You’ve found a good airfare; you don’t need a rental car; you’ve found some free (or nearly free) things to do in the city you’re visiting. You need to find a way to not spend a fortune on a hotel room. To help with your quest, here are five ways to avoid spending too much on your hotel:
Don’t bypass the packages
Even if you’re not on your honeymoon, you can generally take advantage of the honeymoon package–or other special interest packages–at your hotel. You might be traveling alone on business instead of with the one you love on your honeymoon, but you’ll likely still eat breakfast, need transportation to and from the airport and enjoy a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider. When you compare the prices of the items in the package you’ll use plus the room rate, you’ll often find the package (even a honeymoon package) is a good deal. For example, the Hilton Times Square in New York City is currently offering a Times Square package that is $10 less than the lowest room rate and includes a bag of coupons good at attractions and restaurants in the Times Square area.
Don’t ignore the free stuff
Hotels offer freebies just like the groceries and big box stores do. Holiday Inns in the United States offer “Kids Eat Free” promotions at most of their properties, where children under 12 can eat for free when dining with an adult. Business travelers can take advantage of free Internet access, free newspapers and free breakfasts offered by a myriad of hotels, including Hampton Inns, Comfort Inns and Fairfield Inns. Need transportation to and from the company you’re visiting for business? Many hotels in suburban business centers offer free shuttles to points within a three or five-mile radius of the hotel. Ignoring the free stuff is like leaving money on the table.
Ask about Discounts
Many hotels offer discounts to a laundry list of associations and businesses…but you have to ask for them. Are you a member of AARP, or AAA, or the American Bar Association? Ask if the hotel offers a discount for members. Do you own or work for a small business? Don’t think that your company is too small to qualify for a corporate discount. Many hotels offer “generic” corporate rates. All you have to do is show a business card.
Social Media meets Travel
The explosion of online coupon sites, like Groupon and Living Social, are starting to offer travel discounts. If you’re not familiar with these sites, you should know they make significant savings available to those who purchase an online coupon. A pre-determined number of people must purchase the offer for it to be valid; if they do, everyone gets the discount. Recent Groupon hotel discounts have included a 50 percent discount at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas and a 50 percent discount at the trendy Standard Hotel in Miami Beach.
Ask for the best rate at check in
Despite all of your best efforts to find the lowest hotel price, sometimes the best rates go to those who simply ask one last time at check in if they have the best rate. It sounds too simple, but the hotel counter agent often has authority to discount a room that the people at the 800 number or your travel agent or Expedia.com don’t have. Just ask at check in if there is a lower rate available than the one you have. Nothing ventured, nothing gained…and you just might be pleasantly surprised.