There are the obvious tips for looking for and booking a hotel and then there are tips which are a bit less obvious but key nonetheless as a means to ensure you get the very very best deal to meet your needs. If your travel plans are flexible, you could get a great rate by making sure you go about making your booking in a timely overall manner and that you do so with ensuring you don't just book the 1st hotel you come across; shop around. |
These such tips include:
1. Look beyond the big hotels. If you're seeing high rates at big chain hotels, consider some alternatives. These could include bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, hostels or independently owned small hotels -- most of which can't be found on big booking engines. For advice on how to research these, see our guide to finding hidden hotels.
2. Know the full cost. You may think you've found a great deal, but keep in mind that the base rate isn't the only thing that will determine your total bill. Be sure to ask what taxes, resort fees, parking costs, energy surcharges, and other odds and ends will apply to your final tally. Even if one hotel has a lower base rate, it may end up being a more expensive option once all the extras are added in. For more information, see Hidden Hotel Fees.
3. Keep an eye on your credit card statements. Occasionally, buried in all that junk stuffed in with your credit card statement are vouchers or guarantees for good hotel rates offered in conjunction with your credit card company. Typically, you have to request a specific rate code, included in the "literature," and reserve and pay for the room with that particular credit card (or one issued by the same bank or company).
4. Use coupon and voucher books. The number of discount coupon and voucher companies, both in print and on the Internet, is almost mind-boggling. Everywhere you look, you can tear off, cut out, download, print out or merely mention a discount coupon rate, and you can save on just about every aspect of travel. Do a Web search for "coupons" for your destination or hotel chain for some links to local and online coupon distributors.
In the midst of this abundance, one discount book stands head and shoulders above the rest: Entertainment Books published by Entertainment Publications. The great majority of discounts available come in at half price, whether they're two-for-one meals or movies, or straight 50 percent discounts on hotel rooms. The company publishes books annually for dozens of major UK destinations. They can be purchased online for £25 to £50.
5. Follow up. Once you've booked your hotel, don't just rest on your laurels. Call back or check online in another month or so and see whether rates have gone down. If they have, cancel your booking and rebook your stay at the lower rate. (Read the hotel's cancellation policy carefully before doing so to make sure you won't have to pay any penalties.)
6. Use your points. Can't find the rate you want? Try paying with points instead. If you belong to a hotel's loyalty program and have accumulated enough reward points, you can often use them to pay for your room (or for an upgrade to a better class of room).
7. Leave your bags in the car. Planning to negotiate when you arrive? Don't haul a huge piece of luggage into the lobby and then tell the agent that you'd just as soon go elsewhere if they can't bring their rates down. You'll look tired, hassled, sick of lugging bags and, to a shrewd hotel clerk, ready to pay handsomely to unpack that suitcase.
Whether you are looking for a few days away, a good stopping point on a long journey or an excellent place for a business meeting then you can be sure it will be easy to get the right choice of hotel accommodation / hotel room for your needs. Just make sure in any case and no matter where you may be placing the hotel booking that you keep to your budget as a whole and that you are able to get the type and kind of hotel you so desire.
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