Traveling is an incredible way to broaden your horizons, open your mind — and unfortunately, drain your money. Yes, we’re talking about paying through the nose for a hotel room.
Fortunately, you don’t have to brace for impact and wince as you hand over your credit card. Here are three easy ways to save money on your next hotel room:
- Book directly with the hotel.
Sounds like a bad idea, doesn’t it? Well, once upon a time it was. But today, because so many people head to various third-party booking sites, hotels are offering customers who book directly deep discounts. Why? Simply because hotels pay those booking sites a commission. By booking directly, they pass some (or sometimes all) of that directly to you. How much you save will vary, but it’s definitely worth giving the hotel a call — just make sure that you mention that you’re certainly capable of booking through a third-party site, but would like to see if it makes more sense to book directly. The hotel representative will get the message loud and clear, and reach into their bag of deals.
2. Get a membership to a hotel chain (or a bunch of hotel chains).
Yes, you already have enough membership cards bursting out of your wallet. But you should really make room for one more — or several more — because hotel chain memberships are surprisingly rewarding, and typically free (at least for the basic tier). Now, you might be wisely thinking: why bother getting a membership, since it’ll take forever to amass enough points to redeem them for a discount or other benefit? Here’s why: if you’re a member, there’s a much greater chance that you’ll get upgraded to a better room at no additional cost. So technically you won’t be paying less, but you’ll be getting more for your money — and that’s pretty good, isn’t it?
3. Remember that timing is everything.
Ah, dynamic pricing. That’s the model that businesses use (and love) by which they change the price for things based on demand — i.e. the more people who want something, the more they pay. You can use this to your advantage by, if possible, booking your hotel in the off-season. But what if you don’t want to visit Las Vegas in the height of summer or Chicago in the dead of winter? You can still use dynamic pricing to your advantage by (again, if possible) avoiding Friday, Saturday and Sunday night stays, since those are typically when prices go through the roof.
Before wrapping up, here’s a nice bonus tip that will appeal to those of you who travel in groups: hotels have realized that they can monetize their wi-fi offering by limiting the number of devices that can be connected at one time. So basically, they’re offering the same wi-fi as before, but charging a lot more. Classy, huh? Well, you can circumvent this money-grubbing tactic by traveling with your own portable wi-fi router. Simply use it to establish a central hotspot, and then connect all of your devices. Plus, if you’re a business traveler, you can get one that supports unified communication as a service (UCaaS), so that you can have video conference calls and instant message your envious colleagues while lounging around in your hotel room.