Nothing makes a vacation sweeter than having more money at your disposal than expected. Yet, between the cost of transportation and hotel accommodations, a budget can quickly dwindle. Here are four secrets on how to get deep hotel discounts when you travel, without sacrificing quality or service.
1. Check your existing memberships
Are you a former or current armed forces member? College student? Government employee? A member of an auto club? Do you have a credit card with exclusive travel rewards and perks?
Being a member of an organization or group can often yield good discounts. Take a moment to check the terms of your membership guidelines. You may be surprised what’s offered.
What’s more, whether explicitly stated in the membership guidelines or not, call your prospective hotel and ask if they offer discounts or benefits with your membership.
2. Know the lingo
When calling a hotel, first ask the representative for the corporate rate.
This is usually a discounted rate offered to companies, designed to entice repeat business.
Another term to use is the “lowest non-refundable rate.” The only caveat of using this term is that once you book the hotel, you cannot cancel your room at the last minute without penalty.
If you’re travelling during peak season, research rates ahead of time.
When you call your hotel of choice, ask them for the “lowest refundable rate.” This will allow you to continue checking hotels up to the last minute, even while having a reservation.
If you find a better rate, you can cancel without penalty and move your accommodations to the best-priced hotel.
3. Scour the internet
Reputable travel sites can help you score great deals.
A quick Internet search will lead you to many of these online travel sites with pages full of exclusive deals, discount codes, tips and one-time offers that you can’t find anywhere else.
Check rates for the three days before and after your preferred check-in and check-out dates, to find the best possible price.
4. Double-check the fine print
If a deal is too good to be true, double-check the fine print.
Often a discount will come with a locked-down date after which you can’t cancel. Sometimes it will not include standard service items that you otherwise expect at a hotel. Know what you’re buying and what you can expect.
Read the terms of service for the hotel you’re staying at. If they blunder their service terms, it’s acceptable to talk to a supervisor politely and request a discount. Most hotels will be happy to accommodate, so that you leave with a better impression.
It might take some leg work, but if you look in the right places and ask the right questions, there are several ways to get deep hotel discounts whenever you travel.