If you’ve been shopping for hotel rooms recently, you may have noticed that prices are going down. What gives?
Hotels, even in hot vacation destinations like the Caribbean, are struggling to fill beds.
That spells opportunity for the budget-conscious traveler.
Money expert Clark Howard used to own his own travel agencies, so when it comes to booking the best hotel deals, he knows all of the tips and tricks.
In this article we’re going to show you how to take advantage of this slow booking period to get a better hotel rate.
Hotels are struggling to sell rooms: Here’s how to get a better rate
Clark’s go-to for cheap hotel rooms: Priceline and Hotwire
Although these sites keep prices low by not showing you which property you’ll be staying until after you’ve booked, there are ways to figure it out before you pull the trigger. We show you how here.
If you have your heart set on a specific hotel, there are still things you can do to get the best possible rate.
Negotiate your hotel rate with these 3 steps
The art of haggling isn’t dead when it comes to booking lodging.
The key is not to wait until the last-minute to book during peak travel season. If you really want to hold all of the bargaining chips, negotiate your rate during the off-peak travel times of the year and then do the following:
1. Join the hotel’s loyalty program, if available
The hotel likely offers a discounted rate for members only. You’ll might also be able to take advantage of other perks like free Wi-Fi.
2. Find the best available rate on the internet
These sites can be invaluable when it comes to the best hotel room rates:
- Trivago.com is a handy hotel comparison site for travelers
- Yapta.com tracks prices and sends you a notification when rates drop
- Tingo.com lets you book hotels and shows you area occupancy rates
- Roomer is a hotel site that lets you buy beds from motivated sellers who bought nonrefundable rooms
Use them together to find the best available rate. Make sure the rates you are comparing include all of the same fees and taxes so you are comparing apples to apples.
3. Call the hotel directly to negotiate the best possible rate
When you call, you should be armed with the following information:
- The rates of competitor hotels
- Any alternate or variable dates for your stay
- Any flexibility you have on amenities (queen vs. king bed, for example)
- The very highest price you’ll accept (which may or may not be the lowest rate you found online)
Finally, if you can’t negotiate a better rate…
There are other options for savvy travelers looking to save on hotels. If you can’t bargain to get the price down, ask if the hotel can throw in some amenities.
See if you can get some freebies for the stated price. Many hotels will throw in the daily breakfast bar, discounted parking or spa services if you ask for them.
Have you been able to get a better hotel rate using your own methods? Let us know how you did it in the comments!
Here are more hotel-related articles from Clark.com you might enjoy:
- The best day & time to book a hotel room
- How to get the cheapest hotel room
- Take this extra step to find the best hotel deals online