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7 Easy Tips for Booking Hotels

7 Easy Tips for Booking Hotels

On any vacation, lodging makes up a bulk of the cost.  Not only do travelers want to save money but they want comfort and convenience and a good value for their money.

Avoid Third Party Booking Sites Like, Expedia, or Orbitz:  Hotels dislike these sites immensely because they take a hefty commission - around 20%.  Customers who book through the hotel directly are more likely to get better service and preferential treatment.  In some cases you may not get reward points or credits for loyalty programs if you book through a third party site.  And, if you have a problem - the hotel may refer you to where you booked the room.  On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with researching hotel prices through third-party sites.  But let's make this clear - companies like Hotels.Com, Expedia and Orbitz are reputable companies, but in the opinion of The Traveling Professor, you are almost always better off booking directly with the hotel.

Location, Location, Location:  It might be a better idea to get a well-located hotel even though it might cost a little bit more.  Example of better located hotels are ones near transportation, attractions, or dining options. 

What are the Perks:  That's another consideration when booking a hotel.  Check if they have a pool (if you like that kind of stuff), dining, free parking, free breakfast, etc.

Negotiate with the Hotel Directly:  The Professor always recommends contacting the hotel directly by phone or email.  Negotiate price, payment, and refund terms.  For instance, I recently booked a "Park Sleep and Fly" rate with a hotel that saved me 35% over the rate posted on the hotel site after I called the hotel directly and asked for a better rate if I guaranteed payment (see the next tip below).

Guarantee Payment:  If there is anything that hotels hate, it is the last-minute cancellation.  If you offer to pay up-front with a non-refundable payment, not only will you probably get a better rate, you might get extra perks like free breakfast or free parking. 

Book for Monday through Thursday:  Rates are usually (but not all the time) more expensive on the weekends. Some hotels won't let you book a Friday night without booking a Saturday.

Use Your Discount:  Work for the government (you could be any type of federal, state, or local government employee)? You might qualify for a significant discount.  A government ID card helps.  Are you a senior? In the military?  Lots of discounts are available to you.

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