So you need a place to stay, minimum requirement being someplace clean. But before you jump the gun and book that deal on your favourite travel site take a few minutes to look at the options. With new websites out there such as tingo.com you can book a room and if the rate lowers between this time and when you check-in you will get a rebate for the difference. Since hotel rates work on a supply and demand basis if a hotel is below its targeted capacity it may lower rates by a sizeable chunk.
The rate may also increase last minute if the hotel is close to capacity.
Another possible way to snag a deal is follow the hotel on twitter and facebook. They occasionally release specials for very limited periods of time or for a certain number of reservations. Thanks to following the Chateau Lake Louise twitter account I came across a $139 a night rate just days before our scheduled check in and saved ourselves $150 over New Years Eve.
Kayak.com will compare the major online retailers. Booking.com is also another option to look into. Priceline.com and hotwire.com are also great sites to really maximize savings but you have to accept a small bit of risk going with these avenues. Thanks to sites like betterbidding.com and biddingfortravel.com you can see the results of previous winners and even have a chance to pinpoint your hotel and booking strategy.
During our trip to Hawaii a few weeks ago when I was making hotel reservations I really wanted to visit one other island besides Maui. At first the plan was to spend a few nights at one of the Four Seasons hotels on Lana’I but the more I heard about the Grand Hyatt on Kauai the more I wanted to experience it.
For our dates at hyatt.com the lowest rates were $550 for a refundable room and $385 for a prepaid/non-refundable room. This was far out of our budget but I noticed a few people who won on hotwire ended up staying here. The rate at hotwire for a Resort hotel was $239 and it was either this hotel or the KoKea since those are the only hotels that would qualify by star rating and location.
I also looked at some winning bids from priceline.com for the Grand Hyatt Kauai ranging from $160 (Super low season)-$250. Since the other hotel in this area had no mention of winning bids I had a good feeling I would end up with the Grand Hyatt on priceline. Of course I had a bit of skepticism but at the prices I was bidding I felt comfortable getting either hotel at the end of the day though I almost knew 99.9% it would end up being the GHK.
One night after enjoying a handful of Heinekens around 1am, coincidentally the time I do my best travel work and evidently blogging since it’s that time as I write this, I found myself at priceline.com. At price line you are only allowed to bid once every 24 hours unless you add in a second location which is what I did. I searched for resorts/5 star hotels in one area and then added in a second area where I knew there were no resorts or 5 star hotels. A few nights before, I started my bidding at $150 for GHK and was upping my bids by about $7 twice a day. I ended up paying $181 which I thought was a great deal for this hotel and wouldn’t hesitate to go back at this rate.
Of course if you end up with a priceline or hotwire reservation I’m not expecting an upgrade at check-in but I have heard they do happen. But thanks to following the hotel on face book we got a wonderful snack food amenity upon arrival which blew the socks off 95% of amenities I get at Fairmont even though I’m a Platinum member in their loyalty program. One thing to keep in mind is that if you book a reservation with these sites they are non-refundable and non-changeable.
Lastly before you make any reservation if the price is the same on the hotels website I would book it there. This way if you have any problems you don’t have a middleman to deal with and you will get loyalty points and a better chance at a small upgrade.