Where you sleep at night is one of your major fixed travel expenses, so learning how to save money on accommodation will help you to keep more money in your pocket for spending on activities and experiences. If you’re looking for a cheap hotel room, it’s only gotten more difficult over the years.
Read on for our hotel industry gems, guaranteed to save you money on your next trip!
The tips and tricks how to save money on hotel bookings:
Book Early – First, you should try to book the hotel as early as possible. If you have more time to look for hotels, you’re more likely to find a cheap deal. Incidentally, in the season hotel prices fall as good as ever. Therefore, you do not need to wait for a bargain here.
You can also compare different available dates in the hotels to get the best deal. Sometimes certain events take place in the respective city, so that the hotels are largely booked out and thus the prices rise. A week later it may look different again. So if you are a bit flexible in terms of time, it is worth comparing prices on different dates.
People travel for a variety of reasons. Accordingly, there are also many different target groups, hotels try to address. Business hotels, for example, are usually more expensive during the week than at weekends, while hotels that appeal to more tourists a week can be very cheap. And since most reservations are refundable up until a few days before check-in, there is no harm in securing the lowest rate as early as possible.
Comparison sites (hotel meta search) usually give the best price – Check the top comparison sites to see who’s selling it cheapest – the same room can be sold at vastly different prices. Here are our three top pick sites:
- Try our hotel meta search tool – they tend to be cheapest.
- We love also HotelsCombined – they find the best hotel deals
- On Momondo you can compare also hotel rates of different hotel booking sites
- Popular review site TripAdvisor lets you read reviews and do quick comparis
Beware of hidden taxes and charges – Some brokers hide the true cost of a stay until the final booking page. In some cases, the first time you’ll find out the true figure is at the hotel.
Hotel loyalty programs – Perhaps the best way to bring down room rates is to take advantage of programs that many hotels put in place in the wake of the recent economic crises, when courting loyalty was key to survival. Joining hotels’ often-free loyalty programs can yield you room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts and drinks, spa credits, free Wi-Fi, early arrival, and late check-in—in short, everything you need to stretch your dollar further.
Travel off-season – Summer may be the best time to visit Europe, and winter’s great in the Caribbean, but I try to travel in the shoulder seasons – just before or after peak season. Prices are low, the weather is nice, shops and restaurants are open and happy to see you, and there are few other people around. Shoulder seasons might not be the warmest or sunniest, but the prices are far better.
Figure out what you want – Don’t pay for a swish reception and room service if you just want a room. Don’t go 5 star if 3 star facilities fulfill your needs.
Be flexible with your plans – If you want to travel to a certain place, be flexible about the timing. If you want to travel at a certain time, be flexible about the location. Choose one — not both.”
Stay over Sunday – Many hotels receive Friday and Saturday night accommodation bookings from leisure travelers and Monday-Friday bookings from their business travelers so there can be a void on Sunday nights meaning possible lower prices.
Stay mid-week – In certain locations like Las Vegas, and our own big cities in Australia, avoiding the peak Friday and Saturday night periods is a strategic way to save money on accommodation – so avoid the big cities over a weekend if possible.
Get online – Social media sites, review sites and forums are great ways to get recommendations find the best deals and find out about real-life experiences. Search online for discount coupon codes that will save you money when booking online.
Bundle your hotel and flight booking – Booking your flight and hotel together can sometimes lead to savings. Sites like Expedia and ebookers give cheaper rates for packages when you book hotel and flight together. It’s a tip we use very often, as it can lead to savings on both hotels and flights.
Hotel rebook trick – if you book with free cancellation, you can save if the price drops – Whether you’ve booked via a travel agent or direct with the hotel, often you’re able to cancel for free up to a certain point, typically 24-48 hours before your stay starts. (If you don’t have free cancellation, you may be able to take advantage of sites’ price promises. If you book or have booked a room, you can save by cancelling if the price drops after you’ve booked. Simply cancel the original booking, then rebook at the cheaper price. Often this can work with the site you booked with. Most booking sites like booking.com and hotel websites give you a non-refundable and a free cancellation option for each room type. Non-refundable rooms tend to be cheaper, so you’ll need to weigh up if paying more for free cancellation is worth it.
Monitor the latest World-Traveler-Club hotel deals – We spend our days looking for the best of the best travel deals, with our eyes peeled for killer flight deals, hot hotel rates, cruise deals, discounts and bargains and more… Our favourite part is being able to share the deals with people like you. Our hotel deal blog helps you cut the cost of any hotel worldwide, but it’s always worth looking out for special one-off promotions which can save you a packet. Keep your eyes peeled for discounts and deals on our Hotel Deals page – and, of course, make sure you’re signed up to our membership e.g. for deal alerts
Skip the chain hotel – We suggest you not stay at big expensive brand hotels. They offer very little value, and there are many better alternatives available at no chain hotels. Also yo.u can often bargain. And they are more flexiable.
Plan ahead – The majority of bargains are bagged in advance, and if you have the flexibility to plan far ahead, take advantage of it.
Call the Hotel – While airline representatives might start laughing at you if you try to negotiate a lower fare, a hotel manager will take your request seriously if he expects to have unsold rooms. Your ability to receive a lower rate will be better if you are a frequent guest or are booking multiple rooms. As an alternative, you might be able to ask for a larger room, but at the standard rate.
Search for Coupon Codes – Hotels don’t regularly offer coupons, but if you search, sometimes you can find coupon codes for third-party booking sites that will score you a cheaper room. Big hotel booking sites (like Hotels.com, ebookers, etc.) offers frequently discount codes. “For instance, in our forum you will find some discount codes (10% off) for hotels at Hotels.com or booking.com.
Time for an upgrate – If you’re asking for an upgrade, the best time to do so is if you check in around 6 p.m., by which time hotel clerks know which of the better rooms are going to go vacant for the night.
Look for special deals and promotions – Speaking of deals….This is holiday booking season so it’s a great time to be looking out for hotel special offers. You can use these offers to bag a bargain hotel or step up to something more luxurious than you’d originally intended. Here you will find always top hotel deals!
Compare the rates – You will often need to book directly with a hotel through its website or over the phone if you’re booking a corporate discount. Be sure to comparison shop, such as at online travel agencies, to make sure the corporate rate is the best deal for you. Our online hotel meta price search find for you the best hotel deal
Location, location, location – Ask yourself how important your location is? We’d all love to be snoozing on the doorstep of one of the world’s most iconic landmarks or within the heart of a buzzing old town, but this can be very expensive. Sometimes you need this if you’re taking a quick Weekender and you don’t have much time to spend negotiating public transport. But in the surroundings accommodation are much cheaper.
Extend your stay – If you have ever seen a calendar grid of hotel room prices, you know that prices change from day to day and from room to room. If you decide to extend your stay — or shorten it — doing the advance research on how much your room costs for the night or nights in question can be extremely helpful.
Call receptions – In case the hotel is a chain, be sure to call the hotel’s front desk directly because its workers are empowered to cut a deal on the spot. Don’t call the chain’s toll free reservations hotline, because its staffers are unlikely to negotiate.
Best price – Many of the major booking sites offer a “best price guarantee” for flights, lodging, car rentals and more; this can mitigate the hassle and anxiety of searching for a rate on a booking site, then checking the hotel site, then checking the discount sites, etc. This way, if you see a good deal and want to book it straight away, you have options if you later find the same room for a better price elsewhere. Expedia, for example, will refund the difference if you find a cheaper room within 24 hours of booking, and give you a $50 travel coupon; book a room, then see if there is a better price out there when you have a little time (within 24 hours, of course).
Stay more than one night – Stay more than 1 night in your accommodation – Many accommodation providers offer their best deals when you stay more than one night. Often we’ve had deals like stay 4 nights, pay for 3. Especially in the off-season.
Stay in a nearby town or outside the city center – Smaller towns nearby to your destination or staying slightly outside of city centers will almost always save you money on the cost of hotels and apartments. If you don’t mind the short commute you might save a bundle. Again location is key when choosing accommodation, so make sure you have access to local cafes and restaurants.
Hotel Facilities – What facilities does your accommodation have? – Does your accommodation have free WiFi, free airport shuttle, free breakfast, free cable TV, laundry facilities, a pool, BBQ areas, private rooms with en-suites, a tour booking desk, 24-hour reception? Is there a fridge, coffee machine? A fridge can be great for storing and reheating leftovers which saves you money on eating out. All these features add up when you’re trying to save money on accommodation!
Use accommodation reward programs – If you frequently visit the same hotel chains or booking sites, join their rewards or membership program. We can’t say which is the best program, it depends on your travel frequency, how and where you travel, and what your priorities are.
Make your own breakfast – If your hotel doesn’t provide free breakfast, buy (or bring from home) a few packs of instant oatmeal. You can cook it in the microwave if your hotel has one; if not, use the coffee maker or tea kettle to heat some water for an easy meal.
Use Credit Card Reward Points – Check the program and benefits for your particular credit card, you might be able to use your points for accommodation costs.
Sign up for e-newsletter deals – Subscribe via email to your favorite booking sites. They often distribute deals and special coupons only to their email subscribers and members.
Sign up for alerts on price drops – When you don’t have the time to keep a close eye on prices, sign up for alerts through websites like Tripadvisor Hotels.com, ebookers and Kayak. They’ll take care of the work for you, emailing you when the prices start to drop while ensuring that they don’t flood your inbox.
Delete your cookies/history – When searching for cheap accommodation deals, use a different browser or go incognito before looking up prices a second time on a particular booking site. Websites store your search data and when you come back they know you are more likel.
Apartment Rentals – If you’re traveling with friends or family and don’t need a concierge, maid service, and other hotel amenities, this is the ideal accommodation option. Furnished apartment rentals have become enormously popular in recent years because they’re easy to book via the Internet and they often cost half the price of a hotel on a per-person basis. Plus, you get a kitchen, allowing you to cook and reduce food costs.y to book as a repeat visitor and will charge you more.
Ask for Fee Waivers – Many hotels earn most of their money from business travelers, and are eager to earn their repeat business. Ironically, these business travelers have their stays paid by their companies or clients, so they have little incentive to ask for a break on charges like parking, breakfast or internet fees. This is why price sensitive travelers can have a surprising amount of success asking to have these charges removed, especially if the hotel has disappointed them in some way.
Discounts – Ask your favorite hotel to keep you updated on deals and discounts as they come up. Ask for a discount when paying cash: again preferable for the hotel who gets out of having to pay commission to the credit card company. Ask for a discount for longer stays: longer than 4 nights and you’re well within your right to ask for a special deal on the price. Get to know the staff – they’ll be more likely to knock off charges and throw in freebies.
Buy Someone else’s reservations – Some sites likeor Cancelator allows you to purchase other travelers’ unwanted hotel room reservations at a cut rate. “The site connects you with travelers who are stuck with a reservation they can’t cancel, but are willing to sell and transfer the reservation at a discount.” The site offers discounts of up to 74 percent.
Breakfast – Opt out of breakfast if it’s optional: hotel breakfasts rarely offer value for money.
Cancellation policy – Check the hotel’s cancellation policy. If you need to cancel give them the notice they specified otherwise you’ll get charged.
When is the best time to book a hotel? – That all depends. As already mentioned, different hotels appeal to different clientele. In business hotels you can usually get very good and cheap last minute bargains. Holiday hotels and resorts, on the other hand, should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance to receive rich early bird discounts. This is simply because business people tend to book their hotels on short notice due to spontaneous meetings or business trips, while vacationers often plan their vacation long in advance. But it can still be that even large holiday homes offer a last minute bargain. So you should always keep your eyes open.
Here you can compare hotel rates and booking sites: