My personal strategy for how to get hotel discounts
Its 10 months ahead, but already time to plan our holiday and look for hotel discounts. It’s going to be a road trip, so we need to move around and change hotels frequently. Everything starts with an itinerary – the points of interest and landing towns.
- Book ahead and always choose free cancellation
- Monitor hotel deals daily for possible price changes
- If the price goes down, cancel and re-book again
- If there is a better deal and a different hotel, go for it
- Look for nearby destinations – they might offer better price!
Described strategy has allowed us to get some very attractive hotel discounts and rates over the months of daily monitoring. As the trip time comes closer, the prices have gone up and will probably stay like that.
Negotiating rates and getting hotel discounts
Hotel’s front desk people have a lot of power regarding their property, including hotel price modification, meaning the can offer you cheap hotel rates or hotel discounts. So how do you negotiate a better deal? Imagine you have a reservation for the coming night and there is still some time to cancel for free. Here is your plan:
- Call the neighboring hotel front desk
- Tell them you have a deal at hotel xxx, but you like their hotel better
- Ask them for a better deal
Most probably, if they have rooms available, you will get a tempting offer and a hotel discounts. Competition between hotels is fierce and hotels are fighting for clients.
Corporate travel and hotel discounts
Many hotels are ready to provide free (complimentary) rooms to their partners’ employees. This is working particularly well with travel-related companies (travel agencies, tour operators, cruise lines etc). The process is fairly simple – email hotel requesting a free room for the purpose of getting to know hotel (to sell them better in the future). The most important aspect is letting hotel know they will win from letting you stay with them. This is win-win situation and many hotels, if they have rooms available (low season) will probably grant the free room as part of their advertising.
Unbelievable as it sounds, I have stayed like this at three different high class hotels in Oslo, Norway – one of the most expensive cities in Europe. Here is the email template for described situation:
Example letter with request for complimentary (free) room
Subject: Overnight in Royal Christiania Hotel OSLO
Dear Choice hotels res. Team,
My name is xxx xxx (your name) and I am working at xxx reservations (your company).
I am planning to go to Oslo late October this year and was wondering if there is a possibility to stay overnight at your hotel, ideally in a complimentary room (free of charge) or at partner rate.
We are selling your hotel a lot for our UK clients and it would be great to see it myself to have even better picture of what we are offering.
Its 2 people and a night of 27 October.
Please let me know if that would be possible.
If Royal Christiania is not available, perhaps you could offer us any other of your wide list of hotels for this overnight.
xxx xxx (your name)
Taking advantage of hotel services
Something worth remembering – hotels often have „hidden“ services, that they don’t advertise. One of such services is free airport shuttle. To find out for sure, try calling the hotel directly, as they might not have the info on booking sites.
Another useful trick is to ask for room upgrade. Front office staff often know (usually by around 6 pm) which rooms are going to be vacant for the night. Therefore it is wise to ask for a room upgrade. In some countries this is a sort of tradition – you slip a certain tip and get yourself a room with a better view. Consider this when booking a cheap deal – getting the rate low might mean you will be allocated to a room with poor view/smells/noise from kitchen etc.
Breakfast is usually at a certain times of the day. But what if you need to leave much earlier? Ask for a breakfast box – restaurant staff will pack you something to chew on while you hit the road. Most people just skip breakfast, but asking for a take-away is totally justified.
About front desk
There is a lot of power in the hands of a front desk clerk. If you are nice to them, they will be nice to you. Front desk people hate the most ignorant, annoying, stubborn clients who refuse to wait, listen and cooperate. You will hear lies, like „all the rooms are the same“(they are not!), „there is nothing i can do“(of course they can!) or „Welcome back, I remember you“(hardly!). Reception clerks are human and they need to be treated as such. Slipping a smile and a tip can do wonders and turn your holiday into a truly memorable experience.
No matter how you choose to spend your holiday, which hotel to book and how to save on rate, it’s still going to be an experience in itself. Traveling opens new horizons and everyone should be doing it – even if it’s just a neighbouring country. Hotel is your home away from home, so it should be treated as such. People who work for your well-being during your stay deserve recognition. It doesn’t have to be a tip – even a smile and a good word can do wonders.
Please share your hotel-saving tips; how have you saved? what strategies did you use?