Often, accommodation is the biggest cost of your holiday, but today we share 12 great ways to save on hotel stays.
1. Book for off or shoulder season
The best way to save on hotel costs is to travel in off-peak seasons. Doing this will often save you up to two-thirds the normal room rate.
2. Tuesday to Thursday the sweet spot
Accommodation costs during the week, especially from Tuesday to Thursday, are usually around one-third cheaper, unless it’s a hotel near an airport or close to business facilities. So aim for midweek stays and you’ll save.
3. Search online for promo codes
Follow your favourite hotels on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for email promotions, and keep an eye out for promotional codes, flash sales and special offers. You can also do this with third-party booking sites and, sometimes, you can combine the two offers for even bigger savings.
4. Play one off against the other
Hotels in a certain area will often advertise similar rates, especially ones near entertainment precincts. But do your homework, and search sites such as hotel.com and trivago.com, and you’ll often find a lower rate that’s exclusive to that site.
Then, if you have your heart set on a specific hotel, you could call them and quote the rate of a cheaper hotel nearby and see if it will lower its rate to get you in their beds instead.
5. Go to the source
Many hotels will not advertise their best rate – they save that for the people who call them directly. So give them a call and, chances are, you’ll get a better rate than advertised elsewhere.
6. There’s more to accommodation than hotels
Try Airbnbs, hostels with private rooms, bed and breakfasts or rooftop glamping. You may even be able to organise a house swap.
7. Look for accommodation packages
Some travel agents or online travel booking sites will be able to get you a killer rate on rooms if you book flights or rent a car with them. But don’t just take their word for it, enquire separately and check the price to ensure you’re coming out on top and not paying a price for convenience.
8. Watch what you watch
Don’t pay the hotel rate for in-house movies – it’s a rip-off. It’d be cheaper to go out and see a movie at the theatre, or, better still, buy a bottle of red and read a book or have a chat while looking out your window.
9. Skip breakfast
When you book a room with breakfast included, ask what the rate would be without the breakfast. Sometimes it’s about $25 less. Use that money to enjoy breakfast in town instead.
10. Sign up
Hotel chains often have loyalty programs that offer great deals on rooms and super flash sales. You may even get free dinners, bottles of bubbly, breakfast, parking or spa treatments. Even smaller hotels sometimes have a similar program, so sign up and save.
11. Join the club
Organisations such as RACV, NRMA, Frequent Flyer programs and credit card companies have special connections to hotel chains that offer cut rates on rooms.
12. Go old school
The old saying goes ‘it doesn’t hurt to ask’. This applies to hotel deals too. Just give the front desk a call – not the customer service or 1800 number – and ask for a deal. Or you can make a refundable booking, shop around, then tell the hotel you’re skipping on the room and want your money back. Often, that hotel will match or beat the competitor’s price, or you may get a significant upgrade for the price you’re already paying.
Do you have any tips for saving money on hotels and other accommodation? Why not share them with our members?