Make sure to book the cheapest hotel rates using these 5 tips!
1. Use Price Comparison Sites
Don’t assume your favorite online travel agent (OTA) always offers the cheapest rates. Compare hotel rates using price comparison sites like HotelsCombined.com and Trivago.com to book the cheapest rooms.
2. Check Hotel Promo Codes
You might be able to discount that cheap rate even more using a promo code. Check the General list of Codes and Promos at FlyerTalk before you finalize your OTA booking. The hotels’ Facebook or Twitter account might have a promo code or special deal too!
3. Use Last-Minute Hotel Booking Apps
If you are booking last-minute, one week or less in advance, check what hotel booking apps have on offer. First time bookers get additional discounts:
HotelTonight.com $25 (€20) with promo code BALAPERS
Airbnb $30 (€30) via this link
4. Call the Hotel
Make sure to call the hotel before you finalize your booking via a third party website. Hotels need to pay a commission if you book via an Online Travel Agent which can be as high as 25%. Hotels might offer you a better rate (or extra perks like complimentary breakfast) if you book directly with them.
Background: Until recently, hotels listed on market leader Booking.com weren’t allowed to offer cheaper rates on their own website or other third party booking sites. This Booking.com requirement came under scrutiny after lawmakers investigated the practice for price fixing. France has now voted a law which forbids OTA’s like Booking.com to demand hotels to offer the lowest rates via their sites. In other European countries, Booking.com still doesn’t allow hotels to advertise lower rates on their own websites but they are allowed to offer cheaper rates via email, telephone and other third party booking sites.
5. Monitor Your Booking
Only applicable in case your booking is refundable. My general advice is to book hotels not earlier than two or three weeks in advance with the exception of very high demand nights (e.g. New Year’s Eve) or when you’ve found an exceptional deal. Don’t pay attention to the ‘sense of urgency’ messages on booking sites (e.g. “this week is very busy in city X, 80% of all rooms booked”). These are just marketing tricks to get you booking asap. In case you still want to book far in advance, select a refundable rate. This will allow you to monitor prices via aggregators like HotelsCombined.com and you can cancel and rebook when cheaper rates comes along.