If you are booking hotels for your forthcoming trip, chances are, like the majority of people, you are looking for accommodation to fit within your allocated budget. Accommodation costs can eat heavily into your overall budget, so finding ways to save money when booking where to stay is a win win situation and leaves you with surplus money to be spent in other areas of your trip.
There are various tricks and resources available to enable you to find the best deals when booking hotels, and the following are a list of my top tips.
BOOKING HOTELS : GUIDE TO FINDING THE BEST DEAL
Choose The Right Hotel For Your Needs
Before you begin your search, it is imperative that you have a clear idea of the type of accommodation you are actually looking for. It is pointless finding a great hotel at an even more attractive price, if it doesn’t fit your requirements.
Start by asking yourself the following questions :-
1. What is your budget for the entire stay?
2. What is the purpose of your trip?
Will the hotel function merely as a place to rest your head at night with you spending the rest of your time sightseeing. Or are you looking for somewhere to relax and luxuriate in, while recharging your batteries and enjoying the finer things in life.
This will help to highlight the grade of hotel that will best match your criteria.
3. How important is your location?
Are you short on time and looking to be centrally located to the main sights or are you happy to use public transport and travel into the city centre.
4. What extra facilities are important to you?
How vital are things like free WiFi, free breakfast, laundry facilities, a pool, gym, in-room fridge, on-site restaurant and airport transfers.
Once you answer these questions, you will have a clear picture of your needs and will be starting your hotel search on the correct basis, thereby saving valuable time.
The next step is to find a shortlist of about 3 hotels that you are interested in booking. A great place to start in your search is Trip Advisor which also enables you to read detailed customer reviews and ratings of past stays. Tourism Boards are an excellent place to locate accommodation and you can also gain inspiration from checking out our Pinterest Board – Worldwide Hotels.
Once you have a short list of suitable hotels, go onto the hotel’s official website, put in your chosen dates and get a “direct” price for your stay, which is the baseline or starting price to beat.
FACTORS INFLUENCING THE PRICE OF YOUR STAY
Apart from the star rating of a hotel, other factors will increase the cost of your booking, including :-
It makes sense that a room in a hotel located in a city centre, close to iconic landmarks is going to be pricier than one located in a nearby neighbourhood. Using Singapore as an example, a hotel in Marina Bay Sands will be more expensive than one situated in Chinatown. Bear in mind
2. CHOSEN DATES
Peak periods including bank holidays, school holidays, special events (festivals etc), and Friday or Saturday nights will all be charged at higher rates.
3. LENGTH OF STAY
Hotels usually reward you with the best deals, for stays of more than one night.
BOOKING HOTELS AND HOW TO MAKE SAVINGS
1. SIGN UP FOR HOTEL LOYALTY SCHEMES
Many hotel chains offer free to join loyalty schemes, which result in special offers for its members. Examples include Intercontinental Hotel Group Rewards Club, Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards. I am a member of these as well as Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle, and have enjoyed upgrades, free stays and restaurant discounts as a preferred member. For regular travellers it can take some time to accumulate free stays but the other benefits still make joining worthwhile.
2. GET SPECIAL OPENING RATES ON NEW HOTELS
When a new hotel opens its doors, it typically offers special introductory rates to attract custom, and these rates can mean the difference between affording 5 star luxury or not. Check websites such as Hotel News Resources and Hotel Designs, for news of upcoming hotel openings, and sign up to main hotel group social media accounts to be kept up to date.
3. GRAB A BARGAIN DURING THE CORINTHIA HOTEL ANNUAL SALE
Follow Corinthia Hotel Group on social media so you don’t miss their annual January sale, in which you can usually benefit from rates of up to 50% off their Best Available Rate across their range of 5 star hotels. If you fancy a stay in Malta, Budapest, Lisbon, Prague, London or St Petersburg, then grab a bargain with the best part being that your stay is valid until the end of that year. Book directly through Corinthia Hotels and join their loyalty scheme while you are at it.
4. SIGN UP FOR SHORT-TERM HOTEL DEALS
Free to join, member-only sites such as Secret Escapes and Travelzoo offer short-lived discounts on luxury worldwide hotels at up to 70% discounted rates. All you have to do is become a member, log in and check the current sales.
For example, I found a Superior queen Room at Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, for £67/night per person with Secret Escapes. A 3 night stay with breakfast costs £402.00, compared with £563.89 booked directly and £479.00 (room only) booked through Expedia.
Always do a price comparison check to make sure you are happy with the deal you are getting before booking.
5. TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF HIGH SEASON
High Season is dictated by school holidays, events/festivals and weather, and is when a high level of visitors are expected to visit a country. Accommodation prices are often inflated, as hotels have little to no trouble filling their rooms. if your schedule permits, travelling outside of the busy season will result in lower prices, less tourists and lower car rental prices.
6. CHOOSE YOUR DAYS WISELY
Whenever possible when booking hotels, avoid Friday and Saturday nights in favour of stays from Sunday to Thursday to get the best price deals. Hotel stays are cheaper mid-week and Sunday nights are harder for hotels to fill. If you are planning a weekend away then it will be cheaper to stay Saturday to Monday. Many hotels also offer 4 nights for the price of 3 which is a win win situation.
7. STAY OUTSIDE THE CITY CENTRE
In countries that have efficient and cheap transport systems it can be cheaper for you to choose a non-central location and travel in/out each day. We stayed at the Hilton in Reykjavik, Iceland and saved money just by either walking or taking the bus back into the centre, even in Mid-December.
8. CHOOSE YOUR HOTEL WISELY
When you have a clear idea of your needs, you can ensure that you are not paying for services you don’t want to take advantage of. If a Michelin-Star Restaurant, gym, pool, concierge or laundry facilities are not on your list, then a boutique hotel with 3 stars will still offer a great stay at a lower price.
9. AVOID PAYING EXTRA CHARGES
Be sure to check the price includes everything you are looking for, such as late check-out, free use of the gym and storage of luggage if you have a late flight. This way you will not have any ‘extra charges’ to pay.
10. PLAN AND BOOK AHEAD
If when you are booking hotels you are in a position to book at least 6 months in advance then bargains are to be had. Having the flexibility to do this will reap rewards with some hotels allowing you to book up to a year in advance.
11. USE COMPARISON SITES FOR THE BEST DEALS
Hotel price comparison sites offer great deals when booking hotels. One of the best sites is Trivago, which searches prices from numerous hotels and booking websites. When you find a price you like, you click the link and it takes you to the appropriate booking site where you complete the booking process. Another good site to use is HotelsCombined which also checks prices across top travel sites such as Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com and Agoda.
Be sure to check reviews on TripAdvisor and check with the hotel website to ensure you cannot either price match or lower the quote.
It is imperative that you click through to check the final breakdown price before booking as some booking sites show the price minus vat, room tax, service charge or property service charge.
12. BOOK OPTION WITH FREE CANCELLATION
The rates provided by booking sites will usually be a non-refundable price which tends to be cheaper, or a free cancellation price, which allows you to cancel typically 24-48 hours before the start of your stay. Using the free cancellation price ensures that you are locked in at that price, but enjoy flexibility, which means that you can keep shopping around to see if you can find a better deal. If you find a cheaper price simply cancel your booking, obviously after you have secured the alternative!
Check the terms and conditions carefully to ensure the offer is a free cancellation one. I use Booking.com as they have a free cancellation policy for the majority of their room bookings and you only pay when you reach the hotel, which ensures that you don’t have to factor in any currency fluctuations.
13. BECOME A REGISTERED USER OF BOOKING SITES
I hope that these 13 booking hotel tips will enable you to make savings on your next trip. Hopefully you can grab some great affordable hotel deals, get the best value for money and make your budget spread further.
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