BEST TIPS FOR FINDING THE BEST HOTEL DEALS
How many times have you thought that after looking for the best offer on flights, you have ended up paying a lot more for accommodation? Don’t you know how to save on accommodation and find the best hotel offers? The time has come to find the cheapest hotels or, rather, the hotel you want, even if it is the most expensive, at the best price.
Some of the tips below will be useful for long trips, others for weekend or short day breaks, but most are «timeless» and, although many seem like common sense to you, have you ever taken them into account?
If you miss that trick to find the cheapest hotel that always gives you good results, tell us in the comments and save all. And, keep in mind that it is a question of finding the best price in the ideal hotel... and we are very clear about how our ideal hotel is.
FLEXIBILITY TO SAVE ON HOTELS: TRAVEL IN MID-SEASON AND WEEKDAYS
One of those common sense hotel savings tips: avoid high occupancy dates. We already talked about it with the airplanes: if everybody wants to fly on a date, the airlines rub their hands and raise the prices… because the hotels do the same thing. Obviously you won’t always be able to choose the dates of the trip – weekend getaways are on weekends or holidays that the company requires – but if you can, don’t hesitate.
CONTROL THE SITE’S PARTIES
If you want to go to the Rio carnivals or Sydney New Year’s Eve, you’ll have to go to carnivals. But if you don’t care, travel to the city on another date: you’ll find a lot fewer people – and you’ll appreciate it – as well as better prices at the hotels. In many cases they are local or national festivals that, not being very well known outside their borders, will not increase the price of the airplane, but of the hotels by the tourists of the zone. It happened to us in Carcassonne: we went on a French festive bridge without knowing it, and the prices were much higher.
THE SEA… IN WINTER
If your intention when visiting a place with a coast is not to go to the beach, what do you think about going in winter? The sea tends to make the temperatures less extreme and the lack of tourists to lower hotel prices. We were in the Intercontinental Malta the week before Christmas for 50 euros a night.
THE SEASON MATTERS… BUT PAY ATTENTION TO THE WEATHER
I have already said that the high season is the worst time to find deals on hotels, how about going in low or medium season? Before you book your flight to Uzbeskistan in February -as we did- take a look at the weather forecast because flying not to leave the hotel is not saving money. Before you ask: we are «weirdos» and Uzbekistan in February enchanted us with its snowy mosques. In other places it will be the summer, plan to travel to Madrid in August and you will see the offers of hotels.
BUSINESS OR TOURISM? WEEKDAYS OR WEEKENDS?
It dismisses the idea that a weekend hotel is always more expensive. Some cities have much more business tourism, which fills their hotels during the week, than weekend travellers. Find out what your destination is and plan your trip to find the lowest occupancy and best hotel price. In any case, Sunday nights are usually the cheapest: tourists are gone and businessmen and women have not arrived.
IS IT NECESSARY TO STAY IN THAT CITY?
If you have to go in high season, when there is an event and there is no choice, do you have to stay in the center or even in the city? Think about staying in nearby towns which, although prices will also go up, will be cheaper. Having a coffee in Piazza San Marco in Venice is always more expensive than in Mestre…
WHEN TO BOOK TO FIND THE CHEAPEST HOTELS: BOOK EARLY… OR AT THE LAST MINUTE
Is it better to book well in advance or wait for the last-minute offer to save when booking a hotel? There is no exact science but, given that the last minute in the case of hotels starts in the afternoon of the day you want to stay, waiting until then may be a bit risky under the circumstances.
A TripAdvisor study on the best time to book a hotel at the best price – yes, they have only done the study for the summer -, gives these tips:
- In Europe prices skyrocket, booking between 3 and 5 months in advance can save 23% on hotel reservations.
- In the United States they remain stable and only 7% savings are achieved in the hotel booking with about 2 months.
- In Asia the conditions are the same as in Europe: 3 to 5 months for a 23% saving, although two weeks earlier you will find hotel offers again.
- In the Caribbean you can save up to 7% at the hotel by booking 4 months in advance.
- 3 months in Central America for 7%.
- 4 months in South America for 20%, with more savings in the last few weeks – if it works the last minute in the hotel-
- 4 months for the Middle East with 20% discount on hotel prices
- 5 months in Africa for 21%, although prices fall again with 2 weeks to go
- 5 months for Oceania to achieve hotel savings of 19% or more
You know, man forewarned is worth two and finds the best hotel prices.
ARE YOU REALLY SAVING ON YOUR ACCOMMODATION? QUALITY AND POSITION
Many times we go in search of the lowest hotel price and then we don’t stop to think if the hotel will be well located or if, simply, it is well in general.
We always start by looking at customers’ comments about the hotel in question. We have to say that they give us more confidence Booking because you can only leave a comment if you have made a reservation with them, while in TripAdvisor anyone can leave a comment, even without ever having gone through the front door.
Regarding the location, bear in mind that, in many destinations, urban transport – buses, metro, taxi…- can be very expensive and make us spend a lot of time. Time is money, even if you don’t pay for it, keep it in mind.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE OF THE HOTEL? CHEAP IS EXPENSIVE
As we told you in the case of car rental, you have to know what is included in the price of the hotel before you get excited about having found the best offer. Will you have to pay for the wifi or breakfast? Others include the transfer from and to the airport.
We also have to consider other things such as the fact that the reception is open 24 hours -or at least at the time we arrive-. If you’re looking for a swimming pool, a gym… Or something as «simple» as a room with a private bathroom. There are hotels that have rooms with shared bathroom or dormitories with prices that may seem dazzling but you have to know before you get the surprise when you arrive.
LEARN HOW TO USE PAGES LIKE BOOKING.COM
Finding the best hotel price by visiting the hotel pages of a one-to-one destination is impossible. First of all, because you will never know which are all the hotels and, secondly, because there is no material time. That’s why there are the reservation pages that offer all the accommodations and you can order them as you wish. We use Booking.com habitually: it is one of the biggest with more accommodations; there are both the big hotel chains and the small family hotels; the reservation is free and is paid in the hotel; and its customer service is quite efficient.
Once you have indicated your destination, the dates of your stay and the number of rooms -including how many adults and how many children- you can sort the results by distance to the centre; price; stars awarded by Booking.com; customer ratings; type of accommodation and facilities.
As I mentioned earlier, Booking.com ratings are only from people who have stayed in hotels, which makes them more realistic, and can also be filtered by type of traveler. To read the comments click on the score and, once in the comments screen, you can select the type of traveler that best suits you: solo travelers, couples, families, groups of friends or business travelers.
In addition to the search by destination, you can also search by hotel profile, among family hotels, spa hotels, budget hotels and backpackers, romantic hotels, business hotels, golf and sports hotels, beach hotels, design hotels and luxury hotels. Not to mention the apartments, resorts, villas and hostels. Nothing is left out of the search engine.
RESERVATION ON PAGES THAT ALLOW FREE CANCELLATIONS
In many cases, especially if you book months in advance looking for the best price, there may be last-minute problems or changes in plans. Of course, if you book a trip with so much time our advice is to take out a cancellation insurance, in addition to the usual travel insurance, because in addition to the hotel insurance you have other expenses – in any case, check the conditions under which the cancellation insurance is effective. But whenever you can, try to book with the free cancellation option. In the case of Booking.com it is indicated which hotels have this option included.
USE COMPARATORS LIKE HOTELSCOMBINED.COM
If a hotel reservation page is too small for you, try using the hotel comparators. As with airline tickets, a hotel comparator searches several pages to offer you the cheapest prices for the same room. Our first choice in this case is HotelsCombined.com.
After indicating your destination, dates and number of rooms -including the number of adults and children- you can filter the results by stars; by price, indicating a range; by type of accommodation; by score; by facilities; by themes -from boutique or luxury to cheap backpacker-; and by hotel chain. In addition to sorting the results by distance to the center; price -both lower to higher and higher to lower-; popularity; stars and customer ratings.
If you log in, it will offer you the best hotel offers of the day, store your preferences for future searches, send discounts…
SPEND MORE THAN ONE DAY IN A HOTEL, OFFERS FOR LONG STAYS
If you can spend several nights in the same destination, why shouldn’t you do it in the same hotel? Obviously, from that point of view, it doesn’t make sense, but if you’re going to move around a city it can be cheaper to stay in the same hotel every day and travel by car – look for the cheapest car rental and again take into account the travel time. In many hotels there are offers of third or fourth night for free – never in high season, everything can’t be done.
SEARCH FOR PROMOTIONAL CODES ON THE INTERNET
We know that they exist although we are still looking for them… but, like meigas, there are them because in many hotels there is a space in the reservation form in which to include a promotional code that you suppose a discount in the price. If you find one -or you’ve already found it- let us know and tell us how.
TRY TO BARGAIN WHERE YOU CAN TO SAVE IN YOUR HOTEL
We already talked about this in the article on how to save on travel: small hotels lose money with every free room starting in the afternoon. You can try to bargain a bit and get a better price. In many countries of the world, haggling is an «obligation» and no matter what time you arrive, you always have to try.
COMPARE HOTEL PRICES WITH TRAVEL PACKAGES
Have you ever seen an offer for a plane or a hotel that you thought was impossible? Especially in Cancun or Riviera Maya beach destinations. So do we. We still haven’t been able to take advantage of them due to lack of time, but we don’t rule it out for two reasons: because a single flight is almost more expensive and because hotels are usually very good. Once there you can move and even sleep somewhere else someday, you’ll still save money.
VACATION RENTAL APARTMENTS: A WAY TO SAVE ON ACCOMMODATION… OR NOT?
I still remember travelling with my parents in summer and spending 15 days on the beach. Can you imagine paying for 15 nights in a hotel? Crazy, not even with discounts for long stays. What my parents did was rent an apartment. Now it’s much easier with a lot of pages offering vacation rentals. You have to take into account the same thing as with hotels: that it’s good, that it’s close, what’s included… and the seriousness of the person on the other side. Also keep in mind that breakfast is not usually included and you won’t always have time to cook… you may not be interested in having a kitchen and a cheaper or better hotel.
You may not know it, but in Booking.com there are also rentals of this type and with direct confirmation at the time of booking, which is much more comfortable.
LOYALTY CARDS OF HOTEL CHAINS OR AIRLINES POINTS
If there is a hotel chain that you particularly like, find out if they have a loyalty programme. Even if you have more than one «favorite» chain, don’t forget to ask, many hotel chains are part of the same group even if they don’t advertise it. As with airlines, go adding points and get discounts, in many cases also offer special discounts for your birthday.
Another way to save in hotels thanks to loyalty cards is with the miles or points of the airlines. Almost all of them have agreements with several chains both to add points and to spend them on stays.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER OF HOTEL OFFERS
Finally, as we said with the airlines: subscribe to the newsletters of all the hotel chains and be the first to know about the offers. You won’t always be able to take advantage of them… but it never hurts to know that there is a 25% discount in Indonesian hotels.
Do you have any more? Tell us your trick to get the hotel at the best price in the comments.