A Travel Industry Insider's Guide On How to Get the Best Hotel Deals Online

Team Hoo
17th April 2021

Flights and hotels – the two biggest expense of any given holiday. As trips will usually take a week or so, and often even longer, accommodation that seems cheap at first glance will rack up costs over time. The more money being spent on the hotel, the less is left over for the things people actually want to do while on their holiday.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as all that. Numerous resources and strategies exist that can allow budding jetsetters a chance to travel cheaply and get the most bang for their buck.

Choosing the Right Hotel

What sort of hotel you choose to stay at is going to be one of the more important decisions you’ll make about your holiday as it will be your home base for the rest of the trip. It’s where you’ll keep your things, where you’ll go to rest and recover each night, and it’s where you’ll prepare for the next day. So, making sure it has everything you need to complement and enhance the rest of the holiday is key.

  • Establish Needs. Just what exactly do you want from a hotel? Many will offer a wide range of facilities and services, from pools, to buffet breakfasts, to multi-bedroom apartment suites. While the options are dazzling, keep a firm idea of what you need from your hotel. If your hotel is literally just going to be somewhere to sleep, you won’t need much from it at all. Just a bed, somewhere to clean yourself up, and maybe somewhere for breakfast. On the other hand, hotels can become an experience in themselves. Some people like making their hotel as much a part of the holiday as the rest of it, and will look for hotels with a wide array of amenities. The size and composition of your party will play a key role too. While singles or couples can manage small rooms, families or people with special requirements will need something larger and with more specialised services.
  • Establish Location. As in real estate, the three most important factors in hotel selection are location, location and location. Always make sure that the hotel you want is found somewhere easily accessible, prioritising those that have easy access to main points of interests and transport links. Inner city hotels tend to be more conveniently located, but also more expensive. Conversely while smaller, out-of-town lodgings may have lower rates, but their locations may make them inconvenient without a car.
  • Establish Budget. How much are you able to spend, and are you getting the best value for money? A brief one-day stop in a city for example may be too brief to warrant the expense of a hotel room, so consider a pod or micro hotel instead. If you’re not going to be spending much time in the hotel, then you can save quite a bit of money by opting out of more expensive luxuries. But if you make the hotel an offer on a room, versus the advertised list price, you’ll be pleasantly surprised about the value deals you can get and how far you can make your budget stretch. Never forget - hotels want their rooms filled with good customers and, if they have rooms going spare, they will usually try to go the extra mile for you. 

Booking Hotels Online

Although it’s still possible to book hotels upon arrival, it’s more sensible to book in advance. If travelling as part of a package this will already have been done when the holiday was booked, which makes the process easier. However, there’s far more choice and flexibility when booking the hotel independently, and so holidaymakers in this situation will book their hotels online.

This opens up several options to you. The most advantageous way to book a hotel online is to book directly with the hotel itself. Hotels have to advertise the same rates everywhere online - something called ‘rate parity’. However, by finding a hotel and making them an offer directly for the chosen room you can often beat the online prices so it’s always worth trying and some hotel booking platforms allow you to do this in a couple of taps. Some hotels might also prioritise upgrades and services to guests who book directly. Finding hotel websites can obviously be done on any search engine, and apps such as Google Maps will also list hotels in the area if the option is selected. You can then access and browse these hotels individually.

Keep in mind however that getting the best deals on hotels requires a lot of work and could require hours of pouring through individual websites to find the most affordable rooms. One resource to reduce this workload is to use hotel booking websites.

Getting the Best Deals

Hotel booking websites are a quick and convenient way to quickly browse through dozens or even hundreds of hotels in a given area, allowing you to search for rooms by basis of type, cost, availability and size. This allows for great ease in research and can allow you to quickly narrow down your ideal hotel in minutes rather than hours.

Another great use for these sites is to compare prices online as well. Using the search functionality provided, you can easily compare potential hotels against each other to make sure you get the best deal. As said above, if you can, choose a platform that allows you to make offers to the hotel for the room you want, rather just accepting the list price.

Booking through a third party can carry its share of risks and complications. Some hotel booking sites may have additional fees added at the time you come to pay (they often dress it up as ‘local taxes & hotel fees’), so you might be paying more than you first thought. These mark ups also mean that your selection of hotels might be limited to those prepared to allow those fees, or those hotels are promoted higher on these third party sites, above hotels that might be better choices for you.

Finally, if you book through a third party, you’re both a customer of the booking site you used, as well as the hotel. So, in the event of complications or missing bookings, you may be dealing with the booking site’s customer relations team first of all. This adds an extra layer that can either be useful (an additional level of security/insurance/assistance) or a real pain, with the site and hotel passing the buck to each other - so choose your platform wisely!

Team hoo.

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