You know the sound—and the feeling that comes along with it: You’ve just had a great trip, but it’s almost time to go and you hear that piece of paper slide under your door. Time to survey the damage. Even if your nightly rate didn’t seem so bad, after all of the taxes, fees, room service, resort charges and parking are tacked on, you can’t believe your eyes when you see the total. Want to avoid the sticker shock and save some pretty pennies on your next hotel stay? Try these eight tips and tricks.
1. Participate in a Loyalty Program—And Take Advantage Of The Associated Savings And Perks
If you’re a frequent traveler, you’d be crazy not to participate in a hotel loyalty program or two. Even if you don’t get a lower rate with the help of your status, you’re liable to get a better room for the same price. Accumulate enough points and you’ll soon be enjoying free nights.
2. Share A Room With A Stranger
If you really want to save money, stay with a stranger. Yes, seriously. This is definitely a unique way to same some money, and admittedly it’s not for everyone. It’s called Winston Club, and if you’re traveling alone and want to buy a room for half price, check it out.
3. Watch Out For Hidden Fees
Don’t even think of reaching for the minibar. They have sensors now. Also, if you arrive early or check out late, some hotels will charge you for another night’s stay. Some hotels also charge for cancellations and bag storage, and will even place a mandatory gratuity charge on your room service bill.
Basically, don’t do anything in the room except sleep.
4. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
If you want a better price, channel your inner negotiator and haggle for the best price. One site did a study and found that 78 percent of people who haggled got a lower rate or upgraded their stay. Maybe you’ll get a king-sized bed and a better room location. Or, you can even see about getting a room in an undesirable location for a lower price.
5. Book On An Opaque Hotel Site
You set the price you’re willing to pay, and the site will book whatever hotel room it can get for that price.
6. Don’t Miss Out On Age/Military Discounts
This not only applies to hotel rooms, but to life in general. If you fulfill the necessary requirements, always ask if [insert business here] takes a military discount.
The same goes for senior citizen rates.
AARP also provides many discounts for those over 55.
7. Check Out Hotel Alternatives
8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Money
In the end, it’s all about the work you put in. Finding the cheapest room can take time, and time is money, so sometimes it makes more sense to save that time by spending a few more dollars on your room.