Saturday, March 31, 2007

Get Cheaper Hotel Rates

If you do a lot of traveling or just enjoy getting a good deal you’ll know that hotel rates (like the weather in some places) fluctuate from day to day.

A lifehacker reader left a very insightful comment today on getting the best rate at any hotel. Listen up folks this is inside information.

To get the best hotel rate:

  • Be careful about asking for the business discount, corporate rate, or student rate.
  • Do your homework online
  • Call the hotel direct and talk to the Front Desk
  • BE NICE (if they are busy offer to call back etc.)
  • Don’t tell them you found cheaper rates online
  • When quoted a rate, say something like I was hoping to pay a bit less
  • Don’t ask for the manager (he gets the rates from front desk too)
  • Be nice!

Whatever discount you can get is great, but if you want to maximize your discount try following this advice and see where it gets you.
Here's the Hotel Manager’s reasoning and more information.

This is from swvaboy’s post on lifehacker.
“As a hotel manager, I would suggest you never ask for the business discount or corporate rate. Why? Business and corporate travelers are usually on an expense account and they typically do not care about the rate.

There are other discounts available that have much better rates. First, check the 80 number, the web site, and travel sites such as to find the lowest rate. The call the hotel direct, after their reservation department has closed so that you talk with the front desk about rates. BE NICE. Nice people get the best rates. When you are quoted a rate, say something like I was hoping to pay a bit less. The desk clerk, if not busy, will find a lower rate - especially if you are calling the same day you want to arrive. If the clerk seems busy, offer to call back, that line alone is usually good enough for at least $20 - $25 off the rate because it seems that you understand. If you truly get a lower rate at the 800 number or web site, it is because it is a promotional rate and it 99% on the time has to be booked based on the way you found it. There is nothing wrong with walking outside and calling the 800 number or using the WiFi in the lobby to book a room.

Do not say, "I found it cheaper on the web", the answer is going to be "Book it on the net", bad customer service yes, but true, front desk clerks have a lot of leeway in rates and the last thing you want to do is start quoting rates to them, it should be the other way around. Another great way to get a not so good rate is to ask for a manager. In most hotels the manager will have to be paged, and when they get to the phone they invariably ask the front desk what rate to give. At the time you are calling, the manager usually has no idea how many rooms are available for such and such date.

Discounts that are legitimate:
Death/Major Sickness in family - Usually half price if hotel is not full
Church Rate - again usually half price
Government Rate - If you have ANY form of Government id, that usually is the lowest rate in the hotel
AAA/AARP- A big trick in the hotel business, 20% off of the highest rate which usually equals Corporate Rate
Weekend Rate- Yes it is good all week, if you pull in at 6pm and hotel lot is not that full, then ask.
Reunion Rate- Even if your family is not having a reunion at the hotel, usually you will get this rate, at least a 25 - 30% discount.

One rate I would not ask for is a "Student Rate" in my history of hotel work (16 years and counting) without stereotyping students; they give the most trouble and leave the biggest messes in a room. It may happen only 1 time out of 100, but that 1 time sticks in everyone's head because everyone from the front desk to housekeeping gets questioned about the who/why/how about that person and that rate. This is the only exception I have ever run into when the top manager asks a desk clerk why a student got such a low rate when we knew they were a student.

There are many ways to get a good rate at a hotel but what they all boil down to is -BE NICE
Don't say something like "I do not pay that much in XYZ city" "That is highway robbery"
Just look a little pitiful and ask for a better rate, it is that simple.

As a PS, buy some cheap Blow Pop Suckers and carry them in your pocket. When you walk up to the desk, give all the clerks one, and you are on the way to the best rate a hotel has or a suite for a regular price.

Managers run a hotel, but they give the front desk the most flexibility in selling rooms. As long a clerk does not sell a room for $1.00 then there is little chance anything will be said.

I have always wanted to write a book about the hotel business for the guest, I guess I have chapter 1 now, sorry for getting so carried away.”

Thanks swvaboy!


Anonymous said...

Good advice! This can save some serious coin if you play it right. If the hotel has empty rooms they will be inclined to let them go cheaper rather than not fill them at all. I'm going to try this myself when I'm next out. Also, it's good advice to start out being nice.

Dave-o said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave-o said...

Whoa! Nice advice! :D

Anonymous said...

Also can try this website Hotel Search Engine , an one stop search for all the leading online reservation sites, so it save time and money. tq

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