Here are 5 steps I typically use to find cheap hotel rates.
Some numbers are included from an actual stay to show how I saved over 50% for a stay at Country Inn & Suites in New Orleans:
5 Steps to Find Cheap Hotel Rates
1. Search on company website
A friend suggested Country Inn & Suites for my trip to New Orleans. On Country Inn & Suites website, the best rate for a one night stay was $86. I consider $86 my baseline rate, from which I will employ some McCool Travel techniques to hopefully find cheap hotel rates.
2. Research discount codes
Back on the Country Inns website, I selected the option for a AAA rate. The website returned a AAA rate of $79 ($7 savings from the $86 rate). I will also check other discount rates, such as Costco and AARP.
3. Check for promotional rates
Although I planned to only stay for one night (and the second night in a different property), I searched for two nights anyway. Indeed I found a cheap hotel rate for multiple night stays—a 20% discount off the AAA rate. For a two night stay, the rate was $63.20 ($23 savings per night). Other promotional rates can be for a weekend stay, 3 week in advance, prepay, or package deals (add breakfast, parking, etc.). I sometimes also call the hotel and ASK if they have other cheap hotel rates; it sometimes works!
4. Search the Entertainment rate
I buy an Entertainment discount book each year for my local area. It includes 2-for-1 dining and other discounts. However, anyone can go to entertainment.com and look for cheap hotel rates. In this case, their rate for Country Inn & Suites was $55.30 ($31 savings per night).
5. Use a discount certificate
Each Entertainment book has a mail-in rebate certificate. After my first hotel stay booked at Entertainment.com, I can mail in the certificate and receive a $30 rebate ($15 per night). My effective daily rate is reduced to $40.30 ($45.70 savings per night).
From the initial rate of $89, I found a lower AAA rate (saving 9%), followed by a discounted two night rate (27%), and finally a non-published (but available to anyone who knows) rate (38%). When my rebate is issued, I will ultimately save 55%.
Of course, these steps do not work for every hotel stay but it hopefully shows how spending an extra few minutes can result in cheap hotel rates. For this hotel stay, I spent maybe 5 minutes to save $90. That’s over $1,000 per hour. I would like to find work paying that much!
Happy travel deal hunting!
Great rates are not the only factor to consider when booking a hotel. Reader’s Digest rounded up 10 Red Flags You’re About to Stay at a Bad Hotel, including tips from the McCool Travel team.
Have you used these techniques to find cheap hotel rates? Other strategies?