Going away can be an expensive affair, combining travel costs, food budgets and most importantly, accommodation expenses. Not to mention, trying to find good quality accommodation within your set budget. There are ways to compromise on hotel costs; staying in a hostel, finding a reasonable Airbnb stay or camping, but sometimes a hotel is your best option.
Before starting to look for your hotel stay, consider what is a necessity – for instance, you don’t need to be paying for spa and golf access if you are only using the hotel to sleep. Consider your ideal location and how much you are willing to compromise on distance/cost. Also take into consideration what the hotel price includes – you may be paying for meals or breakfast that you don’t intend to take.
Flexibility on Dates
When looking for a hotel stay, often you’ll have the option to see a calendar format for prices, showing costs a day or two prior to and after your selected stay dates. If your dates aren’t fixed, being slightly flexible could save you money on particularly busy periods. Avoid major holidays and peak periods (school holidays/bank holidays) where possible as a greater demand for rooms at this time will drive prices up.
Mid-week stays are not always cheaper – this is due to a higher number of business travellers whose firms have more budget to play with. Instead look for “free night” deals, such as weekend stays get Sunday free. Friday nights tend to be more expensive than Sunday, so booking a weekend stay from Saturday-Monday will often have attractive savings.
Sales and Pre-Paid
There are many hotel chains that offer sales and cheaper prices when booking at least six months in advance. Keep an eye out on your favourite chains and you might be able to grab a bargain.
Alternatively, if you know your plans are set in stone, there are savings to be made by booking a non-cancellable, non-refundable stay. If you can’t see these types of stays advertised online or through various booking websites, talk to the hotel directly. They will often be able to offer a cheaper stay on the condition of paying in full, up-front.
Should your plans change, there are some options to re-sell hotel stays but always check with the hotel if they are happy for the details to change.
Discuss the Extras
There are often extra savings to be had when discussing extras included in your stay, whether you require breakfast or a later check-out. Ask at the time of booking to see if there are extras that can be thrown in free of charge. Alternatively, if you know you are using the hotel as just a place to bed down for the evening, ask if they offer a Room-Only rate with no added charges for meals.
On check-in there is no harm in asking if there are any available upgrades. Hotels want to fill their rooms and will have a better chance selling a standard room on the night than an executive room. Sometimes it’ll be a no but don’t be discouraged, often there will be reduced upgrade costs or even an upgraded room or view just from asking the question.
Contact a Booking Agent
While commonly used by businesses, booking agents exist as a middle-man between yourself and the hotel. They often work with specific hotel chains and get access to some cheaper prices due to booking a certain amount of nights every year. Commission costs to the agent are covered by the hotel so you’ll often be able to make a saving, even if just a small one.
If you are attending a conference or event, booking agents will often have booked a block of rooms at a cheaper rate specifically for use by attendees. This avoids having to pay more during the event due to increased demand and can be helpful for attending events in tourist-favoured cities.
Many of the above options can be applied to organising an event or when looking for conference spaces in a hotel. If you are an event organiser looking to make hotel stays more reasonable across your event, consider talking to the hotel about offering a package deal for your attendees. Whether you need meeting rooms in Nottingham or a hotel stay in London, you needn’t pay full price for your next trip using these tips and the wealth of booking resources available online.