Travel Hacks: How to Get the Best Hotel Rates
Whether it’s a five star resort or a cheap motel, booking hotels is just kind of a crap shoot. It’s always hard to know if you’re getting a good deal. Not to mention, those Yelp pictures of stained sheets or dirty bathrooms are hard to ignore.
All of this noise leaves you second guessing your decision and procrastinating the purchase. Needless to say, we all face these same issues. I am a self-proclaimed over-researcher. I will spend hours on Google mulling over the pros and cons of every hotel in the entire city before making my decision.
Here are the hacks that I’ve found most useful for booking hotel stays:
Use Hotwire.com’s “Hot Rate” hotels feature to save almost 50%
This is not sponsored by Hotwire. I just really think that the best deals come from using this feature. While searching for “Hot Rate” hotels, the website will not provide the hotel’s name or street name. It will only give you the star rating, general vicinity, and a “recommendation” percentage. See below for an example:
Here is our secret to figuring out where you will be staying before actually buying:
The “recommendation” percentage is pulled directly from Tripadvisor. You can also see how many reviews went into this recommendation if you click on a hotel from the above list. See the Tripadvisor logo below with the number of reviews next to it:
Next, go onto Tripadvisor and use the map feature to narrow this listing of hotels to the same area as the Hotwire listing.
Once you have this narrowed down, check and see how many reviews and filled in circles (their equivalent of stars) each of these hotels received on Tripadvisor and you can narrow it down even more.
Even in a city as large as Paris, you can pinpoint 2 to 5 hotels that this “Hotwire mystery hotel” could possibly be. Read reviews and look at pictures of these hotels. If you would be okay staying in any of them, go ahead and take your chances. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed and you will save tons of money!
In the past, I’ve saved about 40% from the listing price on other search engines using this feature. Just a few months ago we booked a really great 4 star boutique hotel in Paris for $74 a night.
It makes complete sense that a hotel would not want Hotwire to list its name because some other poor victim is probably booking directly from the hotel’s website or using another “discount” search engine and paying double!
Anyway, I swear by this tool to book hotels! Not to mention, it’s kind of like opening a present when you book it and see which hotel you’ve gotten.
Use the Hotel Tonight App
This app has heavy discounts on hotels for same-night stays. It is perfect for any traveler who wants the freedom to just roll into a city and book accommodation when you get there. I also think it’s great to have on your phone for a last minute roadtrip opportunities.
Definitely be mindful though because this app seems to give preference to large cities (New York, London, etc). While I have never booked a hotel through this app myself, I like having it on my phone for any “just in case” situations. Not sure when I’ll find myself in New York just dying to stay at the Ritz Carlton, but hey you never know.
Use the hotel searching feature on Google
Yes, we know you’re probably fed up about us raving about Google all the time. It’s just so user friendly and convenient! By searching for “hotels in (insert city name)” on Google Maps, Google will provide a helpful map and show you the prices offered by each of the major search engines. Google also provides toggles where you can set your maximum price per night and any other criteria that you may have. They also allow you to set the search to “Deals” only, which provides all of the hotels that are offered at a percentage discount on a search engine.
This allows you to have all of the facts in one place. From there, you can hone in on specific hotels and click on the search engine link with the cheapest price (Kayak, Expedia, etc.) to make your purchase.
We hope you enjoyed these hotel booking travel hacks. What other tricks do you know of for booking cheap hotels? Please comment below and let us know!
We will be back next week for Part 4 of our travel hacking series! In the meantime, here are links to our previous travel hacks for some binge reading if you wish.