How to Lower Your Hotel Bill

There are numerous ways you can lower your hotel bill, particularly since so many hotels are competing for your business these days.  Use the following tips to become more hotel savvy:

(1)  You can get the cheapest hotel rate if you call the hotel’s local number rather than their 800 number and negotiate with someone in authority, such as the manager rather than a reservations clerk.

(2)   The best time to make a hotel reservation is after 6 p.m. (4 p.m. in some cities) when the reservations of those who never showed up are erased from the database and newly available rooms are offered for significantly less. 

(3)  Hotel rooms are generally cheaper during the middle of the week than they are on the weekends due to higher demand.

(4)  Rather than booking a luxury hotel room, book a regular room and ask for a free upgrade when you arrive.  This is more possible if you are a regular customer or they have had cancellations or no-shows.

(5)  Ask about surcharges before you check in to a hotel.  Hotels will tack on all kinds of surcharges and fees to boost your bill tremendously without telling you at the time you make your reservation.  For example, a hotel might charge you for access to the swimming pool, fitness center, tennis court, Wi-Fi access, and such, and charge you as much as $50 extra per day without disclosing this at the beginning.  Mandatory tips, room service, and Internet access are other hidden costs that jack up your bill.  (It is a good idea to add 20 percent to what you think your hotel stay is going to cost you because of these hidden charges.)

(6)  Use websites like Tingo.com or Hotels.com to compare hotel room prices or let hotels compete for your business by making your hotel reservation through BackBid.com or at LuxuryLink.com.  Look for special package offers at hotel websites that offer reduced rates and perks. If you want to save some time, use the website Room77.com.  It scours the information at Expedia.com, Orbitz.com and Priceline.com to find the best deals on hotel rooms and other travel-related services.

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(7)  Travel during the off-season if you can when hotel rates are as much as 40 percent off.  For example, European hotel prices are significantly lower in September than they are during the summer months.  Hotels in Hawaii might be 50 percent less in the spring and fall when tourism declines.

(8)  Book a package deal that includes the airfare, hotel room and car rental through travel websites such as Travelocity.com or Priceline.com.  Use the Priceline or Travelocity app to find out what the cheapest room rates are.

(9)  Many of the major hotel chains will give you a 20 percent discount if you pay your hotel bill in full one or two weeks before your stay, but it is nonrefundable.
(10)  If you travel a lot you can join the hotel’s frequent visitor club and get reduced rates or free perks and might earn free hotel stays in the future.  Let the reservations clerk know that you have stayed in the hotel before since you might get a discount.

(11)  Save up to 30 percent through flash sale travel websites such as Jetsetter.com, but be aware that offers from flash sale websites for hotels and airline tickets are nonrefundable.

(12)  Hotels located on the outskirts of towns and cities are more than 50 percent cheaper than those in the center of town.

(13)  Tell the hotel reservations clerk that you are a teacher or in the military and you might receive a discount.  Take advantage of any discounts you might be entitled to through your professional affiliations or your membership in AAA, the AARP or other organization.

(14)  If you’re tired of the high price of hotels, consider exchanging homes with another person and save big, on average more than $200 per night.  Learn more about letting people stay in your home at HomeExchange.com.

Next topic:  Ways to Save Money on Travel