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Getting a Bargain on Hotel Rooms

26 April, 2010 11:41  EasyExpat EasyExpat

In planning a trip for business or pleasure, one of the most important considerations is the hotel accommodation. Whether your desire is to find a home away from home featuring an array of amenities or simply a clean, quiet place to sleep during your holiday, it is possible to find a hotel room to fill your needs. With a bit of planning, finding the right hotel won't empty your bank account.

Package Deals

Frequently, booking a hotel room together with a flight means significant savings, especially when using online travel resources such as Expedia or Orbitz. You can often refine your search by many factors, including hotel star rating or price level, location in the city center or on the outskirts, and specific amenities. However, to obtain these discounts, you must prepay for your travel package.

Online Hotel Discounts

Another way to find cheap hotel rooms is to utilize an online hotel discount search service like Priceline or Hotwire. Like online travel services, you can refine your search by hotel location, amenities and price level. You will also be required to pay for your accommodations right away to guarantee booking. However, you will not learn the actual name of your hotel until after your reservations are final and paid.

Groups and Clubs

If you are a student, a senior, or belong to an organization such as AAA, you may be entitled to discounts rates for hotel rooms. When booking a hotel online, check for an option to indicate your special status. When making reservations with a reservations agent or travel agent, inquire about specific group discounts. Be prepared to show an ID card or membership card to verify your status when you check in to the hotel.

Direct Hotel Reservations

Try contacting the reservation agent for a specific hotel directly when seeking a discounted rate. Sometimes the hotel will extend a rate discount if you book during the off season. You may also receive a room upgrade for the same price as you were originally planning to pay.You will probably need to guarantee your reservation with a credit card, but the card will not actually be charged until you check into the hotel.

Tradeoffs and Compromises

Decide what features and amenities are necessities, and be willing to compromise on those that are not. Turn-down service, a spa or gym on the premises or even room service are all features that can raise the price of a hotel room. If you can enjoy your holiday without them, you'll have more money to spend for local events and souveniers. 

However, booking a hotel far away from the city center may be a false economy if you plan to spend a significant amount of time sightseeing or pursuing cultural activities. You'll likely spend more time and money getting back and forth than you'll save.  Boutique hotels that emphasize bold colors and stylish furnishings, convenient locations or a rooftop bar are also often less expensive than luxury hotels, according to Kate Silber, writing for the website.

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Audrey Henderson
Freelance writer based in Chicago


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