From booking a hotel, WiFi fees and phone charges to saving on food, parking and more, hotels can be expensive. Staying at hotels when traveling can add up (especially with extra fees and the steep rates some hotels may charge) and who doesn’t want to save a buck or two, especially when these tips take hardly any extra effort? Check out our best tips to help you save money at hotels and feel free to share your favorite tips below in the comments section!
1. Ask the doorman
Don’t ask the concierge where to eat, as they are likely to recommend somewhere fancy and more expensive than you’re looking for. Instead, ask the doorman, who is more likely to give you good, local suggestions that won’t break the bank.
2. Use social media
Every hotel is on Twitter and Instagram now so why not tweet them in advance to say how excited you are to stay there? You can also search Twitter for secret social media-only deals or hotel flash sales not found on websites. Sometimes, using certain hashtags, you can enter a contest or get the hotel’s attention. Free upgrades, anyone?
3. Ask the front desk for forgotten items
Next time you forget something like shaving cream, a razor, toothpaste or a phone charger, check with the front desk before rushing out to buy it. Many chain hotels have items like this on hand, if you ask. It certainly saves finding a store nearby and spending money on a full-sized version.
4. Find out about the club level
Find out how much it costs to upgrade to the club level at check-in. Certain hotels offer real value and include a nice breakfast for two, evening appetizers, dessert, large bottles of water, soft drinks and snacks all day, WiFi and more. Even with the cost of the upgrade, you could save money on food, especially if you’re traveling with a family.
5. Beware the mini bar
Don’t ever open the mini bar as some hotels charge you if the mini bar just senses movement. It’s easy enough to bring snacks from home or pick them up at a local grocery store.
6. Be on the lookout for extra/hidden fees
It’s unfortunate but consumers have to be savvy when booking hotel stays and know what to be on the lookout for. Many hotels charge extra for parking, water bottles in the room (they are so much cheaper at the gas station down the street), sunscreen and other extra items that aren’t well labeled with a price tag. Resorts are especially known for hidden fees. The reverse is true too … find out what’s included. There could be perks you don’t know about. Sometimes beyond a free breakfast, there are discounts at the hotel restaurant or an evening happy hour with appetizers.
7. Look for parking alternatives
Instead of using the hotel valet, ask the bellman if there’s self-parking or a cheaper lot nearby. It may sound cheap but some valet prices are just absolutely ridiculous so you could save a lot. If the bellman isn’t any help or you feel cheap for asking, call the hotel front desk while you are in the car and ask if there’s a lot nearby the hotel … they will never know you called when you walk in!
8. Join hotel loyalty programs
Join hotel loyalty programs for access to the club room or other perks like free WiFi. Even the lowest tier loyalty members can get perks and benefits.
9. Phone calls
Don’t ever use a hotel phone, even for local calls! More often than not, any other method of internet calling is cheaper than doing this. Use internet phone services like Skype, Rebtel or Line for reduced rates. If you absolutely need to make a call, check with the front desk first on rates to save yourself having a heart attack when you get the bill at check-out.
10. Save at a business hotel
If you are looking for a hotel over a weekend, try a business hotel. They are usually looking for guests over the weekends, since they cater to the business crowd during the week. You may be surprised at the great deals to be had. The reverse is true for leisure cities (like Cancun) where prices are clearly cheaper during the week than the weekend, since they cater to the weekend leisure crowd.
11. Ask for deals and upgrades
If you speak to the hotel staff, don’t just ask, ”do you have any deals” but ask for the cheapest refundable rate. Many hotels will also offer deals if you have a AAA membership or AARP (you can get AARP as young as 50). Also, the best time to even ask for an upgrade is around 5pm or 6pm. At this time, they will have a better gauge of what rooms will be open for the evening.
12. Recheck the hotel price
If you book your hotel in advance, you can recheck the price a few days before travel to see if the price has lowered. Sometimes if a hotel isn’t busy, it will drop their prices to entice guests. As long as you booked a refundable rate, you can book another room at the lower price and cancel your initial reservation.