What many travelers don’t understand is that there is no set price for any given hotel room. Within the same hotel on the same night, three different people checking in may pay three different rates.
Hotels have what’s known as a rack rate, which is the average nightly rate they are trying to get overall. So if they a particular hotel has 100 rooms and the hotel manager determines that the rack rate should be $100/night on a particular night, some guests may pay $90 while others may pay $10 for the exact same type of room.
Why is all this important? Because it helps the traveler who is in the know find the lowest rate regardless of which hotel they are staying in, where they are traveling, or what night they need accommodations.
Supply and Demand
Like any business, the object of a hotel is to make the most amount of money possible. So travelers will often be asked to pay a huge rate for the same room that may have cost them a fraction of that price on a different night.
They key to finding the best hotel deals is knowing where to look, who to ask, and what to look for. To help you find insanely low cheap hotel rooms, here are seven easy things you can do right away to lock in the best deal:
Start by Looking Online
Today, there are dozens of websites that purport to offer rock-bottom hotel rooms for the city and dates you want. But the first site you click on isn’t always going to give you the best deal. Most of these sites work by filling hotels in exchange for a small percentage of the rate you pay. So it’s in their best interest to push you towards paying the highest price possible.
Online hotel room search engines use a lot of high tech algorithms and other cutting edge marketing to do something very old-fashioned: Get you to pay premium prices for something you don’t need or can’t use. But if you are willing to spend a few hours or even a few days comparing online hotel rates and waiting for the best deal, you can often save a bundle on the room you want in the city you are visiting.
Pick Up the Phone
The vast majority of hotel bookings are now done online. The days of picking up the phone and calling a hotel to make a reservation are long gone. But there is still something to be said for the human touch. When you get a live person on the phone, you can often get the best rate simply by asking for it.
Is that the best you can do? is often the only question you need to ask in order to get rock bottom pricing for your hotel room. Think of it this way: The worst that can happen is that the person on the other end of the line denies your request for a cheaper rate. The best thing is that you can pay a fraction of what other guests are paying for the exact same accommodations.
Watch for Hidden Fees
Some hotels especially those in the biggest cities will low-ball the room rate but hit you with hidden charges in order to bump up the total cost of your room. Like Monsieur Thenardier and his wife from Les Miserables, today’s hotel operators will often charge handsomely for even the smallest extras. These can include parking (sometimes high as $35-$50 per night), charges for WiFi, late checkout or early check-in fees, use of the workout center, restaurant and room service costs, and many others.
Look for Off-Brand Hotels
The biggest brands of hotels are always going to charge a premium rate for their rooms because they need to support their marketing costs, huge staffs, the cost of having the best locations, and many other expenses.
Smaller, privately-owned hotels don’t have these extra expenses, so they can afford to offer lower rates for essentially the same product in the same general locations. These are the hotels and motels you probably won’t find on the big hotel search engines.
Instead, use Google Search, MapQuest or another online mapping app to physically look for smaller hotels in the area you to which you will be traveling. Then call up these hotels and ask about the rates on the date you will be arriving. Don’t forget to ask for the lowest rate possible.
Don’t Stay in a Hotel at All
If you are young and/or adventurous, skip the standard hotel altogether and opt for staying in somebody’s home by using one of the new online apps that promote couch-surfing or makeshift BNBs.
Stay with Friends or Family
To keep your housing costs to a minimum, ask friends, family or even acquaintances if you can crash at their place for the night. While these may not be the most convenient locations to the most popular sightseeing places, you can’t beat the free cost
Travel Off-Peak Days
The most luxurious hotels in the world can sit practically empty during the off-season. Travelers often can get the most luxurious accommodations for pennies on the dollar if they plan their visits when everybody else is out of town.
Use these tips to find the best hotel rates in the cities you want to visit and save a bundle!
Author Bio This guest article has been written by Samantha Leonsa on behalf of InsanelyCheapFlights.com, an online travel website specializing in cheap air tickets, car rentals, cruise packages and more.