With so many options available, finding the best hotel deals can be quite a challenge no matter where in the world you are travelling. To take some of the stress out of it for you and ensure you get the best deals whether you are travelling for a long weekend or taking a gap year, we have compiled a few tips and tricks that we have been using since we began travelling the world back in 2015. If you are ready to become a savvy traveller, read on!
Scout about on various intermediaries
Intermediaries such as Booking.com, Agoda, Hostel World, Kayak etc. offer a good variety of various types of accommodation for you to choose from. It really is great to see your options all in once place as you can easily compare the facilities and prices at each accommodation.
However, intermediaries set their own additional rate which means they often provide different prices. Make sure you browse on the various websites in order to get the best deals. For example, booking.com could be offering a 3-night stay for £160 inclusive of breakfast, while on Agoda you might find the same hotel WITHOUT breakfast or with different terms and conditions (i.e. non-refundable) for the same price, or even 10-20% higher/lower.
Therefore, you can make your decision based on the options. Would you rather pay £160 for a 3-night stay with breakfast and the option to cancel right up until the date? Or would you rather pay £140 for a 3-night stay without breakfast and risk losing your entire payment should your plans change. It really is worth considering such factors as it can save you money in the long run, and more money always means more travel.
Check out the hotels own website
Often hotels will offer deals if you book direct with them or you might find they are offering a complimentary breakfast for the same price. This is because intermediaries add an extra fee for acting as the middle man and connecting the hotelier with the consumer. However, when booking direct with the hotel, you eliminate the need for the middle man, thus eliminating the extra fee.
For example, during our recent trip to Geneva we reserved the hotel through booking.com at a rate of £1200 for 2 rooms, 4 people, 3 nights. While the flexibility to change the dates or cancel the booking entirely up until a day or two before our due arrival was appealing, breakfast wasn’t included and the price seemed fairly high compared to the rate of the ‘pay now/non-refundable’ option. After browsing on the hotels OWN website we came to realise the price was substantially lower at £850 AND included breakfast for our entire stay!
It is definitely worth the extra time to browse the various options available once you have decided on the accommodation you want to stay at. You could be making a huge saving or enjoying a few extra add-ons that will enhance your experience while saving you money when you arrive.
Often we hear people say how booking last minute will get you last minute discounts because the hotel are trying to get a quick sale rather than lose the money for an entire nights stay. However, based on experience, we say quite the opposite and our advice here is to always book ahead.
When booking last minute, there is always the chance that the hoteliers understand your desperation and take advantage of it. For example, let’s say you arrive in a new city late at night. The hoteliers know that you are not going to want to be roaming the streets with all your belongings for much longer. Therefore, they are able to charge you a hefty price based on your situation at that moment in time.
If you had booked ahead, you would have already had the accommodation at the best rate. When we say ahead, we say sooner the better. Once you know you are heading somewhere on a specific date, get that accommodation reserved. Even if there is a possibility that your plans might change, use the intermediaries mentioned above to at least make a reservation because the price of your reservation can even be lower than just turning up and hoping for the best. Also, becoming a regular member on booking.com could earn you ‘genius discount’ allowing you to save up to 10% off your entire booking. This might seem like a small discount but it can add up when you are travelling regularly.