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How to Get the Best Hotel Deals

How to Get the Best Hotel Deals

I’m a big fan of comparison websites. They allow you to compare all your options and prices on one screen without having to spend hours researching prices on different websites. In some cases, like car rental, comparison sites can work out really well, with no booking fees, cancellation fees and no payment up front. But when it comes to hotels and accommodation, do comparison websites really get you the best deal? Before you book your next vacation, read this guide to make sure you don’t get ripped off!

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Family at the hotel check in

    Tips to get the Best Hotel Deal

    • Comparison sites like Expedia, Travelocity and Hotels.com are good for doing initial research and comparing your options.
    • Once you narrow down your choices to the hotel (or few hotels) that you would like to stay at, head to the hotel’s own website to see if their price is the same. Often they will have extra room types or prices that they don’t supply to comparison websites.
    • Look on the hotel’s website to see if they have any special deals or coupons.
    • Watch out for booking fees and credit card fees. This is not exclusive to the comparison sites; some hotels also charge for this.
    • Check cancellation and amendments policies before you book. This applies to both comparison websites and the hotel’s own website. Check to see if they charge you a fee for amending or canceling bookings. Your travel insurance may cover this, but it’s easier to get your money back straight from the hotel.
    • Check what’s included in your room rate. Some places will include things like Wi-Fi internet and local calls. Ironically, it’s usually the expensive five-star hotels that charge for these things like a wounded bull!
    • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Try calling the hotel and see if they can offer a better price, room upgrade, or throw in some extras. This can work well if it’s close to the date and they still have plenty of rooms vacant.
    • Some people swear by bidding sites like Priceline, and others hate them. If you want to give it a shot, Gadling has an excellent guide on how to game Priceline to get the best deal.

    Resort Pool

      Let’s Look at a Real Life Example

      The following example is searching for the same hotel on various websites. In each case I’ll choose the cheapest available rate and highlight any extra costs for the booking. The hotel I’m looking at is in Australia (my home country), but I’ve tried it for several different countries around the world and got similar results.

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      Two nights (weekend) at the Mantra on Queen in Brisbane, Australia.

      Hotels.com
      Room: $298.00
      No credit card or booking fees
      Free cancellation until two weeks before the arrival date
      Total: $298.00

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      Wotif.com
      Room: $298.00
      Credit card fee: $5.50
      $25 cancellation charge up to two weeks before the arrival date
      Total: $303.50

      Mantra.com.au
      Room: $248.00
      2% credit card surcharge: $4.84
      $25 cancellation charge up to two weeks before the arrival date
      Total: $246.84

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      As you can see, even with the credit card surcharge, the hotel’s own website worked out cheaper in this case, as they had rooms that were not advertised on the comparison websites. I should point out that Mantra is quite a large chain of hotels in Australia, so they have some strict terms around cancellation and other fees. I’ve found that if you’re booking at much smaller independent hotels or B&Bs that you can often negotiate much better rates by going direct.

      Do you have a great tip for booking accommodation? Leave your best tactics in the comments below! And before you plan your vacation, don’t forget to check out my guides on getting the best deals on car rental, and how to take great travel photos!

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      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      How to Develop a Millionaire Mindset in 6 Simple Steps

      How to Develop a Millionaire Mindset in 6 Simple Steps

      We all like to dream about being financially wealthy. For most people though, it remains a dream and nothing more. Why is that?

      It’s because most people don’t set their mind to achieving that goal. They might not be happy in their current situation but they’re comfortable – and comfort is one of the biggest enemies of growth.

      How do you go about developing that millionaire mindset? By following these simple steps:

      1. Focus On What You Want – And Take It!

      So many people are too timid to admit they want something and go for it. When there is something that you want to accomplish don’t think “I could never actually do that”, think “I could do that and I WILL do that”.

      Millionaires play to win, not to avoid defeat.

      This doesn’t mean to have to become a selfish jerk. What it means is becoming more assertive and honest with yourself. You don’t have to grab off other people. There is a big pot of unclaimed gold in the middle of the table — why shouldn’t you be the one to claim it? You deserve it!

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      2. Become Goal-Orientated

      It’s almost impossible to achieve anything if you don’t set firm goals. Only lottery winners become millionaires overnight. By setting yourself attainable goals, you will get there eventually. Don’t try to get rich quickly — get rich slowly.

      Let’s take the idea of making your first million dollars and expand on what kind of goals you might set to get there. Let’s also say you’re starting at a break-even position – you’re making enough to get by with a few luxuries, but nothing more.

      Your goal for the first year can be having $10,000 in the bank within a year. It won’t be easy but it is doable. Next, you need to figure out the steps you need to take to achieve that goal.

      Always look at ways to make growth before cutbacks. With that in mind, you might want to see if you can negotiate a pay rise with your boss, or if there’s another job out there that will pay better. You might be comfortable in your old job but remember, comfort stunts growth.

      You may also have other skills outside of your workplace that you can monetize to boost your bank balance. Maybe you can design websites for people, at a fee of course, or make alterations to clothes.

      If this is still not enough to make the money you need to save $10,000 in a year, then it’s time to look at cutbacks. Do you have a bunch of old junk that someone else might love? Sell it! Do you really need to spend $10 on your lunch everyday when you could make your own for a fraction of the cost?

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      If you are to become a millionaire, you need to start accumulating money.

      Here’re some tips to help you: How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life

      3. Don’t Spend Your Money – Invest It

      The reason you need to accumulate money is for step three. Millionaires tend to be frugal people, and that’s because they know the true value of money is in investing. Being your own boss goes hand-in-hand with becoming a millionaire. You’ll want to quit your regular job at some point.

      Stop working for your money and make your money work for you.

      Rather than buying yourself a new iPad, that $500 could be used to invest in the stock market. Find the right shares (more on that later), and that money could easily double within a year.

      There’s not just the stock market — there’s also property, and your own education.

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      4. Never Stop Learning

      The best thing you can invest in is yourself.

      Once most people leave the education system, they think their learning days are over. Well theirs might be, but yours shouldn’t be. Successful people continually learn and adapt.

      Billionaire Warren Buffet estimates that he read at least 100 books on investing before he turned twenty. Most people never read another book after they’ve left school. Who would you rather be?

      Learn everything you can about how economics works, how the stocks markets work, how they trend.

      Learn new skills. If you have an interest in it, learn everything you can about it. You’d be surprised at how often, seemingly useless skills, can become extremely useful in the right situation.

      Start developing the habit of learning continuously: How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You

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      5. Think Big

      While I advise to start off with small goals, you absolutely should have a big goal in mind. If you have a business idea, then that is your ultimate goal – to start that business and make a success of it. If you want to invest your way to millions of dollars and do little work other than research, then that is your big goal.

      There is no shame in not achieving a big goal. If you run a business and aim to make $1 million profit in a year and “only” make $200,000, then you’re still significantly ahead of most people.

      Aim for the stars, if you fail you’ll still be over the moon.

      6. Enjoy the Attention

      To be successful, you have to be willing to promote yourself and enjoy the attention to a certain extent. Now the attention doesn’t need to be on yourself, it could be on your brand, but attention definitely attracts money.

      Never be embarrassed to get your name out there. That means finding a spotlight and being brave enough to step right up underneath it.

      If you run a business, try contacting the local papers. You’d be surprised at how amenable they often are to running a story about you and your business, and it’s all free publicity.

      Above all, remember: You control your own destiny. Push hard enough for anything and you’ll get it.

      More About Thinking Smart

      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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