Travel can be very expensive, but there are several ways to save a lot of money when booking a hotel. It’s important to pay close attention to details like location and timing when you book. We’ve compiled our top tips to show you the secret to booking a hotel at an affordable price.
Our top 11 tips on how to save money on hotel reservations:
Let’s take a closer look at all those tips…
1. Choose your location wisely
By picking a central hotel, you’ll save money on transportation (especially expensive taxis and Ubers), and save time spent getting around. Sleeping in a far-off corner of the city might save you some cash, but it could also put shackles on your schedule.
Having said that…
Although we always recommend that first-time visitors try booking a hotel in a central location, there are excellent deals to be found in the outer boroughs. Just be sure to double-check exactly where the hotel is located and if a subway station is nearby (meaning a 5-10 minute walk away).
Choosing a hotel near a subway station accomplishes a number of goals for discerning travelers. On your arrival, you can skip the expensive taxi from the airport and take the subway to your hotel.
If you don’t have a lot of luggage, it’s an easy way to get to your hotel. Once you’re checked in and ready to head off and explore the city, just get a metro card and the city is at your fingertips.
2. Travel at off-peak times
You can make major savings by traveling outside peak season. The weather might not be quite as good, but you’ll find much better value and hotel availability.
Hotels need to keep their rooms filled. In the off-season, after the crowds have either left or not yet arrived, they will often slash prices. Some will also provide added perks to lure your business. Such perks may include spa credits, discounted meals in the hotel’s restaurant and other incentives. Look also at business hotels for weekend stays.
Similarly, if you’re booking a mini-break, consider a midweek stay or a Sunday night.
3. Book a refundable room in advance
Many hotels allow reserving a room with the ability to cancel up to 24 hours in advance. If you find a great deal, book it right away! You can always cancel later on if you find something better.
How far in advance should I book a hotel?
Booking a hotel room three to six weeks out could be the most advantageous. Making your reservation during this period could potentially result in savings of up to 15% compared to arranging accommodation six weeks or longer before your stay.
What day are hotels cheapest to book?
Steer clear of booking hotels early in the week, specifically between Monday and Wednesday. This period typically witnesses high demand due to many individuals organizing their holidays. However, as the week progresses, this high demand tends to dwindle.
Hotels, realizing that they might not be able to occupy all their rooms, begin slashing prices around Friday and Saturday. Consequently, these days offer the best opportunities for hotel bookings.
Even though check-in and check-out rates are usually high during these days, the most affordable hotel deals can be found when the majority of people are on the move.
4. Keep an eye out for last-minute deals
Sometimes good things come to those that wait. That’s not typically the standard rule, but can be worth a shot. Depending on what’s going on in the city, you can find some very nice deals a few days before you leave or even at the very last minute!
5. Check all booking costs
Whenever you book a hotel online, be certain to check additional fees. Although some websites may show a lower price, it may not include all the taxes and miscellaneous charges like the obnoxious “resort fee.” The sites of many brand hotels will likely include all fees, but it never hurts to ask.
6. Join a hotel points program
Utilizing hotel loyalty programs to accumulate and utilize points can significantly cut down your vacation costs. Most of the leading hotel chains have these programs, including Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt, and Hilton Honors, and you can sign up for them in just a few minutes.
Additionally, online travel agencies and aggregators such as OneKey offer programs that cover VRBO, Hotels.com, and Expedia, which may be more advantageous for earning rewards at independent properties. After several stays, you might have collected enough points to cover the cost of one or two nights.
7. Consider the days of the week
Hotels located in the city center or business districts, which are popular among corporate travelers, might be less expensive on weekends once the business crowd departs.
On the other hand, quaint bed and breakfasts that cater to couples seeking romantic weekend retreats often have reduced prices throughout the week. For savings, schedule your reservations appropriately.
What day of the week are hotels cheapest to stay?
The specific days you intend to check in a hotel can significantly affect the cost. For instance, if your schedule is flexible, you might want to think about staying on a Sunday night. On average, hotel rates for Sunday nights are 30% more affordable compared to those of Fridays and Saturdays.
This approach saves you money and provides you with less crowded spaces and effortless access to facilities and restaurants.
8. Consider a private room in a hostel
The word hostel usually conjures up images of sprawling rooms filled with bunk beds and a party-hard clientele. But travelers searching for a deal shouldn’t overlook hostels. There are several hostels that offer private rooms for hostel prices in a more adult atmosphere.
9. Split your stay
Split your trip and spend the first part of your trip at a more affordable place while you do the majority of your activities and exploring. Then move to a nice resort or luxury hotel for the last part of your trip to spend a few days just relaxing and “being on vacation.”
10. Use price matching
At This Hotel, we partner with Booking.com and Hotels.com. Both booking websites offer the lowest price guarantee. If you find your reservation cheaper on another website, you can claim a refund for the difference. Just remember to contact Booking or Hotels.com at least 24 hours before check-in and give them the link to the other (better) offer.
The other offer has to be for the same property and accommodation type. It also needs to have the same check-in and check-out dates, with no changes made. Plus, the better offer must have the same cancellation policy and conditions.
11. Bring your own breakfast
Most hotels charge extra for breakfast. Consider purchasing or packing some instant oatmeal packets from your residence. If the hotel room is equipped with a microwave, you can quickly prepare it. If a microwave isn’t available, the coffee machine or tea pot can be utilized to warm water, providing a simple yet satisfying dish.
Last but not least, you should also check out our articles about cheap hotels. These guides list the three best affordable hotels in each destination. See for example our articles about the best cheap hotels in New York City or London.