Hotels have been using dynamic pricing for, well, forever. That’s why you can check-in right next to someone else who has either paid twice or half as much as you — and sometimes, the gap is even bigger.
So, how do you make sure that you’re taking advantage of dynamic pricing vs. being taken advantage by it? It’s simple. Just follow these 7 hacks to dramatically lower your hotel bill:
- Contact the hotel directly.
Hotels pay a fee to booking sites like Expedia, Travelocity, and so on. Contact a desired hotel directly and ask if they’ll beat the online price.
- Join the AAA or AARP.
Clubs like the AAA and AARP offer surprisingly large hotel discounts to members. Depending on where you go and how long you stay, the savings could more than offset the cost of the membership.
- Avoid Resort Fees
A fairly recent — and if you’re a guest, unwelcome — trend in the hospitality industry is charging a “resort fee” that, frankly, includes things that used to be part of the hotel room price like fitness club membership and in-room Wi-Fi. When searching for hotels, look for those that either waive the resort fee, or price it significantly lower than comparable hotels. For example, resort fees in cities like Las Vegas can range from about $15-$25 a day.
- Check Our Group Buying Sites
Group buying sites like Groupon offer deals on hundreds of hotels in cities around the world. While the savings can be significant, make sure that you read the fine print. For example, some deals have blackout dates.
- Sign-up for the Loyalty Program
Hotels know what all other businesses know: it costs much less to continue serving an existing customer, than it does to acquire a new one. As such, many hotels offer loyalty programs that reward you with points and perks for being a frequent guest. According to U.S. News and World Report, the top 10 loyalty programs that offer the most bang for the buck are: Marriott Bonvoy, Wyndham Rewards, World of Hyatt, Choice Privileges, Best Western Rewards, IHG Rewards Club, Radisson Rewards, La Quinta Returns, INVITED, and Leaders Club.
- Rent a condo or house.
You could save hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars by renting a condo or house instead of a hotel room. Thanks to the web, finding accommodations is easy and you don’t have to drive or walk around hunting for subdivision entrance signs. Use the web, and make sure that you check out reviews and read the fine print.
- Get a room with a kitchenette.
A kitchenette — which is usually a microwave, small fridge, sink, coffee maker, and perhaps a toaster oven — will help you cut down on restaurant costs. So, even if you’re obliged to spend more than you’d like for your hotel (which can happen if you need or want to travel during the busy season, or your destination doesn’t have a lot of options), you’ll still save money. Plus, you’ll probably eat healthier, too!