how to find the best hotel rates online

How to find the best hotel rates online: 26 hacks

All travelers have the same problem, they need to answer this question: how to find the best hotel rates online? Nobody wants to overpay a room, especially because using some tips and tricks you can get special rates and save a lot of money per night. Don’t worry, it is legal, you will follow hotels’ rules, just getting a better price.

You already know that the price is related to the quality and the services offered, this is related to the way to choose a hotel. But now it’s time to go deep exploring all the ways that make you have a great room for a cheaper price than the first offer you find online. There are always some hacks to use during your search online and many tools you can use to take advantage of better conditions for your reservation. It is valid also if you want to use specific travel apps.

Experts of the main travel companies revealed all the options you should use if you want to know how to find the best hotel rates online. Surely using a website like Groupon allows you to get tailor-made deals. Then you can surf the hotels’ search engines like Booking, which have a huge list of the best offers. But still, you may need the best tips to get a lower price, because not all online deals are ready to make you save as much money as you can. If you want to know more about the best search engine for hotels, check out my Booking a hotel online guide.

Here, I want to share with you all the hints to use when to book a hotel room and the tips on how to find hidden discounts, to save money for your next trip or vacation.

how to find the best hotel rates online

How to find the best hotel rates online: all the hacks

Now focus your attention and take notes. You won’t need necessarily to use all the tips, but pick the ones that are more appropriate for your case. If you have doubts, try all the ones you think are affordable to plan your trip, you will surely have better rates.

Explore and apply the hints on how to find the best hotel rates online

Check out all the tips and combine them in your way to reach the goal.

1. Check out business hotels

Business hotels are more willing to offer great deals, especially if you travel to Europe. This type of structure is mainly dedicated to people who are traveling for business reasons and this means that they have specific services for them, but in the meantime, they might have a huge number of rooms empty and they obviously want to fill them.

Especially this happens during the summer months and weekends. Businessmen don’t work in those periods and they try to be at home with their family on Saturday and Sunday, so from Friday Night to Monday morning, there are a lot of accommodations available for very low prices. You can take advantage of that.

2. Search for a corner room

Another good option is given by the type of room you are going to choose. This is a hint to learn how to find the best hotel rates online. Actually, you are not going to save money on the price, but you will get a bigger room for the same rate. More square footage for free.

The upgrade to a corner room gives you also a better view from the window, but you should ask for it discretely. You should search for it once you are at the hotel and of course, don’t do it if you see a long queue at the desk. Try to be smart and kind and you’ll get a result. It looks silly, but this in an important hack on how to find the best hotel rates online.

3. Make a late check-in

If you like the idea of an upgrade, so same price and a better room, arrive at the hotel late. Check-in at the end of the day multiplies your chances to get a positive answer to your request to the staff.

At that moment of the day, they have a better idea about the occupancy of the hotel, so they are more likely to offer upgrades still available. Not many people will arrive and most of the ones with a reservation, if not all of them, are already there. That is a lucky moment to pay the same price for a bigger and more equipped room.

4. Call directly the hotel for the reservation

If you are going to choose a big hotel chain, they give you an 800 number for reservations. The hotline is made by operators located far from the hotel you want to reserve. So you won’t have chances to upgrade for free if you don’t have any loyalty member privileges.

Calling directly the hotel allows you to chat directly with the people on the property and they have a greater ability to upgrade you. If you are going regularly to stay in a specific hotel, keep a friendly relationship, so booking directly will increase your perks. Many more chances for you will be available with a direct and good relation with the staff.

5. Book within the cancellation period

Keep high the attention on cancellation policies, especially about dates. Booking is a good idea to save money, but many times hotels give you better rates at the last moment. Yes, last-minute bookings find lower rates. This is because they need to fill as many as rooms they can.

Typically, the deadline to cancel the reservation without losing your money falls anywhere between 24 to 48 hours in advance. From that moment the prices become lower. So try to find out the proper dates and take advantage of the special rates.

6. Book hotel plus flight

Are you going to travel by plane? Book the hotel plus flight formula is more convenient in terms of price. You can benefit from discounts and save a huge amount of money per night. Now all the hotels’ search engines, starting from Booking, offer this option.

There are no limits on the available options because for each flight you can add any hotel and room you want, but each rate will be lower. Try directly to see how it works.

7. Subscribe to hotel’s loyalty programs

If you travel often you should know how to find the best hotel rates. Why? Because hotels’ loyalty programs offer free upgrades and points to redeem as free nights. It works also with airlines’ miles and credit cards related to airlines and hotels.

For instance, one of the most known is Marriott’s loyalty program that allows you to book a lot of hotels chains as part of the group. The program gives members a best-rate guarantee, free Wi-Fi for any reservation, plus access to exclusive events and experiences. Once you earn a certain number of points you can get free nights.

If you subscribe to the right credit card, you can have a bonus with your first purchases and redeem immediately some free nights.

8. Sign up for loyalty programs through booking websites

Hotels have their own loyalty programs to offer their customers, but booking sites do the same. An example is given by Hotels, you get one free night each ten booked. You don’t need to reserve them all together and neither in the same hotel. It is required only to make your bookings through the site.

It is convenient because you have more accommodation types all around the world. You are not limited to a specific structure or a hotel chain.

9. Sign up for alerts on price drops

If you don’t have enough time to check prices online and spend a lot of time surfing the web, sign up on alerts through websites like Hotels and Kayak.

They will work for you taking care to send you emails or notifications when there is a certain price or convenience. To not flood your inbox, select the best criteria for you, so set up the amount or the conditions you are searching for.

10. Pay attention to see if prices are increasing or decreasing

This is another important hack on how to find the best hotel rates online. If you don’t have a particular destination in your mind, take a look at a site like Booking and let it inspire you. There are a lot of described places and you can see the best rates. At the same time, you can see where accommodations’ prices are increasing or decreasing.

Data are based on bookings made on the website and prices paid by customers per room per night, including all fees and taxes. This means that they are updated frequently and real. You can easily monitor how rates go.

11. Get discounts from apps

You have the chance to unlock many discounts for your reservations using apps. For instance, on the Kayak app, you get a lot of special reductions for your bookings.

There are even last-minute discounts on rooms. I suggest you check out my list of travel apps to find all the best options to take advantage of discounts and even loyalty programs. Don’t forget that on weekend you will find more chances to get reductions.

12. Reserve a room at a new property

Newly opened structures are willing to offer cheap rates because they need to reach clients and get full rooms. The hotel is looking to increase business, so the staff is available to offer you also free upgrades to better rooms. It is convenient to explore new accommodations.

13. Use coupon codes

It’s not that common to search for coupons reserving a room. Despite it isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind, they are useful and you can get interesting reductions. Verify RetailMeNot to find all the best options for accommodations. Huge discounts are waiting for you.

Of course, this is valid as well for flights and much more all around the world. This is a good way to save money on your vacation.

14. Mention to the staff your special occasion

Birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, or even the first time in the city or at that hotel are all special occasions you may celebrate. Tell it to the staff, they will be happy to give you an upgrade to a better room or some amenity kits to make your stay more pleasant.

It can even be if you haven’t booked and you are asking for the rate that they offer you a better rate at a lower price.

15. Follow the rule of opposites

You have to do the opposite respect other people’s actions. Reserve a room when the majority would not book. This will give you direct access to the best rates.

If you go, during the weekend, to a hotel in the business district there won’t be many people, because Saturday and Sunday are free days for workers and businessmen, so the structure needs to fill rooms and you will benefit from lower prices. Resort areas do the same during midweek. Keep in mind this tip to learn how to find the best hotel rates online.

16. Earn points using reciprocal opportunities

Different hostelries companies work with loyalty programs to give their guests to earn points to redeem for free reservations or price reductions.

A great example in this way is given by Starwood Preferred Guests that allows clients to earn points while using Uber during their stay. Marriott guests can earn points for rewards doing shopping for flowers, gifts, and wines on select websites.

17. Refer your friends to hotels

All hospitality structures literally love referrals that bring in new business. They usually give rewards to their guests who refer someone else.

For instance, Marriott recognizes up to 50,000 points for referrals and 10,000 points for free referred friends. With the same policy works also Choice Hotels with its Privilege Program.

18. Reserve a room at a secret hotel

Online you can easily find some offers for secret hotels that are proposing their rooms at a reduced rate. The goal is the same as the others: they want to fill their rooms.

You can’t know the hotel you are booking, it will be revealed after all the process. You can have a general description without a name or address, just the city. Anyway, the discount is between 20% and 50% on the original listed price.

Secret rates are available on LastMinute. There are various great deals if you accept to go ahead blind. But don’t worry, they explain to you the star rating and the available amenities, so you can have information about room and condition, only you don’t know the hotel.

how to find the best hotel rates online

19. Check out what perks your credit card offers

As you may know, many credit cards offer rewards to redeem in hotel programs. Not only the ones related directly connected to their loyalty programs. Each time you pay something with your credit card, you can get points for your hotel and flight reservations. So you will have the chance to use them for discounts or free booking.

It depends on your card, but I suggest you check out my credit cards guide to select the right ones. You can change or maybe just activate properly the one you have.

20. Take advantage of membership programs

If you are part of programs like AAA, AARP, ADP, and even the American Bar Association, you can get huge deals. There are a lot of discounts ready for you concerning hotel reservations.

Among the benefits, there is a 25% off on bookings plus free activity vouchers up to $100 at Disneyland Resort hotels.

21. Mention any problem with your stay

Your room neighbors may make too much noise or maybe you can find a messy room because no one cleaned it. Go to the staff and speak up. Don’t let those things ruin your vacation. They can offer you a credit to your accounts, give you an upgrade for free, or something like that. It is a good way for them to convince the client to remain and to show how they are sorry.

22. Compare sites and deals

Don’t stay on a site waiting for better deals or thinking that its offer is the best one. There are many websites for your reservations and they are waiting for you. Compare them, check out all the offers and don’t forget to see also vacation packages. Start from pages like Kayak, Expedia, Booking, BookVip, Priceline. Use them to have an overview of hotels in the area you want to visit. You have a full picture of the options. Go also to research those hotels on your own. Search for promotion codes and perks such as free parking, breakfast, or WiFi.

Compare the offers on the official hotel website with the rates offered on the above-mentioned sites. Some chains promise the best rates if you go directly on their pages, like Marriott.

23. Negotiate the rate with hotel staff

Once you decided the destination and selected a few hotels you like, pick up the phone and call them. Tell the staff the price you found on other sites and check if they can beat it. Negotiate the rate, maybe if you guarantee a certain number of nights they will be happy to make a special deal for you.

24. Search for last-minute deals

LastMinute site offers a lot of deals for who is going to book a couple of days or a few hours before the departure. If you are in the city, you can even take advantage of the HotelTonight app, it is specialized in supporting last-minute travelers to get cheap hotel rooms. There are options for any type of hotel, from budget to luxury.

You can surf also websites like Hotels and Hotwire. Their deals are ideal if you are booking one or two days in advance.

Not always a last-minute reservation is convenient, so check very well the rates in advance, it may be better for you to take advantage of a special price even one month earlier. You need to remember that mostly it depends on the destination and the period. Some hotels won’t have any problems filling their rooms and the prices will increase a lot approaching the dates.

25. Explore alternative accommodations

Are you searching for an apartment instead of a hotel? Don’t worry, there are great solutions for you. Check out Vrbo, they have special deals for those types of accommodations.

You can even try to reserve a room in a hostel to save money, they are a good option. Surf the sites like Hostel World, Human Company, or Plus Hostels. Budget travelers can go everywhere around the world saving money. Rooms in these structures are non only shared, you can find a handful of private rooms with en suite bathrooms.

26. Choose a different neighborhood

If you want to stay in the heart of the city you are going to spend more. Pick a different area and you will find a good hotel for a cheaper price. The important is to be close to the main accesses to public transportation, so you will be in the center at an acceptable time.

Let me give you my direct experience in Dubai. I decided to reserve a room out of the downtown and a bit farther from the main attractions, but I was very well connected with them. I slept in a huge hotel for a very low rate. That was perfect. You can directly see it and judge by yourself. I was in Atlantis The Palm in Dubai.


Now you know what to do to take advantage of the best deals and especially where and how to find them. You just need to act and start to apply all the tips I gave you. Of course, not all of them together, check the ones that are more suitable for your case and you will save a lot of money.

It isn’t necessary to spend a huge amount of money to have a perfect vacation and sometimes neither to stay in a luxury hotel. You can easily find cheap rates for apartments, hostels, and even 5-star hotels.

Enjoy your vacation and use the comments space below to share your experience!

how to find the best hotel rates online

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