Aside from plane tickets to your travel destination, booking a hotel room to lodge at is the next important necessity for any trip. However, getting last-minute hotel deals has become more important, thanks to the rise of many online booking sites offering competitive deals, even for hotels that are the exact same.
According to research, hotel rooms tend to cost 13% less than their fixed price when booked at the last minute. Given that statistic, it would be unwise for you to assume that hotel room prices are always fixed.
Having said that, due to the huge piles of competitive last-minute hotel deals continually being offered by different online booking sites, it can be quite overwhelming to make a choice. Travelers may often have to search repeatedly to find the best deal that suits their needs.
Here are tips and tricks on how to get the best last-minute hotel deals before your next trip to save you time, and money, including helping you avoid the frustration that comes with the seemingly endless search for the best deals possible on the online hotel booking market.
Check for travel restrictions ahead of your trip
Before you begin your search for the best hotel deals to grab ahead of your trip, it is important that you first check whether or not there are restrictions in place at your travel destination. You should also check whether or not your destination has been listed by your country as a safe place to travel to.
If your destination only allows entry based on certain requirements, ensure you are aware of them all and ensure you meet them before you plan your trip so that you are not caught by any surprises after making lodging arrangements.
Use the best hotel search engines
In the event that there are no travel restrictions and you meet all the requirements for entry into your destination, you can begin your search for last-minute hotel deals that suit your needs best. To do that you’ll need to use the best hotel search engines at your disposal.
By now, you should already know that not all booking sites are the same. They all give different deals or rates, but most booking sites commonly tend to add sneaky commissions to already inflated rates. Hence with the use of search engines, you can separate the best from the rest.
Big search engines sometimes miss smaller, region-specific hotels in their search results. As a result, you should consider doing a deeper search for local hotel chains or booking sites you may not be aware of in order to find better deals.
If you wish to search lots of hotel booking sites without wasting time, you should consider using a comparison site. Different booking sites are covered by different comparison sites, and depending on the comparison sites you use, the deals offered can vary.
Therefore, it is ideal for you to use more than one, or at least three hotel comparison sites for your search. Most importantly, endeavor to use ones that have filters to help you narrow down your search.
Choose hotel deals with free cancellation
When you find last-minute deals you think are great but get stuck on making a choice, it is wise to choose a deal that offers free cancellation, especially if you are required to pay upfront for the deal or the payment required is non-refundable.
Hotel bookings with free cancellation can help you get great rates in advance, as they will protect you from any unforeseen financial risks if the price drops after you’ve already booked, or if you change your mind about your trip.
Some sites even guarantee to refund the difference if the price of your reserved room drops before you check-in, or is found cheaper elsewhere.
It is also worth knowing that some hotels only offer easy cancellation for a fee instead of free. So ensure you read through the terms and conditions of the deals you’re considering in order to know whether or not they offer an option to cancel, what type it is, and whether or not it’s free.
These days many hotels, including cheap ones, usually offer free cancellation with paid bookings between 24 to 48 hours before your arrival, while some will offer you the same deal but will allow you to pay for your bookings on arrival instead.
Use an online coupon finder
If you’ve found a hotel deal at the best price that is within your budget, you can use a coupon finding website or browser extension to find coupons that you can use to crash the price further down before you book.
Coupon finders basically explore the internet for all of the promo codes, coupons, including deals for the hotel or the booking site that you can use to save money on your bookings. To find the most recent coupons, ensure you filter out expired coupons by putting in the current year and/or month.
Sign up for hotel loyalty programs or membership discounts
Free-to-join loyalty programs are offered by many hotels chains across the world to enable you to earn points that you can exchange for exclusive benefits. Given that it’s a worldwide trend, there is a high chance that the hotel you wish to lodge at has one that you can join.
Exclusive memberships are also offered by many third-party booking sites that you can also register for. However, regardless of any membership that you choose, you’ll be entitled to regularly enjoy special membership discounts on hotel deals.
Members are usually offered attractive discounts off for direct booking and also online booking with membership discount coupons. They are also more likely to oblige requests for an upgrade from members as they are considered “preferred guests”.
Check for deals from new hotel openings
Special deals are often offered by new hotels to spark up interest and boost sales. With these kinds of deals, you could get up to at least a whopping 50% off your bookings, or even get complimentary stays. You can find these deals through the news, online forum threads, and social media.
Regardless of how cool hotel opening deals could be, the odds of having new hotels spring up ahead of your trip so that you can get attractive deals are pretty low. However, if you are fortunate to find one, don’t hesitate to snag it while you can.
Last-minute hotel deals are great! However, it is a huge risk to intentionally delay your booking just for you to grab one. In case you didn’t know, there have been cases of travelers booking at the last-minute hotel, only to discover that there was no record of their reservation on arrival.
Although there may be a high chance of last-minute reservations working for you, booking far ahead of your trip is advised instead. It will actually get you the same great prices offered by last-minute deals, but most importantly assures the safety of your reservations or other perks.