With such fierce competition in the hotel market, how can you be sure you are getting the best really cheap hotel deals available?
You might assume that the best way to get a good hotel deal is to book online. However, you will often find that you can get even better really cheap hotel deals if you’re prepared to put in a few phone calls to the hotels directly. There are definitely great deals online, and it makes sense to do your research in this way, but picking up the phone could get you a better deal, whether it’s a cheaper price, a better room or breakfast included. Prices fluctuate hourly and daily, so do keep checking if you have the time.
Do Your Research
The best place to start looking for really cheap hotel deals is online. Websites such as booking.com and trivago.com will allow you to search using your dates or your location, and you can further refine your search to look for specific types of hotel, facilities, star rating and price. Checking locations on Google Earth can be quite revealing, too; you can see just how close that hotel is to the motorway!
Compare The Comparison Sites
Yes, even the comparison sites vary in price for the same room in the same hotel on the same dates, so don’t assume that you’ve been given the best price that is available. Once you’ve booked, keep checking the hotel’s prices. If they drop significantly, you can always cancel your room and rebook it at the lower price. Make sure you know what the hotel’s cancellation policy is first, however; many hotels let you cancel up to 24 or 48 hours without penalty, but this isn’t always the case.
Look For “Secret” Hotels
Reviews left for the hotel on sites like Trip Advisor can be a good source of information. In addition to reviewing the hotel, guests often include tips about which rooms to ask for or which ones to avoid, comments on customer service, and more specific information about location and facilities that may not appear on the hotel’s website. You might be attracted by really cheap hotel deals, but if it turns out the hotel backs on to a delivery yard, it won’t seem like such good value when you’re woken up by a stream of lorries throughout the night.
Cancel And Rebook
Sometimes your hotel room will get cheaper just before your travel date as the hotel tries to sell of unsold rooms. If this happens, check the terms and conditions of your booking. Usually it is free to cancel your hotel room 24-48 hours before your check-in date. Do the maths (taking into account currency fluctuations) and if its cheaper to cancel, do so and rebook at the lower price. This is a great way to save money on your booking.
Pick Up The Phone
Once you’ve seen one you like, speak to the hotel directly. Search websites may charge a commission, so you might be able to get the room cheaper by booking with the hotel. You might also be able to negotiate extras like dinner or breakfast or even a better price or a room upgrade. This applies to last-minute breaks in addition to those planned further in advance. Hotels often have their own special offers that aren’t necessarily shown on comparison sites or even the hotel’s own website.
Avoid The Busiest Times
Hotels have their busy times at Christmas, Easter and school holidays. The Money Advice Service recommends booking outside of these times. Rooms can be significantly cheaper during the week, except business hotels, which can save you money if your dates aren’t fixed or you’re not planning a weekend stay. Special packages and deals like an overnight stay with spa treatments are usually cheaper if you can avoid staying Saturday night. Hotels in city business districts will be full during the week but will have plenty of availability on weekends and during holiday periods, which is a great opportunity to get a good rate.
Check Your Loyalty Cards
Supermarket schemes like Nectar or Tesco Clubcard often have deals with hotel groups, so if you’ve saved up lots of points, you can use them to save money or upgrade to a better room. You can also sign up for hotel groups directly, such as Marriott or Hilton. Members can benefit from deals, discounts and advance warning on upcoming offers and sales. You should also consider subscribing to sites that offer specific deals, like luxury hotels or last-minute offers. If you’re prepared to book a room in an unnamed hotel, there are sites that allow just that, and you can still specify star rating and location.
Look For Hidden Charges
When you’re booking, check that there are no hidden extras such as surcharges for paying with a credit card, parking fees, cancellation charges, or other taxes if you’re travelling abroad. If you’re not sure, speak to the hotel directly if you can. Really cheap hotel deals can be quite specific in terms of dates or days of the week, so be very sure the prices do apply to your required dates to avoid any nasty surprises. It’s worth checking your bank or credit card statements to check that you’ve been charged the right amount; mistakes happen.