There's no reason to pay top dollar for a vacation or business trip. No matter where you stay, there are ways to save money on hotel costs.
- Step 1: Sign up for a rewards program at your favorite hotel chain. Use the points collected for free stays, discounts on goods and services, and other perks. Use a credit card affiliated with the hotel chain for even more benefits.
- Step 2: Ask for special perks when booking your room. Even if a hotel isn't willing to discount the room rate, try to sweeten the deal by requesting a restaurant credit or a room upgrade. But maintain a friendly demeanor -- it will make the person you're dealing with more liable to fulfill your request.
- FACT: Boston's Omni Parker Hotel is considered to be America's oldest continuously running luxury hotel. It opened in 1855 and has served both famous and infamous guests, such as Charles Dickens, Ulysses S. Grant, and John Wilkes Booth just days before he shot President Lincoln.
- Step 3: Get a package deal. Hotels may offer packages -- such as "stay two nights, get the second night at half price" -- to bring in business. Or they may partner with an area tourist attraction to offer discounted tickets. Ask if package deals are available when booking your room.
- TIP: Look for special deals on social networking sites. Many hotels now post special deals for their friends or followers.
- TIP: Call the hotel directly. Avoid using the toll-free number -- which connects to a call center -- and speak directly to a staff member who might be able to offer a better deal.
- Step 4: Go online to look at the websites of other hotels in the area and check advertised rates. Compare those prices to the rates found on travel websites -- they should be considerably lower than the hotel's published rate.
- Step 5: Decide on your travel dates. Start looking at your destination choices and options prior to your expected travel time in order to research available discounts.