Here’s my spending philosophy: If you can get something a bit cheaper, it’s worth a little effort.
Of course, I like tools that do the hard work for me too. Tap or click for an online shopping helper to find discounts that work.
There are digital tricks that can make travel easier, safer and more affordable too. Tap or click for five smart tech tips you should read before you hit the road this summer.
When saving on hotel rooms, the sites that claim to have the best possible deal aren't always the way to go. Sometimes, you can do better on your own. My son just used the tips below to get a hotel room for $80 cheaper than the lowest price online.
Don’t book through a travel site
When you’re looking for a hotel, travel discount sites like Kayak, Expedia or Hotels.com are good places to start – but don’t book there. Once you find the lowest available price at the hotel you want to visit, call the hotel’s reservation desk.
Many hotels will meet or beat the best internet rate when you book with them. They'd much rather skip the commission to the travel site and book your stay directly. The hotel might even throw in a free upgrade like a nicer room or complimentary breakfast.
If you’re not having any luck with the first person who answers, respectfully ask to speak to the sales manager.
Speaking of saving, I put together 8 proven ways to lower your monthly internet, cable, and streaming bills. You’re welcome.
This is the best time to book a hotel room
If it’s feasible, wait until the day you need the hotel room to book it. The later in the day, the better. After 4 p.m., hotels know the odds of selling a room are pretty slim, so you’re more likely to get an even lower rate. On average, the same-day rate of a hotel room is 10% cheaper than booking in advance.
But this comes with a caveat. Don't rely on this strategy if you're traveling to a busy tourist city or a town where a large event is happening. You might be fortunate, but most people book rooms well in advance. In a pinch, sites like Hotel Tonight can help with last-minute bookings.
Watch your wallet: 5 silly ways you’re flushing money down the toilet
Don’t forget the extra discounts
When you book online, you’ll probably see a field to enter membership details to save more. Don’t forget to ask for those discounts when you call a hotel to book.
Veterans, AAA members, seniors, government employees and students often qualify for discounted hotel rooms – sometimes on top of the discount you're already getting.
It’s not just a few bucks, either. AARP members can get up to 15% off at Marriott hotels; Best Western offers 10% off to members. Wyndham Hotels has special rates for guests 60 and older. AAA can save you up to 10% at Hyatt hotels and MGM Resorts properties.
Here's another pro tip: If you know what hotel chain you'd like to stay at, go to their website, sign up for their mailing list, or download their app. You'll be the first to know about any special discounts and promotions.
RELATED: These family plans will save you money – even if you aren't family
When you have to book online, use Incognito mode
Calling last-minute to score a cheap room is great when it works, but sometimes you do need to book ahead online. Your best bet is to open an Incognito browser window.
Some travel companies keep track of what you’ve searched for and will increase prices the next time you visit the site. You don't have to worry about price gouging when you use Incognito mode.
It’s not just the travel industry that does this, either. Many online shopping sites know when you’re stalking an item and could raise the price if you leave and come back later to buy it. Don’t leave it up to chance.
Incognito mode might not hide everything you do online, but it does have some practical uses. Tap or click for five more of my favorites.
PODCAST PICK: Drone deliveries, digital license plates, $3,700 Walkman
Want to get your Amazon Prime packages by air? You can if you live in this city. Plus, Netflix officially announced “Squid Game” season two, Sony made a $3,700 Walkman and Webex is introducing seamless Apple CarPlay support so you can take meetings in the car. Oh, and four states approved digital license plates featuring GPS tracking and Dark Mode. I've got all the details.
Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”
Learn about all the latest technology on theKim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website atKomando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
How do you get a reduced rate at a hotel? ›
If it's feasible, wait until the day you need the hotel room to book it. The later in the day, the better. After 4 p.m., hotels know the odds of selling a room are pretty slim, so you're more likely to get an even lower rate. On average, the same-day rate of a hotel room is 10% cheaper than booking in advance.What is the least expensive way to book a hotel? ›
- Use Credit Cards With Huge Travel Cash Back Perks. ...
- Sign Up To Hotel Booking Engines Loyalty / Rewards Programs.
- Download Hotel Booking Smartphone Apps. ...
- Check Prices Directly With Hotels. ...
- Book In Advance With Free Cancellation. ...
- Book In Advance With Non-Refundable Rate.
Though it's best to phone ahead, you can negotiate on arrival. If you walk in without a reservation and are unhappy with the rate you are quoted, tell the desk clerk and ask if there is a lower rate or offer a rate that you are willing to pay. Always wait until the desk is not busy.Can you get a lower hotel rate by calling? ›
You usually need to speak to a designated person such as the 'on-property revenue manager'. Often, though, entirely apart from room rate discounts — major chain hotels try to enforce pricing uniformity — you may be able to obtain add-ons like upgrades, breakfast, late check-out and on-property discounts.How do you value a hotel in 60 seconds? ›
Essentially all you need to do is divide the total sales price by the number of rooms to arrive at a PPR (Price Per Room) value.Do hotel prices go up the more you search? ›
Most hotels use revenue management software and other algorithms to automatically update their hotel room rates. If you search different dates for the same location you will notice that hotel prices can go up and down from day to day.What is the cheapest day to check into a hotel? ›
Ideal Check-In Day
In general, Sunday is the least expensive day of the week to begin your stay at a hotel. In fact, settling in on a Sunday can save travelers up to 19% on overall room rates, compared to mid-week check-ins.
If it's feasible, wait until the day you need the hotel room to book it. The later in the day, the better. After 4 p.m., hotels know the odds of selling a room are pretty slim, so you're more likely to get an even lower rate. On average, the same-day rate of a hotel room is 10% cheaper than booking in advance.Do hotel prices go down if you book last minute? ›
Since hotels are always aiming to maximize their occupancy rate, many will decrease their rates if they aren't meeting their expected targets. That's why you'll often see hotels dropping their prices a few days before a check-in date or on the day of arrival.How do you ask for best rates? ›
Initiate bargaining by asking something like, "Is that your best price?" Take a polite, positive approach. Body language and facial expressions play a big part. Look interested, but not so eager they'll feel confident you'll buy regardless. Smile and be friendly, but be prepared to walk away if necessary.
Do you get a better room if you book direct with hotel? ›
Advantages of Booking a Hotel Directly
You can often find better rates by booking directly, too — a concern for budget-conscious travelers. By calling a hotel directly, you find out about any specials perks or packages they have available. In some cases, you can get a better room for the same amount of money.
Sometimes you can get a cheaper rate if you call the hotel directly. Look at dates, room type and price on-line and then call the hotel to see if you can get better rate or upgraded room. Prices are usually cheaper in advance, but another major pricing force is holiday/vacation timing.What is the 15 5 rule hotel? ›
15/5 rule: When a guest is within 15 feet their presence should be acknowledged through some means whether a smile or head nod. Similarly, when a guest is within 5 feet they should be greeted in an appropriate manner whether that be a “hello”, “good morning”, or “good evening.”What is the 72 hour rule in hotels? ›
Reservations must be cancelled seventy two (72 hours) hotel time, prior to your arrival date, in order to avoid a one (1) night full room cancellation fee. If reservations are cancelled less than 72 hours before the arrival date, you will may be charged the full room charge plus taxes.Do hotels monitor your search history? ›
While your hotel's management usually won't be able to see the contents of your communications, they can easily find out what websites you visit and how much time you spend browsing the Internet.What hotel app has the best prices? ›
Expedia. Those looking for steeply discounted hotel bookings should use the Expedia app. It comes with exclusive deals you may not find when booking on its website. This includes deals up to 40% off as well as the app-only Expedia Rewards rate of 2 points per dollar.What time of day is best to book hotel? ›
Best time to book a hotel on the day of your stay
Prices usually plummet around 4 pm as hotels work to entice customers to their empty rooms. If you're bold enough to wait until after 8 pm, you'll find prices probably reduce by another 5-10% again.
However, if you are trying to find last minute hotel deals, the best time to book a hotel is after 4pm. This is when hotels will drop their prices to entice travelers to fill their rooms for the night. For those who are dedicated budget hunters, the best time to book hotel for lowest prices is after 8pm.What time is cheapest to book a hotel? ›
Book close to arrival
That's not just a fluke. Kayak data shows rates tend to drop the closer it gets to check-in time — but not too close. “Our data shows that waiting until you're about two weeks out from checking in is when we do see prices sort of starting to drop,” Clarke said.
On average, travelers saved about $30 per night by booking last-minute, which can really add up. The savings were even higher for luxury hotels: About 22% cheaper when booked 15 days out. However, if you're traveling to a popular destination or during a busy travel season, you risk not snagging your first-choice hotel.
Is it better to book a hotel online or over the phone? ›
Customer service: If something goes wrong with your trip or your stay, you'll get better customer service if you book directly through the hotel. That's because hotels give priority to reservations made directly with them since they didn't have to pay a commission fee.Is it cheaper to book a hotel by phone? ›
It's Cheaper to Book Direct
By booking directly, you could save this amount, or know that the full amount is going to the hotel for your stay. Hotels tend to offer the best rates when you book directly with them and it's a great incentive. It benefits both you and the hotel when you make a reservation directly.
Bargain hunters often say hotel prices go down at night. And they may be on to something. “Hotels often greatly discount their overnight rates a few hours prior to check-in to get the occupancy rate up and an extra 'head in a bed,'” says Yannis Moati, CEO of HotelsByDay.Can you cancel and rebook hotel for cheaper? ›
This can sometimes happen between when you book your stay and when you stay at the hotel. Thanks to the flexibility of booking award nights, you can generally cancel and rebook your stay if you see a price drop. This lets you rebook at the lower rate and pocket the points difference in the process.Is booking cheaper at night? ›
You may have heard that there is a cheap window of time during the week to book your airline tickets. According to CheapAir.com, that's a myth. The day and time of the week have no impact on ticket prices.Is it rude to ask for a discount? ›
Yes, it is rude to ask anyone for a discount for anything unless there is a legitimate reason such as the job won't be done on time, or there's some other reason you shouldn't have to pay the full amount.How do you write a discount offer message? ›
- Leverage Your Audience with New Experience.
- Advertise Your Sales Deadline.
- Use Holidays to Drive Urgency.
- Provide Low Stock Warnings.
- Use a Benefit-Based Call to Action.
- Use Popups to Promote Limited Time Offers.
- Keep Your Offer Simple and Brief.
- Nudge New Visitors with a Special Offer.
- Reward Loyal Customers.
- Increase Sales During Holidays.
- Use Early-Bird Discounts for New Products.
- Reduce Abandoned Carts.
- Reward Referrals from Existing Customers.
- Retarget Visitors with a Custom Offer.
- Offer Discounts on Subscriptions.
To answer the price question right away while also building value, try one of these strategic responses. Use a direct, matter-of-fact, confident tone. Price + Question: "The preliminary price is $____ and that includes ______. What criteria, other than price, will you be using to make your final decision?"How to negotiate a discount? ›
- 1) Ask the prospect why price is an issue. ...
- 2) Shift the conversation from price to value. ...
- 3) Offer to provide additional services for the proposed price. ...
- 4) Agree to a deal with different terms. ...
- 6) Agree to a discount only if the customer gives something in return.
How do you negotiate without offending? ›
- What the Experts Say. ...
- Make small talk. ...
- Don't try to buy love. ...
- Be creative. ...
- Stress “we” over “I” ...
- Ask questions… ...
- Walk in the other person's shoes. ...
- Principles to Remember.
- Smoking or non-smoking room, although it's more likely this will be chosen as part of the room selection process rather than hoping this can be accommodated.
- A room away from or close to elevators. ...
- A high- or low-floor room. ...
- Early or late check-in or checkout. ...
- No alcohol in room.
Hotels tend to provide discounts based on the guest type. You must also have various types of guests visiting your property. Set up discounts for all such types of guests viz. business travelers, leisure travelers, VIP guests, repeated guests, and so on.Do hotel rates get cheaper closer to date? ›
Since hotels are always aiming to maximize their occupancy rate, many will decrease their rates if they aren't meeting their expected targets. That's why you'll often see hotels dropping their prices a few days before a check-in date or on the day of arrival.What day of the week do hotel prices drop? ›
The research shows that the lowest average daily rate (ADR) for domestic accommodations tends to occur on Mondays, when travelers can save more than 15% compared with booking and staying on the most expensive day, Friday.Do hotels honor price drops? ›
Did you know that you're entitled to a refund if the price of your hotel room, rental car, or airfare drops after you've booked? Pricing in the travel industry is based on a surge pricing model, also known as supply and demand, which means that rates and fares go up and down all the time.What are the 4 types of discounts? ›
Loyalty discounts - discounts for frequent customers. Trade discounts - discounts for trading in a similar product. Cash discounts - discounts for paying in cash instead of credit. Quantity discounts - discounts that encourage purchasing more of one product.Is it cheaper to book a hotel online or walk in? ›
On average, the same-day rate of a hotel room is 10% cheaper than booking in advance.Are Airbnb or hotels cheaper? ›
For solo travellers and couples, Airbnbs are typically more expensive (though NerdWallet's study only looked at "entire place" properties, so people sharing a room or home might still save). NerdWallet compared the price per head for Airbnbs with a maximum capacity of two adults against a hotel room in the same city.Do hotels negotiate prices? ›
The more expensive the hotel, the more likely it is to be open to negotiation. Sometimes you can get a good rate by doing your negotiating toward the end of the same day you want to stay, but you are taking a chance that nothing will be available or the person with the power to make the decision will not be in.
What is hotels secret price? ›
The “secret price” is a discount available on some hotels to any Rewards member. If you're logged into your account while searching, you'll see the discounted price when you search for hotels.Can you ask a hotel to price match? ›
Many hotels and online travel agencies offer price match guarantees. Find a lower rate for your room via another online source within a certain period of time (such as 24 hours), and you'll be either refunded or credited the difference. Hotels.com has the most expansive price match.