Staying at hotels is typically a great experience.
Fresh sheets, in-room mini bars, smiley staff—it’s a nice break from the routine and rooms you’re typically used to.
Booking hotels, however, is a different story. It can often be stressful, with hours spent shopping around for the best bang for your buck.
We’ve put together some top tips to help you ensure you’re getting the best deal on your preferred hotel room—both when booking for leisure and for business.
Let’s take a look.
1. Book in advance
Making hotel bookings in advance can often help you save money. Many hotels offer early bird discounts for bookings made months in advance, meaning you can grab a great room at a great rate.
However, these bookings are often non-refundable and offer no flexibility. It’s essential that you’re 100% sure of your travel dates, otherwise you risk making a booking that you can’t change or cancel without losing money.
It’s a common misconception that waiting to make a last-minute booking will save you money. While this is true in some cases, it’s also risky and can result in overspending if traveling during busy periods or high-demand events. For example, if a high-profile performer announces a concert in the same location you’re planning your getaway—you can expect prices to skyrocket—thanks, Beyoncé!
2. Be flexible where possible
If you have a time-constrained event that you need a hotel room for, skip to the next tip—this one’s not for you. However, if you can afford some flexibility for when you travel, you’ll likely find considerable price differences only a couple of days apart.
Weekends are typically most expensive in many tourist destinations, and special events and holiday periods also see higher hotel room rates than normal. The increased demand enables hotels to raise their prices, as people are still willing to pay out of necessity.
3. Look out for package deals
If you’re traveling to a new city for leisure you may want to consider checking out the package deals on offer. Package deals typically include travel and accommodation—for example, think booking a flight, a hotel, and a car rental via a third-party website instead of directly on various direct websites.
Package deals see you spending more money at once, but they ultimately help you get a lower price on all components of the package. It’s also a lot less stressful than booking on various platforms. You can find these types of packages on Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com and a wide variety of airline providers—as well as TravelPerk for business travel bookings.
If you’re here looking for last-minute tips—and have found yourself in the aforementioned tricky situation created by waiting for last-minute deals—consider checking out last-minute package deals. You’ve got fewer options than booking in advance, but it can be a great way to snag a deal if you’re just looking for a quick getaway. Some sites include Save70, Hotel Tonight, and LateRooms.com.
4. Consider joining a hotel loyalty program
Another great option when it comes to securing the best hotel deals is to join a loyalty rewards program—and you’re not short of options to choose from. These programs allow you to earn loyalty points every time you stay at a participating hotel, which can be redeemed for free nights, room upgrades, early check-in, free breakfast, free wifi, and more.
Some great options include Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, Best Western Rewards Club, and World of Hyatt—but the best one for you depends on your hotel chain preferences and travel frequency. It’s a good idea to compare hotel loyalty programs to find one that suits your needs, and make sure to check out future opportunities for savings—you can often find more info on the programs directly on the hotel website.
Most of these programs operate on a membership tier system, meaning the more points you accrue, the better the benefits and perks over time.
Tip for business travelers: lots of these loyalty programs also offer business-specific reward programs or rewards credit cards. If you frequently travel for business, they’re a great way to gain access to added benefits and perks.
5. Check out credit card reward programs
Much like you’ve got hotel reward programs, you’ve also got credit card reward programs. These programs enable you to earn points every time you spend using the card, and these points can be redeemed at participating venues—which frequently include hotels. Some great options include the:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- American Express Gold Card
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
You can also consider opting for a co-branded credit card, which automatically deposits the rewards you earn into the hotel’s loyalty program. Options include:
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
- World of Hyatt Credit Card
All of these cards help you earn points towards your next hotel stay with your everyday expenditure. Make sure to compare cards to find which offers the best rewards for you—and also keep in mind that the majority of these cards have an annual fee.
This typically costs anywhere from $50 to $700. Make sure the fee is worth the rewards, and that you stay in hotels enough to make it worthwhile.
6. Use comparison websites to find the best rate
Comparison websites help you juggle multiple room rates without flitting between platforms. The hotel room aggregator booking sites are a convenient way to compare your options and see where you can get the best deals.
Hotels typically sell rooms to third-parties at negotiated rates to ensure they’re not left with hundreds of vacancies, which is one of the reasons you’ll often find different prices on different websites.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that you can often encounter hidden costs and limited flexibility when booking hotels through third-party sites. Things don’t always go to plan, and you’ll often find the hotel and the third-party playing the blame game when they do (hint: it’s never their fault, regardless of who you’re referring to).
Tips for business travelers: the business equivalent of third-party booking sites are corporate travel management companies—but they typically take a lot more responsibility than consumer-focused comparison websites as they’re a paid-for service.
7. Sign up for your favorite hotel’s newsletter
Finally, if your favorite hotel has a newsletter—sign up for it. Whether it’s a large chain or a smaller group, hotels often send exclusive deals and discounts to members via their newsletter.
Even if you’re also a member of their rewards program, the newsletter is a great way to find out about temporary discounts, extra benefits, and one-off perks.
Start saving money on business travel for your company today!
How to save money on corporate hotel bookings
The above tips apply to both traveling for leisure and for business, but we’re now taking a look at some of the ways that business travelers can save money on hotel stays.
1. Check corporate hotel reward programs and credit cards
Similarly to how individual travellers have access to hotel reward progams and credit cards, so do businesses. Both corporate hotel loyalty programs and corporate credit card rewards programs are a great way to save on hotel bookings over time.
Many of the hotel rewards programs available to individuals are also available to businesses—like Best Western Rewards, Radisson Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. Check out our full breakdown of the best corporate hotel loyalty programs for a full comparison of the tiers and perks.
When it comes to corporate cards, businesses have different options to individuals. Some popular corporate credit cards include:
- Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® Credit Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
It’s important to consider all factors when choosing a corporate credit card—like airline points, cashback, and more—but you’ve definitely got the opportunity to select one with great hotel rewards. We’ve compiled our top picks for travel-focused corporate credit cards to help you find one that ticks all your boxes.
2. Make sure to claim VAT refunds
Business travelers can often claim VAT refunds on some of the expenses incurred during business trips, and TravelPerk offers a VAT recovery service to help you get your cash back. You can claim back VAT refunds on hotels, as well as flights, cars, and train rides—resulting in savings of up to 20% on business travel expenses.
3. Use a corporate travel management platform
Remember when we mentioned using a corporate travel management program? Here’s where we expand on that.
Travel management companies, TMCs for short, help streamline corporate travel planning, booking, and expense management for companies big and small. Not only is it more convenient, but you also get professionally-negotiated rates that enable you to spend less on hotel rooms—and other corporate travel essentials, for that matter.
You also benefit from other features, such as traveler management, policy compliance, expense management, and more.
Looking for an all-in-one travel management company to get the best deals on hotels, flights, car rental, and more?
Don’t overspend on your next hotel booking
If business trip planning is clogging up your workflow, try TravelPerk’s all-in-one business travel solution.
You can book, manage, and report on business travel from the same platform—and negotiated rates and exclusive deals ensure you’re getting the best hotel rooms at the best prices. Plus, group bookings are a breeze with TravelPerk, and VAT-friendly invoices help ensure you can reclaim VAT for further savings.
Sign up free today and start simplifying business travel with TravelPerk.