Apart from flights or other transportation costs, accommodation tends to be one of the main expenses you have to pay for during any trip away. Hotel costs can add up very quickly, and make a huge dent in your budget, or stop you from taking vacations in the first place. There are numerous tips you can follow to cut costs and ensure you get to enjoy travel much more often. Read on for some great hotel hacks you can test out today.
Use Credit Card Points and Other Loyalty Schemes
One prime way to reduce your accommodation costs is to utilize credit-card points, airlines miles, or other rewards you build up using loyalty and reward schemes. For example, while you need to do the numbers to work out if it will save you money long-term (check if the annual fees and other costs will be higher than the value you’ll get in return), if you already pay most of your bills on a credit card and then pay off that card monthly, it’s likely worth switching to a card that will earn you points as you go.
Most credit cards these days have some sort of reward program attached to them, many of which allow users to convert points into stays at hotels. It’s worth checking, too, if banks or other financial institutions are offering large bonus points just for signing up with them, or for spending a certain amount of money in a particular period. Sometimes, it’s possible to earn enough points to pay for a few nights’ accommodation right away.
If you fly often, you should also take advantage of the air miles you can rack up. These miles usually don’t need to be spent only on flights or upgrades; the airlines may partner with hotel chains and allow travelers to convert their points to accommodation stays instead.
Note, too, that many hotels have their own loyalty programs, particularly the franchised ones such as Sheraton, Wyndham, Fairmont, Hilton, and Kimpton. By joining these programs, which are typically either free or fairly low cost, you can accrue points as you travel, then enjoy free nights, discounted stays, upgrades, and other freebies in the future.
Sign Up to Newsletters and Alerts for Timely Access to Deals
Another good way to get a great hotel deal is to sign up to newsletters and alerts so you find out when the best deals become available. Most hotels offer deals to their newsletter subscribers that can’t be found elsewhere, or which are given to subscribers to access first.
You can sign up to newsletters of the hotel chains you most like to stay at, so that you get information about the best deals at their properties around the world, or follow the news updates of independent hotels in particular areas.
It pays to follow hotels on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook too. Many companies announce hot prices on their social media pages, particularly last-minute deals. In addition, consider signing up for alerts from resellers and aggregators like Kayak and Skyscanner. This way, you can be emailed when the price drops for any particular hotels and/or dates you’re interested in, and then snap up the bargains straight away.
Of course, it’s also easier than ever to compare prices for hotels when you’re ready to book. Before you pay for a stay, research to see if you can find a cheaper price. Companies like Expedia, Priceline, Kayak, Hotels.com, Orbitz, and Travelocity are just a few in the business of showcasing the best deals and comparing prices side by side. In addition, coupon-based websites like Groupon and Living Social can also be the place to find heavily discounted deals because of their group-buying power. These Niagara Falls hotel deals are prime examples of deals you could get.
Keep in mind, though, that all of these companies don’t always make the final price visible on the comparison or product pages, so check your cart and the terms and conditions before booking to ensure you’re actually going to pay the price you expect.
It’s a good idea to contact a hotel directly before you book online too. Sometimes by approaching them directly rather than going through a third-party that charges them fees, you’ll actually be able to get a better price. Even if not, sometimes they’ll match the price you can find elsewhere, but also throw in freebies or upgrades for you. This is particularly the case if you want to stay for a week or more.
It helps, too, to find out about package rates. Often you can get a better deal if you choose a comprehensive package, even if you don’t necessarily need all of the components it includes. Packages can include things like free parking or transfers, access to hotel facilities, meals, drinks, room upgrades, spa visits, and event tickets.