Whether you’re planning a backpacking trip or heading off on a chic city break, we’ve got the ultimate tips and tricks to help you bag the best hotel rooms for the best price.
It’s all about the peak
Wondering how to find the hotel deals? Start thinking about timing. Generally, hotels in city centres – especially in central business districts – will be cheaper at weekends (their off peak periods), while your average country house hotel will push its prices up significantly during the week. Hoteliers do this to ensure hotels are as full as possible, no matter what day of the week it is. So don’t write off that five-star Cotswolds crash pad just yet – especially if you’re visiting between Tuesday and Thursday. Similarly, if you’re planning on a weekend city break, consider hotels near the CBD (central business district). Most of the customers will be weekday businessmen and women, so management will be keen to fill the rooms on what are typically quiet days.
Weigh up the perks
Does your perfect hotel involve a beautiful pool or a Michelin-starred restaurant? Don’t pass up a bargain just because you’re obsessed with one particular feature. That gorgeous boutique hotel in Barcelona might not have a Conde Nast-worthy pool but does it really matter when the beach is just a short walk away? And if that city centre hotel ticks all your boxes but doesn’t have a brilliant restaurant, it’s worth remembering that there’s sure to be a great lunch spot nearby. In summary, being flexible about what you look for in a hotel is a great way to save money and get better rooms. The best bit? Weighing up the perks is wonderfully easy with Skyscanner – our search tools let you select the features which you value the most, whether that’s a spa, 24-hour reception or a pool.
The guests who bag the best hotel prices are often the most organised ones. After you book your room give the hotel a ring to see how they can help you. You’ll have more chance of bagging a better hotel room if you put in your request early on, before all the other rooms are snapped up. And remember to make a note of the name of the member of staff you speak to – building a relationship with members of staff will earn you brownie points in the long run, and they’ll be more likely to help you.
In the same way that it’s not a good idea to choose hotels solely because of certain features they have or haven’t got, it’s important to show a little flexibility when it comes to bagging the best rooms once you’ve booked your hotel. If you ask for an upgrade, don’t set your sights on one specific room type. Rely on the knowledge of staff. If they tell you that they can upgrade you to a room which has a particularly fantastic view of the ocean, grab their offer with both hands. If they tell you that a larger room isn’t available but they can offer you a room with an access to the executive lounge, you’d be foolish to turn the offer down.
These days, hotels are so keen to get customers through the door that their loyalty schemes will usually extend to those who booked through price comparison sites (such as Skyscanner). Always join up for loyalty schemes, and keep the card close to hand so that you remember to hand it over when checking in. You’ll be surprised at how quickly points add up, and as the expression goes, points mean prizes. Or in this case, cheap hotel deals.
Love the last minute
Although there are perks to being prepared, if you’re looking for a hotel at the last minute, see this as an advantage. You can shop around, and you’re more likely to benefit from flash hotel room sales (you don’t have to book in advance to benefit from these). And while we’re on the subject of last minute breaks, remember that if you’re in the market for this type of holiday and haven’t settled on a location, you might just find some inspiration by selecting one of Skyscanner’s suggested hotels in popular destination. Find these by scrolling to the bottom of the hotel search page to the section titled “need inspiration?”
We’re not suggesting that you shower the housekeeper with dollar bills every time she comes to clean your room, but being nice will always pay off. To start with, hotel staff talk, so when it comes to requesting that upgrade or asking for a quieter room, staff will always be more inclined to help guests who treat them with the respect they deserve. Some guests swear that cold hard cash can smooth the way to similar perks, but we reckon this approach should be treated with caution. If your bribe backfires, you could end up looking incredibly foolish – while scuppering any opportunity for favourable treatment.
Annoyed that your room stank of stale smoke or that you were kept awake by a particularly noisy elevator? Say so – any decent hotelier will go out of their way to ensure the rest of your stay is as enjoyable as possible. And if you’re particularly impressed with the room or the quality of the customer service, mention that, too. Feedback works both ways and hotel staff will always appreciate a compliment – and might just be more inclined to treat you to a complimentary upgrade.
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