Navigating through the vast array of options available online for the best holiday deals and cheapest hotels can sometimes feel overwhelming. The internet has provided us with countless choices, an overwhelming amount of information, and numerous booking platforms to sift through. It’s not uncommon to find the same hotel listed at different prices on various websites, leaving us sceptical about their reliability.
Luckily, there are reputable price comparison and holiday deal websites where you can find genuinely affordable room bookings. Just like finding cheap flights, it’s all about knowing where to search. In fact, you don’t have to choose a cheap hotel; sometimes you can save money on a good hotel. With good hotel discounts, you can either save money or get a better room for the same money. Both scenarios are positive for us.
1. Use Price Comparison Sites
To find the best deals on hotel prices in one go, utilise a hotel or travel comparison site. These websites provide aggregated lists of hotels, allowing you to filter them by the lowest price. Additionally, you can set up price alerts for your search query on popular sites like Expedia and Kayak, ensuring you stay updated on price fluctuations.
Remember, different comparison sites search various booking sites, so it’s advisable to explore multiple options to find the most favourable deals. Our team frequently relies on the following comparison sites:
2. Use Browsers With a Focus on Anonymity and Security
Most hotel booking sites use the concept of dynamic pricing. They may offer the same room at different prices depending on your region, previous searches, website history, and price comparison site surfing. If you’re not lucky enough to get the best price right away, you can get it with Brave’s browser privacy and advanced security techniques. There is a lot to say regarding security, but the guys at VeePN have said it best. Most importantly, you get more control over your data.
3. Sign Up for Hotel Loyalty Programs
Knowing how to access affordable hotels requires acknowledging the effectiveness of loyalty programs. We comprehend the desire for privacy and an organized inbox, but it’s important to recognize that disregarding loyalty programs means forfeiting potential savings.
Various hotel loyalty programs exist, such as point-based systems, buy-some-get-one-free programs, and exclusive low-price hotel offerings. Both search engines and hotel chains provide remarkable guest loyalty programs.
4. Try to Maintain Flexibility
Over the past years, travel plans have demonstrated how swiftly and unexpectedly they can alter. Therefore, it’s advisable to seek out hotels that provide flexible policies, allowing you to change or cancel your reservation without incurring charges or for a refund or voucher.
Many hotels, even those with affordable rates, typically offer free cancellation up until a certain timeframe (usually 24-48 hours before your scheduled arrival). Some hotels may also allow you to delay payment until that point. If you can cancel your hotel for free, you can continue to search for the best deals even while you’re on the road. Before booking, carefully review the terms and conditions regarding your cancellation rights. If you must make an upfront payment, it’s good practice to check if free cancellation is available.
5. Use Cashback Sites
When you’re planning your next hotel booking, consider taking advantage of free cashback sites. By doing so, you can receive an extra cash bonus to use on your travels. Cashback sites reward you with cash when you click through them to purchase goods or financial products, as well as when you use comparison sites.
At the moment, you have the opportunity to earn up to 10% cashback by booking your hotel through Quidco on Hotels.com. Additionally, you can earn 5% cashback on Booking.com and 3.2% on Travelodge bookings.
The price comparison site also offers additional cashback options for various travel-related services, such as flights, transportation, and travel insurance. By making smart choices, you can quickly accumulate cash rewards.
6. Book With A Travel Agent
You may find it surprising that booking with a reputable travel agent can save you money on hotel expenses. By opting for an agent, you gain an extra layer of protection in case anything goes wrong, ensuring that you won’t bear the financial burden if your travel plans collapse. Agents also have exclusive access to hotel deals and provide the opportunity to negotiate directly with them. Furthermore, agents can assist you in selecting the best hotel tailored to your needs, saving you the time and hassle of searching through various websites. Additionally, agents are well-equipped to suggest ideal travel destinations if you’re still undecided.
According to Emma Savage, an acclaimed travel agent, “Booking holiday components separately will not protect in case of supplier failure and lacks ATOL cover.” She emphasizes that booking a flight-inclusive package (flight and hotel) through a travel agent will ensure ATOL protection, a UK financial protection scheme that safeguards most air package holidays offered by travel businesses.
7. Contact the Hotel Directly
Hotels often honour lower rates found on partner websites because they need to avoid paying commissions to third-party booking sites, explains Eric A. Rubino, Founder & Principal at Extreme Hospitality. It is recommended to contact the hotel after finding the best price on an OTA or through an agent to check if they can match or beat the offer. Rubino also suggests calling the hotel directly to explore additional flexibility or complimentary upgrades. Booking directly with the hotel allows for more reservation modifications and cancellations without penalties.
8. Book in Advance
To ensure affordable hotel rates, travellers can book their hotels in advance, avoiding the need to stress over finding cheap rates. Booking early often results in lower prices as most hotel rooms offer better deals the earlier they are booked.
Contrary to some beliefs that booking a week or two before the trip is the best time, we disagree. Often, the best hotels are fully booked during that period. But don’t worry! We have another tip to help you secure the best hotel rates, and it involves “hacking” the system.
Believe it or not, this is one of the simplest and most underutilized tips for finding cheap hotel rates. The key is to book a refundable room in advance and if you find a better deal nearer to the time you can just cancel the original booking at no cost to you.
Hotel booking is a very unstable environment in which prices can vary significantly without any visible changes in the quality of the room or the location of the hotel. Now you know what the price depends on and how you can benefit from these loopholes, hopefully, this advice will help you to reduce your costs next time you are planning a short break.