Look at the entire package when comparing rates. Below are some questions that could be surprising if the answers show that more expensive is not always more value.
Does the hotel include any meals as part of your room rate ?
If breakfast is included, is it Continental, full or hot or cold whole buffet ?
Does the hotel offer free or special prices for children ?
How about seniors discounts ?
Do they offer free, in room coffee, morning newspapers or complimentary evening cocktails ?
Does the hotel have other features such as a pool, fitness or tennis courts that could offer an inexpensive or free day of entertainment by just staying around the hotel ?
Do they have golf, tennis or spa packages that will allow you to save, instead of booking them separately with outside vendors ?
Is the hotel location easy to get to, or do they have shuttle service to save cab fare or possibly the need for a rental car ? Shuttle service will save parking fees and gas, if a car is not absolutely necessary..
Do they offer laundry services or at least loan irons, ironing boards, hair dryers or other items that might help to lighten your luggage needs ?
Does the hotel provide other amenities such as in room coffee makers, refrigerators or kitchenettes, so that some meals can be taken in your room ? This feature could save you money and become a major benefit.
Try to make a reservation as soon as you have decided when you will travel. The cheapest rates are usually available well in advance and they will go quickly.
Being as flexible about your travel plans as you can and you may save money.
The lowest rates are during the low season or at times when the hotel normally has empty rooms. Business type hotels in the downtown area will usually have special deals on weekends. Resorts are the opposite and often have their specials during the week.
Always ask about weekly rates, rather than daily and weekend specials, if applicable.
If you need two rooms, ask about a suite. They may have a suite that meets your needs and would be cheaper than two separate rooms. Be careful though. You'll need to check on the bathroom arrangement. Sometimes suites only provide one bathroom, which could be inconvenient.
Browse the Internet for the fastest and easiest way to compare hotel rates and find the best deals.
Consider booking through a consolidator. Major consolidators buy large blocks of rooms and usually will offer large discounts to the individual consumer.
Check a national chain’s 800 number, but also check with the individual hotel directly. One may be offering a special that the other is unaware of. Always ask if this is the best rate available.
Consider booking a package. You can probably save money by booking a room in conjunction with a flight, rental car, sightseeing or event ticket combination.
Take advantage of any discount program that you are eligible for.
Calling in advance is best rather than just showing up. When you call they know it’s easy for you to keep making calls until you find the best deal. They probably will offer their best deal at that time. Just showing up, they have you! They may quote a higher rate knowing that you’re less likely to leave to shop around for a better deal.
Let them know that you are calling around and comparison shopping. Ask for the best rate available.
If you know that there are a surplus of rooms, remind the hotel that something is better than nothing.
Rack rate refers to the highest or full price the hotel will can for a room. Never pay the full rack rate because there is always some discount available on every room. You just need to find it! To find the rack rate for your room, look on the inside of the room’s door.
Most coupons are only good for a certain percentage off the highest or "rack" rate, so using them might not be a bargain. When using a coupon or discount that only applies to the full or rack rate, check the current "special" regular rate for the room. It may be lower than the "deal" that the discount or coupon offers.
The coupon has very limited use. Read the fine print carefully. The discount probably won’t be honored with an advance reservation.
Space available does not necessarily mean the same as "rooms available". Many hotels limit the number of coupons that they will accept at any one time. Even though there may be many rooms available when you arrive, they can still deny the discount if their allotment of "space available" rooms is full.
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