Where to Find Last-Minute Hotel Deals
When it comes to traveling, the price of your hotel is one of the most important considerations to make. After all, a room that's too expensive can cut into your budget while a room that's too cheap could get in the way of an enjoyable trip. If you're looking to compromise by finding a nice room at an affordable price, then last-minute hotel deals are exactly what you'll need to find.
However, tracking these down isn't always as easy as it seems. To help make the hunt for a deal easier, take a look at some of the best places to find them listed below.
1. Travel Websites
The best place to find excellent deals on hotels is the internet, as there are a large number of travel websites that specialize in helping everyday people find low prices on great rooms. With so many options, it's important to do a bit of research to learn how each site works before you use one. For example, some sites will give you rock bottom deals but won't allow you to see the name of the hotel until after you pay.
Additionally, it's important to look at the terms and conditions of the website you use before you book the room. Some may charge hidden fees, although this isn't the case for them all. Want to save even more? Sign up to be a rewards member with the travel site you use and you may get points that help you qualify for a free room in the future.
2. Smart Phone Apps
There are many smart phone apps that can help you save money on rooms just about anywhere in the world. This includes apps that are solely discount sites as well as others that are specifically meant for last-minute bookings. Fortunately with all of these, you are likely to get an excellent deal when compared to what you'd pay to the hotel directly.
*Tip: If you travel often, then sign up for deal alerts with the apps that you use, as these can notify you of deals near your location.
Examples of some popular hotel deal apps:
Keep in mind that in order to find last-minute deals on some of these, you'll have to look in the "deal" section specifically. Otherwise you'll likely see the normal discounted weekly rates for various hotels.
3. Hotel You'd Like To Stay At
While you can search online for rates for the hotel you'd like to stay at, if you're looking last-minute, the prices are likely going to be quite high. Instead of settling for a sky-high price, give the hotel a call. If they have a lot of rooms available and you tell them you're looking for a last-minute discount, they may very well accommodate you. Even five-star hotels do this, as it's better for them to fill rooms for the night than allow them to sit open for the evening.
*Tip: If you want to save even more money, negotiate with the manager of the hotel. This may mean waiving your free continental breakfast or pass to the pool. There are many ways you can save if you're willing to negotiate.
4. Credit Cards
Almost every credit card on the market has relationships with various hotel chains around the world. If you have a card, then call the customer service line to see if you can get a discount on a hotel. If the card does have a relationship with a hotel chain in your area, then you may get a discount for using it at check-in. Additionally, you may qualify for extra perks such as a room upgrade, late checkout, discounted breakfast, or free spa passes.
If you're going on a last-minute trip and need both a hotel room and flight, then you may be able to save by booking them together through select airlines. One of the best ways to determine if there are any last-minute packages is by searching online through each of the different airline websites. This is important, because most airlines don't advertise package deals through travel sites, even though you can book flights through them. Your best bet is always to go straight to the airline website to their last-minute deal section.
*Tip: Although you may be tempted to call the airline to book this type of trip, most now charge a fee in order to book over the phone. However, you can still call to ask and then complete booking online to avoid that extra fee.
6. Loyalty Cards
Many loyalty cards, such as those like AAA, offer their customers discounts with various hotel chains (including for last-minute trips). If you're interested in seeing if any of these can benefit you, just give the customer service line a call. You might be surprised by the relationships that many of these companies have.
7. Social Media Discounts
If you've tried calling a hotel but they didn't offer you the rate that you wanted, go online to see if their social media has any good deals posted. Often times even the biggest hotel chains will have promotions posted on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. You can even go a step further by asking on their social media page if they have a good last-minute discount for you. Companies will often be willing to provide excellent service because they know other customers will see how helpful they were.
8. Trade in Frequent Flyer Miles
For travelers who have racked up a lot of frequent flyer miles over the course of a few years, a last-minute hotel deal may not be out of reach. By contacting the airline either online or on the phone, you can find out just how many miles it would cost you to book a hotel. In many situations, this will result in the room being completely free. Additionally, you may not spend as many miles as you think you would, so it doesn't hurt to ask and find out.
9. Look for a Coupon Deal
With discount services such as Living Social and Groupon becoming so prevalent, more hotels than ever are working with them to get their rooms filled. Fortunately for you, this can mean a last-minute discount on a really nice room, including those at 5-star and 4-star hotels. The easiest way to find the discounts that are out there is by going to one of these coupon websites and typing in the zip code of where you'll be staying. From there you can search by category and view all of the hotel options they have to offer.
10. Grab an Unwanted Room
An unwanted room for someone else is an opportunity for you to save money. Services such as Cancelon or Roomer post late cancellations for rooms, which gives you an opportunity to get them for a discounted price. In addition to being easy to use, this can leave you with some of the best deals to be found.
Where Will You Stay?
With so many different ways to find last minute-hotel deals, there's no reason to pay full price ever again. Any of the above options can result in saving quite a bit of money, especially when you think about how otherwise expensive last-minute rates can be. If you have time, feel free to try multiple search options to make sure you're getting the lowest rate possible.