Money is a huge factor that stops people from travelling. To travel, you need it; especially when your trip is more likely to take you to Leeds than Laos, and you need to fork out a reasonable sum for a hotel.
But hotel prices aren’t set in stone, and there are a few ways you can make your money go further, and allow you to travel for longer.
Do your research
Knowledge is power, and knowing that an external vendor is offering a cheaper rate than the hotel’s direct booking channel puts you in a strong bartering position. If you know what hotel you want to stay in, shop around for the best price on the day of your stay.
And don’t forget to look at the offers on hotel websites. If your trip is flexible, you might be able to plan around the best deals; like this one that offers a room for a tenner if you book a dinner deal for two on a Sunday.
Contact the hotel
Most hotels will offer a price match guarantee, and many will beat the best price you’ve found online if it’s not through them. After all, they save money if you book direct by skipping the middle-man and his commission.
The best way to get a good deal is to speak to a real person. If you can, lift the phone and call the hotel. Explain that you’ve found a better deal, and ask if they can beat it. While you’re there, you can ask if they have any offers available for your stay – most hotels will layer on some perks to get the direct booking. If you’re staying for a week or more, you could use this to haggle your per-night price down. Sometimes, it’s as easy as asking – you’ve nothing to lose!
If you’re more flexible about where you stay, hold out for as long as you can before booking. Hotels often reduce their rates for last minute stays – empty rooms don’t make money, after all. Keep an eye on deal sites like Groupon, or contact your preferred hotel for last-minute cancellations and deals.
If you’re travelling abroad, do your research into exchange rates before booking your hotel. Is the booking site you’re using giving you the best rate? If you have a good deal on foreign purchases on your credit card, you might save money by paying in the local currency, either in advance or when you arrive.
Use your consumer power
Hotels thrive on reviews, so use this to your advantage. When checking in, ask if you can leave a review on Trip Advisor after your stay – you might just find that you can bag a free upgrade that much easier.
And on the flip side, don’t settle for a bad experience. If your stay wasn’t up to scratch, contact the hotel directly – go straight to the manager if you can. Explain why you were disappointed, and let them know you haven’t left a review yet because you want to give them a chance to resolve it. Any good manager will offer you a partial refund or a discount or upgrade on your next stay.
Get more for your money
Once you’ve got a hotel at the right price, it’s time to start thinking about how to get the most bang for your buck. Don’t forget that hotel staff often have more power than they let on. The trick is getting them to reveal their secrets. Be sweet to the reception staff when you check in, and you might find your request for an upgrade is more likely to be successful.
If your trip is for a special occasion – perhaps an engagement or birthday – let the hotel staff know. Mention it when you make your booking, or while checking in, and most hotels will offer a free upgrade if they can.
Of course, timing is key. If there’s a queue at reception, they’re not likely to be handing out upgrades – or else everyone would expect one. Hang back and wait until they’re quiet and relaxed.