Is it too late to close a hotel deal this summer? Not if you follow these foolproof tips

For those looking for a deal on a hotel room, it turns into a never-ending summer of frustration. But rest assured: there are still ways to earn a cheaper stay.

Accommodation prices have hit record highs in recent weeks, as travelers hit the road again, even with growing concerns about the COVID-19 delta variant. The average daily room rate reached $ 141.75 for the week ending July 24, according to STR, a company that tracks hospitality industry data. In contrast, in April 2020, the rate was as low as $ 73.04.

In other words, hotels are now less inclined to give discounts because the supply-demand equation is now to their advantage. Still, travel experts say those who apply a few simple strategies can save a few dollars or even a little more.

What kind of strategies? Continue reading …

Membership Programs

There are a few standard hotel discounts that can often be applied, such as AAA or AARP membership (even without the latter, seniors may still be eligible for a lower rate). In addition, government employees or members of the military (retired or active) can benefit from special prices. Often times you can do better than these basic options, but they’re still a good place to start and use for comparison.

Do not accept the first prize

We don’t really need to tell you in 2021 that the internet is a good place to get a hotel deal. But you have countless ways to search for these deals, whether through individual discounters, such as Priceline or Expedia, or through aggregation sites, such as Kayak and Trivago. It’s worth comparing what the different sites offer, says Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer’s Guidebooks, because they “all make sausage in a different way”. At the same time, Frommers.com does a full site ranking and currently ranks HotelsCombined as its top choice.

Be flexible about recording

The more you lock yourself into a vacation plan, whether that’s when or where you travel, the more you limit your discount options. This summer, travelers head to the beaches and mountains, as they often do in the warmer months, so it can be more difficult to save money there. But cities remain a valid option, especially because business travel has not fully recovered and that means demand is still lagging behind. Plus, play the timing game: prices may vary depending on when you check in. A Kayak study found that Sunday is still the cheapest option.

Remain a city

Staying in a city a few miles from your favorite destination can also save you money, as long as you’re willing to drive a bit more or look for other ways to get to where you want to be. Budget-conscious travelers visiting New York are known to stay across the Hudson River in New Jersey (there are plenty of public transportation options available). After all, how much time do you spend in your hotel room, anyway?

Play the points game

If ever there was a time to research how many points you have in your hotel rewards programs, it could be this one. This is because although the cost may fluctuate for a room night by night, the “price” of the reward may not vary, although there are exceptions. Essentially, your rewards can go a lot further this summer. Nick Ewen, editor-in-chief of The Points Guy travel website, explains that if you’re going to really popular destinations, like Hawaii or Miami, it “could be a great time to use your points.” But he advises doing the math first and seeing what the cost of a room is in cash versus points, based on the dollar value per point for a given program.

Prepare your trip

Traditionally, there are discounts when you combine hotel stays with flights and car rentals. That may be less true these days, especially with packages that include car rentals, which have become extremely expensive lately. But Pauline Frommer says hotel and plane package values ​​may apply to certain destinations, such as the Caribbean. The key, she says, is to assess the costs separately to make sure the savings are real.

Don’t forget Airbnb

Staying in homes rented through Airbnb or similar platforms has been a great way to save on accommodation. As with many others this summer, travelers are finding that this is no longer always the case. Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that Airbnb recently introduced new search tools that allow you some flexibility (there is still this idea) in terms of dates and destinations, which can help you find cheaper options. Also, you can book many hotels through Airbnb – and the rates can be competitive.

Consider the total cost

Excellent value for money on a hotel stay becomes less good if you have to pay for extras. Beware of dreaded “resort fees” or “resort fees” which can easily add $ 25 per night to your stay. Conversely, think of hotels that include free breakfast, whether it’s your standard continental-style dish (Key and Peele’s comedic duo had a lot to say about it) or something more substantial. The free supplement is equivalent to a reduction on your room.

Contact the hotel directly

It is almost always helpful to see if hotels can match or improve upon an offer found elsewhere on the web. More often than not, they are enticed to do so because it means they don’t have to pay commission to the travel site that brought you to them. But don’t just go to the hotel’s website. Call the property (yes, pick up a phone and talk to a real human being). Ideally, speak to a manager who may be empowered to close a deal. At the very least, there is nothing wrong with asking.

Overlay your discounts

What could be better than taking a break from a hotel stay? Get two breaks. This is entirely possible by employing certain methods of “stratification”. For example, instead of going directly to a travel or hotel website, first go to a site that offers an additional discount, like Rakuten or CouponCabin (you’ll need to create an account with the discount provider if you don’t already have one). Another option: use a credit card that offers a travel discount.

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