When traveling or on vacation, staying in a luxurious hotel room is ideal to many. Most of the time we have to pass up that option and go for a more moderate hotel because of the expense involved. There are many good ways to get great hotel rates, at a price you can afford. It does take some research, strategies and planning, but it can be done.
Regardless of the hotel you are looking at, weekends are generally their busiest time. Planning your stay during the week will help you get a much lower rate. You also need to do research to find out the slowest time of year for that given hotel and general location. Seasonal rates can take a large bite out of your wallet. Go off season, they will offer lower prices during that time period so that they can sell rooms rather than leaving them empty.
If you have any type of membership, such as AAA, AARP or military, you may be eligible for discounts at various hotels without being aware of it. Government employees and others like emergency personnel or firemen, may get significant discounts, just ask. Call the hotel ahead of time and ask them what discounts they offer. While you have them on the phone ask them to quote you the lowest price they can offer, compare this to different online sites.
Sometimes the hotel representative, on or off site, offers the best price and other times, usually most of the time, you will find it online. If you are more comfortable booking with the hotel directly, ask them to honor a price you found somewhere online to get great hotel rates. Many hotels offer discounts for people who have stayed with them before, even free nights or upgrades after you have stayed with them a certain amount of times.
Be sure and sign up for any rewards or points programs that are available. You may use this often or only once, it can make a huge difference in getting great hotel rates, room selections and other amenities, like a bag of homemade cookies, daily gifts or free meals.
If you will be staying at the hotel for several days at a time you will likely get special treatment. This could be a room close to or far away from the elevator, vending and ice machines or one with the best view. Make sure you mention the length of your stay and what you are interested in when you make the reservation. There is generally no extra cost for such features, just make sure you ask before you make the reservation.
When you arrive at the hotel you can ask them for a free upgrade. If they have the room available they may be able to honor your request. There is no guarantee that it will happen though, so be prepared that you may be in the exact room you paid for. If you are visiting the hotel in the off season or during the week you are more likely to get such an upgrade at no extra charge. Tell them you would like one of the ocean balcony or poolside rooms. Be friendly but persistent.
Many people plan their hotel arrangements well in advance. This is smart so that you are guaranteed a room. However, if you can get away with flexible days to stay, then you can keep a watchful eye on great hotel rates. You can grab some wonderful last minute deals on rooms online at various discount travel sites.
Sometimes, perhaps while on a road trip, you can try to work out a deal by simply walking into a hotel in the late evening to see what is still available. You have a good chance of working out a satisfactory discount since the room may go unused if they don't offer it to you. Too many people simply walk into a hotel, ask the price, and pay it without any negotiating or asking how to get great hotel rates.
Ask for corporate or small business rates, show them your card or just tell them the business name.
If there are others in your group, for example wedding or anniversary goers who will be staying at the same hotel for the weekend, you can ask for a group discount rate. In some cases the rooms all have to be paid for together but the majority of hotels will accommodate individual billing.
Remember these tips for great hotel rates. Always be assertive and persistent, armed with the knowledge that they want to make money and don't offer the type of savings that can be easily found. You have to ask for them.