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How to get best hotel deals during recession-phone, walk in, internet?

How to get best hotel deals during recession-phone, walk in, internet?

Mar 11th, 2009, 11:50 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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How to get best hotel deals during recession-phone, walk in, internet?

I've read several articles recently about how there are great hotel deals out there because of the economy. In planning an upcoming road trip, I'm not seeing any great deals. I'm wondering what others' experiences have been and if they have found some good deals & how they went about getting them. Do you think phoning ahead, walking in, Priceline, or making a reservation over the internet is likely to net the best deal (my experience has been that the internet rates are the same as pre-recession)? Do you think you are more likely to get a deal with a local establishment (non-chain) vs chain?
JennyL is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 12:05 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 651
Priceline. Check out the winning rates on Betterbidding.com or biddingfortravel.com and you will see the rates are way down from even a year ago.
Barblab is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 12:10 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,141
I've been getting lots of emails from hotels with special reduced rates or packages. If you belong to the loyalty programs you get these automatically so it might be worthwhile signing up with your favourite hotel chain.

I think you'll get a better deal with a chain because they are more able to provide deals and undercut the smaller hotels.
sassy_cat is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 12:19 PM
  #4  
 
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I don't think there is a hard rule. Just booked a hotel for one-night business trip for husband to NYC. Price range was $50 between highest and lowest - and Travelocity ended up having the best rate - even better than the hotel website (not a chain). That is unusual, but indicates one needs to shop around each time.
gail is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 12:46 PM
  #5  
 
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Frankly, I'm surprised that you aren't seeing any good deals right now. What are you considering a "great deal"? And what kinds of places are you looking for? And where are you planning to travel? You'll find tremendous deals now in Las Vegas, Orlando, and a lot of other popular vacation spots with a surplus of hotel rooms. Same with cities. In other places (such as around Zion National Park ... probably not). But if you are expecting to get half-off at virtually any hotel you look at, I think that's unrealistic. Although travel is way down, it's also very regional, and some parts of the country are still quite busy. Some hotels and motels are also already cheap, so they just can't afford to offer half-off.

However, if you are taking a road trip, you should simply stay in simple roadside motels, and these rarely need to be booked in advance (at least not more than a day or two if you wan to ensure you get your motel of choice). If there are interesting historic hotels or unique lodgings you want to stay in along the way, you might be able to get a good rate by simply walking in, but if you are talking about a busy place like a national park, it's simply not going to happen. You have to make those reservations in advance; if you just walk in, you might get a room, but not a discount.

The cheapest hotel rates are usually pre-paid Internet-only rates, and you need to book those pretty far in advance. For example, I'm going to a wedding in central Massachusetts in May, and I booked a room about 2 weeks ago. The cheapest rates are now gone because people are starting to make their graduation-season reservations, and the hotels are starting to fill up.
doug_stallings is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 12:49 PM
  #6  
 
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Hi JennyL,

I would assume that going through the Internet would be the most effective way of finding a discount. Not necessarily because there might be better offers available online, but because you can track them much more easily. As economic conditions change, a lot of businesses are going to be keeping a very close eye on their room rates, profit margins, etc, and adjusting their rates accordingly. For example you may find a hotel room at a particular property for $200 a night in the middle of June if you look today, but the same room for the same time period may sell for $150 in a month from now, and may continue to drop from there. I would advise you to figure out ideally where you would like to stay and just check the rate(s) from time to time to see what happens in the days ahead.

Also, in my experience I have found that it's generally cheaper to go directly through the property itself rather than using some of the third party Internet booking sites. Some sites may offer what looks like a lower rate to entice you to book, but then make up the price difference with service fees and commission (which most of the time is non-refundable). Whatever you end up doing, it's always a good idea to read the fine print as some "deals" are not all that they appear to be.
WuksachiStaff is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 02:29 PM
  #7  
 
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My husband and I are taking a road trip in May and did ALOT of research looking for the best rates.
www.tripadvisor.com is great because it compares several different internet rates, but the best deals we found were directly from the hotel websites.
Doug_Stallings is definitely right, the pre-paid internet rates are the way to go. We got a great room in Washington DC for $116/night! It just takes patience, but there are good rates out there.
ruckus is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 03:27 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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I agree that it takes patience and research. However, I am finding great deals out there. For example, Hyatt in the Chicago suburbs for $35(!!) via Priceline, bought within days of travelling in Nov, Dec, and Jan.

For my LA trip next week, I booked my hotels in May 2008 when I spotted cancellable, crazy deal rates. When I decided I wanted to spend an extra day in Anaheim, I could only find the hotels at twice the price even if I was willing to endure the inconvenience of switching hotels. So I phoned the hotel directly and humbly asked if it would be possible to extend my stay by coming one day earlier at the same rate. The staff person was great and changed my reservation, no problem.

For the downtown LA hotel, I booked that in May 2008 as there's a big event going on that I thought would take up all the affordable hotel rooms. I called back this week just to check if the rate had come down, and it had by 10%. Well, it's only 10% but that helps cover most of the room tax. And in this economy, I can't save enough...LOL! In fact, if I had not committed by buying event tickets over a year ago, I probably would not be taking this trip.

So I think there are great deals but it takes a bit of work. People travel differently, depends on whether it's worth your time/effort or not. I think having a notebook to compare rates would be a "must have" for a roadtrip.

Have fun with your planning and road trip...enjoy-la!
klam_chowder is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 05:20 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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There are lots of deals - but if you want a primne hotel at a very busy time you probably won;t get a huge savings. The key is picking times that are not the busiest and being flexible on where you stay.

Remember, a lot of people that would travel abroad are saving money by staying in the US - so it's not like no one is traveling at all.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 05:36 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I've never been a big fan of Priceline, but a recent overnight in Sarasota in the height of season wasn't getting me any deals anywhere. I discovered there is only one 3.5 star Priceline in Sarasota -- the beautiful Hyatt Regency which had no rooms for less than $259 except for a senior special at $233. One bid, then a rebid on Priceline got me a room there for $64! That was bidding less than a week before arrival. A week earlier than that, I gave up at a refused bid of $79.
NeoPatrick is online now  
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