Getting the Best Hotel Rate:
Following are some tips for getting the best hotel rates any time you travel. Your mileage may vary, and some hotels are more flexible than others, but these tips should keep you on the winning side of the bargaining table. Find the Best Hotel Deals Here
Ask for a lower rate
This sounds too simple, but it very often works like a charm. Ask whether the hotel is currently running any promotions or packages, and then see if any of the following special rates might apply: AAA, senior, family, hotel membership, weekend, government discount, frequent flier, convention, shareholder or corporate. Hotels sometimes even have what is called a “fallback” rate for travelers who are resisting the quoted rate.
Shop around online
You might think, with real-time information zooming across the Internet all the time now, that all of the online booking web sites would have exactly the same rates. Not so. In fact, I've often found vastly different rates for similar rooms at the same hotel on Travelocity, Expedia, and Quikbook. It's worth taking the few extra minutes to pull up the same hotel on a few different services and compare the prices. Jet Radar is a great website for finding awesome hotel deals.
Before You Bid – Priceline
Priceline can come through with ultra-low rates in a pinch. Before you bid on any hotels, check Bidding For Travel, a forum that can help you greatly increase your odds of getting a good Priceline value. Other travelers will tell you what prices they're getting successful bids on with particular hotels and cities. The advice there is invaluable and should always be your first stop before you place a Priceline bid. Also, be sure to see Beat the bidding System for a few tricks to getting the most out of Priceline.
Book by price, not by Hotel Chain
If you really don't care about a specific hotel, and just want the cheapest deal, you may want to consider choosing your own price on Priceline or going the anonymous route with Hotwire. On these sites you often won't know which hotel you're staying at until it's booked, but you can request the general location and quality (three-star, four-star, etc.) — and you could save a significant amount of money over other booking sites. Only downside is that their rating of a hotel might not be the same rating as you would give….I've learned this from experience with Hotwire.
Call the hotel directly
Many times specials are offered at the hotel that aren't available through the 1-800 central reservations system. The 800 agents have no direct access to room availability, and are often not authorized to negotiate. Hotel agents are generally more in touch with availability and specials, and are therefore more flexible with rates. Many chains allot only a select number of rooms to the central reservations system, so 800 agents may even tell you a hotel is sold out when in fact the hotel is discounting rooms because of low booking rates!
Quikbook lets you choose a hotel by inputting your dates of travel and your price range. Even in larger cities, you can find a room in a really nice hotel for as little as half of the rack rates.
Know the full cost
You may think you've found a great deal, but keep in mind that the base rate isn't the only thing that will determine your total bill. Be sure to ask what taxes, resort fees, parking costs, energy surcharges, and other odds and ends will apply to your final tally. Even if one hotel has a lower base rate, it may end up being a more expensive option once all the extras are added in.
Negotiating when you arrive?
Leave all your bags in the car. Don't haul all of your luggage into the lobby and then tell the agent that you'd just as soon go elsewhere if they can't bring their rates down. You'll look tired, hassled, sick of lugging bags, and ready to pay handsomely to unpack that suitcase.
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