5 Tips to Book Cheap Hotels

Make sure to book the cheapest hotel rates using these 5 tips!

1. Use Price Comparison Sites

book hotels cheaper via hotelscombined
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

HotelTonight book last-minute 7 days in advance
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

call hotel for lower room rate cheap stay
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.

14 Comments on “5 Tips to Book Cheap Hotels

  1. Dag Bart,
    Ik ben op zoek naar een vakantie op de Griekse eilanden. Dit voor een gezin met 2 kinderen, 12 en 13 jaar. We houden van all-inn reizen, zo weten we toch wat het budget ongeveer is. Die reizen worden dan ook al direct heel wat duurder. Kan jij me helpen waar ik eens moet rondkijken?

  2. Hello Bart,

    I see the beautifull Park Hyatt Vienna at your Twitter-page.
    How did you book this one? Points or Best Rate Guarantee?
    You have tips or tricks?

    I would like to visit this hotel too 🙂

  3. Dag Bart,
    Wij vertrekken 25 april naar Dubai met ons 2 en zoeken een leuk hotel met zwembad, maar weten niet goed welke wijk, want de afstanden zijn redelijk ver van mekaar. Kan u ons een tip geven? Ook vindt ik de hotels vrij duur, Heb jij een voorstel?
    Tif, antwerpen

  4. Dag Bart,

    Ik volg wekelijks je blog, en heb al veel bijgeleerd door u, nu stel ik mij de volgende vraag, ik zoek via verschillende hotel aggregator sites naar de beste prijs voor een bepaald hotel op Koh Lanta.Telkens weer krijg ik voor dat hotel de beste prijs via minder bekende booking-sites zoals otel.com,Hotelopia,Hotelsclick en Amoma. Dit scheelt wel 50% met de meer bekende sites zoals booking.com,hotels.com of Agoda. Vandaar mijn vraag: zijn die minder bekende sites wel te vertrouwen? of is het verschil echt te groot om geloofwaardig en/of niet frauduleus te zijn?
    Dank bij voorbaat voor je antwoord!

    • Dag Ronny, die minder bekende sites zijn ook te betrouwen hoor. Als ze voorkomen via in de hotel aggregators zoals hotelscombined of trivago hoef je er geen schrik van te hebben. Veel plezier op Koh Lanta!

  5. hy Bart I made a reservation for Dolce La Hulpe in Brussel for 16.20 euro a night, for next year in september but now I am afraid that at the check out they gonna say that it’s a mistake and that they gonna ask me to pay more, for example 162 euro,what do you thing ,can they do that? thank you

    • Hi Bako, no worries, your booking email states the correct price, they cannot charge you more. However, they can contact you in the next couple of days to state it was an error and offer you alternative rate. Let’s wait and see. I also booked that rate. 😉

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