There is a subtle art to finding a good deal on hotels. While many facilities and services would have you believe otherwise, the path toward discount luxury only truly shows itself through a great deal of research, flexibility and simple timing. Rack rates are the prices commonly charged by these facilities to travelers looking for a quick bed and minimal hassle. The goal here is to obtain a price which falls well below such a figure, through the use of package deals, seasonal rates and a fair share of bargaining.
Step 1 – Start planning your trip well in advance, and if possible, during the off season, or mid-week if applicable. Many facilities offer rooms at an up to 50% discount during these periods due to a simple lack of demand. Call your desired facility to find out the exact date that their off-season rates begin to take effect.
Step 2 – During your initial call, inquire about any available package deals, special discounts or the elderly, military, students, companies or AAA. Once you’ve obtained a quote, ask whether any less expensive options are currently available.
Step 3 – Utilize any available web-based resources to book your room. As it stands, many hotels tend to offer discounts for online transactions. Many online booking services hold special arrangements with a variety of facilities, which can effectively enable to you obtain a rate not offered elsewhere.
Step 4 – If you are traveling with children, find out whether they will stay for free. Get specifics on the rooms, including the square footage, cable packages, window views, appliances, and various other accommodations to help you make a decision. Look for rooms with kitchenettes to help you save a few dollars by eating in on your trip.
Step 5 – If you happen to find yourself in a flexible position in regard to the type and location of the facility, you may want to employ the use of a travel agency such as Priceline.com to negotiate for you. But be careful; While many of these sites will offer a discounted cost in excess of 40% of the published rate, none of the exact details of the facility (hotel, room, location and exact rate) will remain undisclosed until after your credit card has already been charged.
Step 6 – If you are planning an elongated stay (longer than 7 days) try haggling for a free night per week. You can also save a bit of money by asking for weekly rates, as most facilities offer additional discounts for longer stays.
Step 7 – Make yourself aware of any hidden fees and costs associated with your booking. Taxes, resort fees, surcharges and various other fees can add up quickly if you’re not paying close attention. Make certain to ask the hotel in advance whether you should expect to incur any additional fees on top of the room rate you’ve agreed to pay. In cases where fees are tacked on without prior consent, you can refuse to pay.
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