Los Angeles Hotels Blog

April 28, 2010

How to get great prices on hotel rooms

HOW DO YOU KNOW if you got a good or great deal on your hotel room? Next time you are at the Sheraton, Hilton, Hyatt, or any other hotel, look at the rack rates. Most of the time, rack rates are posted on the back of the hotel door. You can also call a hotel ahead of time and ask what the rates are. You should never pay rack rates for a hotel room, when you have plenty of ways to save money and get great prices. Here are FIVE TIPS FOR GETTING GREAT PRICES ON HOTEL ROOMS:

1. TRAVEL DURING THE WEEK: Weekday rates are often much cheaper than weekend rates. If at all possible, modify your trip for significant savings on your hotel room. In general, the cheapest days to fly are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Check the restrictions on your airfare, because many bargain airfares require a Saturday stay.

2. MAKE RESERVATIONS EARLY: Don’t wait until two weeks before your trip to book a room. Book your room as early as possible. Find out how many months out the hotel (or travel booking agency) begins taking reservations, and book your room on that date. Ask the hotel when their “peak” rates begin and end, and try to book your reservations before the prices go up.

3. USE YOUR CONNECTIONS: If you have a friend or family member that works for a national hotel room, you may qualify for a hot rate or a friends and family rate. These rates often result in significant savings. Also, if you belong to AAA, call them and ask what discounts are available for hotel stays.

4. BUY A TRAVEL PACKAGE: You can often save money if you book a flight, car rental, and hotel package. Check rates early, at least a 3 months out, on websites like orbitz.com, hotwire.com, travelocity.com, or expedia.com. Look in your Sunday newspaper for travel agency specials.

5. ASK FOR AN UPGRADE OR DISCOUNT: When you check in to your hotel, always ask for a room upgrade. Sometimes you can get one for free. On my last trip to Hawaii, I was upgraded from a garden view room to an ocean view suite at the Sheraton, just because I asked. Always ask if the hotel gives you a AAA discount, if you are a member.

Finally, if you want to go somewhere and save a lot of money, consider staying at a hostel. I wouldn’t recommend this for families, and it certainly won’t be a private romantic getaway, but you will save money. On our 2006 trip to Honduras, my husband and I slept in a room in Honduras with two strange men from Amsterdam. I think we paid about $7 a night, and our room was literally on a dock above the ocean. Hostels are not just in faraway countries. You can stay in hostels in many U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Los Vegas. For more information on hostels, visit www.usahostels.com.

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