of riding the cable car!
- Hotels that cater to businesspeople. Business hotels, like Club Quarters properties, don’t always have spacious rooms and full-service amenities, but they do often have great deals. This works particularly well on weekends, when business travel is less robust.
Finding great rates on hotel rooms is really just a matter of knowing where to look. These guidelines can help you narrow your search to the most likely candidates, so you can spend more time enjoying your trip than you do booking it.
Sign up at Hotel Engine today for the best hotel rates, plus for a limited time get a $10 credit as our way of saying “Welcome aboard!”
Photo Credits: “Hotel Lobby” by Sofitel Macau At Ponte 16 [CC-BY-SA-3.0]; “Hotel Bristol” by Cezary p [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons; “Bellagio Outside” by Blane [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons