20 Secret Ways To Save On Your Next Hotel Stay

20 Secret Ways to Save on Your Next Hotel Stay

There is a lot to consider when you're planning a trip. Right after you decide where you're going, you need to think about where you're going to stay. Finding a hotel room for a good price can be a bit stressful, especially if you're not familiar with online booking or the numerous discount websites vying for you attention.

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Today, we usually find the majority of hotel deals and bargains on the aforementioned booking websites – hotels.com, priceline.com, and booking.com – along with outside sites like Groupon and Living Social. Yes, you will come across great deals, especially if you book a bundle – airfare + hotel – but the truth is that a good old-fashioned phone call to the front desk may be just as rewarding.

Check Hotel Website for Deals

The first thing many of us do is search for hotels through outside websites. "Booking sites claim to have the best deals, but hotels often post limited offers that don't make it to the discount travel booking sites," says says Yijen Liu, vice president of product for Mezi, the personal travel concierge app. "If you have some time to do the research, you might uncover some hidden gems."

Join Your Hotel Rewards Program

If you're searching for fewer restrictions, a stress-free process, and convenience, you should consider joining a hotel rewards program. "If you're a loyal member to a hotel franchise in particular, it may make sense to join your hotel rewards program – that way, you stay where you want and you work your way through rewards and up to VIP status," Liu explains.

Bundle It

Do your research. You will receive better prices by booking a travel bundle for airfare and a hotel room. For instance, "JetBlue Vacations is one of many airlines that offer great bundle deals on vacation packages where both flights and hotels are included," Liu explains. "While this affords the traveler a little less freedom with the various aspects of their vacation, you gain the advantage of a trusted recommendation and big savings."

Timing Is Everything

Book your hotel stay as far in advance as possible. This will ensure that rooms are available and last-minute price increases in popular destinations are avoided. You should book your hotel room on Tuesdays around 3p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Liu says. "This time and day gives you access to the best deals." According to summer travel research by TripAdvisor, travelers can save on U.S. hotels by booking inside two months; travelers visiting Europe should book their rooms three to five months in advance; and travelers going to the Caribbean and Middle East should book within four months for the best prices.

Save With Memberships

Your price change may be closer than you think. Hotels offer discounts for travelers with certain memberships and affiliations. "If you are part of a special interest group, it's worth looking into whether or not your hotel offers this – and to possibly keep looking if they don't," Liu says. Some of the most common hotel discounts include AAA, seniors, AARP, military, and government.

Sign Up for Your Hotel's Credit Card

"Like other credit card rewards programs, your favorite hotel franchise can offer you rewards in the form of points, special VIP member treatment, and savings as you build credit in their name," Liu says. "If you frequently stay in hotels, this might be the move for you."

Use Your In-Room Kitchen

"While it may seem inconvenient or impossible to prep meals in your hotel room, going out to eat is expensive – and doing so for an entire hotel stay can really add up," Liu explains. "Stocking juice, fruit, and yogurt in the mini fridge will help save more than you might expect on otherwise costly breakfasts."

Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees When Splitting Costs

If you're traveling with friends you should consider downloading Circle. This app is "the easiest way to borrow money from friends and divvy up expenses (like hotel fees and large group checks at dinner) while you're traveling," Liu says. "Circle automatically factors in exchange rates for UK Pound and Euros, so you can pay someone back for booking your shared hotel room, immediately from your U.S. bank account."

Search the Internet for Coupon Codes

Coupon and promotional codes can be found all over the internet; all it takes is some research and a little patience. Liu says "sites like HotelCoupons.com display the discounts and coupons being offered in the location of your choosing."

Stay During the Week

If you want to save money on your hotel room, you're going to want to avoid weekend traffic. Demand for weekend rooms increases, as do the prices per night for hotel stays rise, Liu explains. "Instead of booking Friday through Sunday, try Monday through Wednesday."

Expedia’s Loyalty Program

"With special deals reserved just for Expedia+ members, Expedia guarantees their users the cheapest option (or they'll give you $50!)," Liu says. "Points and earnings from this program can be applied towards hotels and even certain flights."

Book Your Hotel With a Travel Agent

"In a digital age where people prefer to text rather than chat in person or on the phone, try personal travel concierge app, Mezi," Liu says. "Mezi serves up personalized recommendations, guarantees the best deal, [and] handles payment transactions and last minute changes/cancellations – all as natural as texting, without ever having to leave the app."

Choose a Business Hotel

"Business hotels typically see their rates go down on weekends and during the summer when business is slower, making them a perfect pick for the bargain traveler," Liu says. "What they lack in showy amenities, they'll make up for in savings."

Cash in Your Miles

"A lesser known traveler's trick: You can use miles to save on hotels as well as flights," Liu explains. "For example – American Airlines AAdvantage miles can also be redeemed for free or discounted hotel stays at more than 150,000 properties in over 500 destinations worldwide (these can be used for car rentals too!)."

Check in Later

Flexible travelers can sometimes score low rates and room upgrades by waiting until the last minute to check in. This is because "as the day wears on and the majority of guests have checked in, hotels have a better sense of what their vacancies are for the night, and may be willing and able to upgrade your room for free," Liu says.

Purchase Someone Else’s Reservations

"RoomerTravel.com offers a great solution both to people looking for bargain hotel steals, and those that want to get some money back from a non-refundable room," Liu says. "The site matches up travelers with discounted rooms in hotels all over the world."

Ask for a Price Match

If you found a better rate somewhere else, try asking for a price match. "Many hotels agree to match the price of a room stay at a comparable, competing hotel," Liu says. "Why not try it?"

Download an App

"Powered by the world's smartest chatbots and human guided experts, Mezi acts as your personal assistant to help with all your travel needs," Liu says. "Mezi curates the top three hotel recommendations, customized to fit your needs and so much more!"

Simply Ask

"Believe it or not, communicating with an actual human does have its rare advantages," Liu says. Simply call the hotel where you plan to book a room and let them know that you are thinking about reserving your room with a site like hotels.com. Ask them if they will give you a discount for booking directly through them. Many hotels pay commission fees to booking sites, so there is a good chance they will offer you a discount.

Delete Your Web History/Cookies

"The web cookies that are delivering that creepily personalized ad experience may also be the culprit of artificially raised prices on booking sites," Liu says. "After all, if they know you're searching for hotels, they might try to take advantage!" By refreshing your web history and cookies, you may notice these prices mysteriously go down, she adds.