Once you have your flight ticket sorted out, accommodation is the next big chunk of your trip. As we mentioned in our post on how to book the cheapest flight possible, the internet has brought tons of sites offering different prices even for the same hotel. But booking hotels can consume too much time and energy.
Do you want to know how to book the cheapest hotels? Then follow the actionable step-by-step process in this article. You will save both time and money on your travels. You will also learn how to discover the best hotel deals for your budget, destination, and travel style.
11 Tips on How To Book The Cheapest Hotels
You can take action on any of the tips below to filter and find the cheapest hotel deals for your trip. However, we have an actionless tip that could save you more than all the pointers listed below in combination:
Be flexible when possible.
If you can afford to move your trip one day ahead or backward, you can save enormous amounts of money when you travel.
1. Use credit cards with massive travel cashback benefits
Start with the basics. Whether you’re a regular, domestic or international traveler, one of the most consistent ways to save money when booking hotels is to use a Travel Rewards credit card.
That’s so simple, right.
Use a credit card with special travel rewards and no foreign transaction fees. This can save you up to 3% on every purchase made abroad.
It may not sound like much, but these small amounts are added every time you book a hotel.
A little caveat here is that credit card purchases in Nigeria are limited to hotels and restaurants at popular tourist destinations. But if you can use one, it’s a no-brainer.
2. Check Prices Directly With Hotels
This is where you need to put in a little effort. If you really want to book the cheapest hotels, you need to do your research to find the best deals.
Start by contacting any hotel you like after searching a booking engine.
While calling the hotel, you can negotiate free parking, breakfast, room upgrade, and even a lower price. Calling doesn’t mean you will get these things. But as the saying goes- there is no harm in trying. For the record, sometimes it’s worth it.
3. Sign up for hotel booking search engine rewards programs
Hotel reservation search engines like booking.com reward members with loyalty benefits. Why not sign up to get bookings at reasonable prices. You can look up other search engines like Expedia, wakanow.com, Agoda.com, or Hotels.com. Subscribing to these sites will save you money over and over again.
This is the simplest way to book the cheapest hotels every time you travel. It will not cost you a dime. Plus, the rewards you get on hotel bookings far outweigh the weird promotional email that’s piling up the inbox.
The truth is, you can save up to 15% on hotel rooms using this tip. No cheating, no strings attached, just save money.
4. Book In Advance With Free Cancellation
If you start searching for hotel rates in advance, chances are you can find a room at a great price with free cancellation.
Usually, if you book through a hotel search engine, you can choose between two prices: a lower non-refundable price and a higher free cancellation price.
Although booking with a free cancellation will not necessarily bring you the best deals, it will offer you security and flexibility in prices. Also, reserving a room with free cancellation gives you the leeway to change your dates.
5. Download smartphone apps for hotel reservations
Download mobile apps for major hotel booking engines such as booking.com, Agoda, and Expedia to get special deals as mobile-only.
The introduction of more discounts when booking via smartphones is a creative and effective marketing innovation from hotel booking search engine services.
Just in case you are wondering why the hotels offer the best prices on your phone, here is your answer:
With the app on your phone, you are much more likely to repeat booking with them because it is very convenient to make a reservation.
So when big hotel booking companies offer massive discounts if you use their app, take advantage.
6. Book In Advance With Non-Refundable Rate
Booking hotels with free cancellation or non-refundable options allow you to save money and ensure security. It’s even better when you are sure of your travel dates. Yes, booking early with a non-refundable option can save you a lot of money.
There is a small risk factor for unexpected problems, but it is worth the difference in cost.
Again, keep in mind that with reservations like this, you can lose your money if you can not complete your stay at the hotel. So use this option only if you are 100% certain your travel dates will work.
7. Consider Visiting during Weekday or the off-season
Almost all tourist destinations in the world have high seasons, intermediate seasons, and low seasons. Carefully consider the timing of your visit and its influence on booking the cheapest hotels.
If you are visiting in the off-season, here is how you can get the best deals. Firstly, look for hotels on booking engines, but do not book anything before arriving. Then speak with hotel management to negotiate the best deal possible.
Don’t be shy to use seasons like these to your advantage whenever possible.
If you visit a place during the low season, you can get the best deals because the demand is low. But the market is somewhat high in the rush season. That makes it a bit hard to book the cheapest hotels.
Also, cities are naturally busier on weekends than on weekdays. Hence, weekends tend to cost more in hotels than during the week, unless, of course, there are weekday events. Check if there are any midweek events like sports games, concerts, or exhibitions. Doing this can save you money.
More on saving money here: How to save money for travel
8. Book Longer Stays To Save More
Staying in hotels for longer nights often reduces the average cost per night. Why? Because it eliminates the need to clean your room and guarantees it’s occupied mainly in low season.
Look up the prices of 1 night, 2 nights, 3 nights, and so on to see if the total cost changes. Keep in mind that this is not always the case, and you may need to spend time peeking at different hotels, but it works.
9. Compare prices on hotel, car, and flight packages
If you are going on a vacation, you might want to book a flight package covering everything you need- flight, car service, hotel- for convenience. It’s not a bad idea, but you could be overpaying.
Because you will end up paying an astronomical service fee to the travel agent plus fees for flights, hotels, and transport. Put together, this could be way over the odds.
You could save more by booking flights, hotels, and car rentals separately at the best prices.
Convenience and price are directly proportional. Once your trip becomes more convenient with flight packages, hotels, and ground transportation, chances are the total price of your journey will skyrockets.
But this does not mean that you should check special offers or package prices. Sometimes there may be special packages that offer the best price overall.
You should always add up the total cost of the flight, car, and hotel separately. Then compare it against the package prices on the booking site.
10. Save money with last-minute hotel reservations
Last-minute deals happen when rates are reduced to sell a room. Such prices can be found on booking sites. Expedia has a page where you can find last-minute deals.
Hotel Tonight is a hotel booking engine designed to offer the best last-minute deals for travelers. The larger the population or the tourist attraction, the better this method works.
This tip works well when you travel during the offseason to big cities. Remember that hotels don’t want empty rooms. So, you can use that to your advantage to book the cheapest last-minute rooms.
Plus, you get to travel with maximum flexibility.
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11. Consider Alternative Accommodation
If you have used all the tips in this list and still can not book a cheap hotel room, it is time to consider other options.
Airbnb could be a solid option. You will meet the local people and equally have a great place to stay. But pay close attention to the cost per night. Airbnb might help you save more money if your stay is longer.
Another option is camping if you are visiting a tourist attraction. Hotel prices can be high in these areas since demand exceeds supply, and campsites offer a cheaper alternative.
And there you have it, all the best booking tips in one place. If you have any other cost-cutting advice, feel free to share in the comments below.
We sincerely hope the tips here help you book the cheapest hotels while traveling.