5 Steps to Find Cheap Hotel Rates

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.

blue sky behind St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans
St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans

Have you used these techniques to find cheap hotel rates? Other strategies?

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18 thoughts on “5 Steps to Find Cheap Hotel Rates”

  1. I didn’t realize these entertainment books were available in Oz!
    Thanks for the pointer 🙂
    And a nudge re avenues you can go down to get a much better price on hotels!

  2. Great tips. I’ve never seen an entertainment coupon book here in Korea, but i’ll to have a look. Koreans love bargains. I’ve had a lot of luck with Latestays over the years.

  3. Great tips we use similar ones when booking hotels to try and get a bargain. The Entertainment Book is a great money saver..pity they can’t bring out a location independent version so you can use it all over the world 🙂

  4. Great tips. Except for the entertainment.com tip we already employ them all but we didn’t realise that the entertainment book was sold in other countries – except NZ. Can I just add that it makes a great gift to give your entertainment book to someone at the last hotel you are staying at in a given area. We bought the entertainment book covering Taupo in NZ when we were there last year. We used several of the coupons but the rest we of no use to us back in Oz so we gave it to a waiter who had given us great service. He was really happy to have it.

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