Mike Ruiz
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Ask the Expert: Hotel Booking Hacks

Hotel

There are always deals to be found when booking a hotel room.  But, the Internet is a big place to navigate when hoping to stumble upon a sweet deal. Ivy Chou, marketing and SEO manager at DealsPlus.com, an online source for finding discounts across all sorts of categories, knows the science behind saving big bucks, and offers the following suggestions:  

Be ready to travel at a moment’s notice. “Hotels raise prices to meet heightened demand but if rooms don’t fill up, they quickly drop prices to avoid losing money on vacancies. So if you can travel within a week’s notice, you could catch a great deal. Compare prices in advance so you know a good deal when you see one, but be flexible enough to pack up and go if a last-minute deal pops up. Apps like HotelTonight or sites like LastMinute.com or Hotels.com are excellent places to find last minute deals.” 

Utilize summer deals and coupons. “Since summer is such a popular time to travel, plenty of hotel coupons and deals will be available throughout summer break to encourage travelers to book. They know travelers are probably comparing prices, and a coupon code is often all it takes to nudge us to complete our booking.”

Avoid weekends if you can help it. “Rates are generally the cheapest from Sunday to Thursday. If you must take a 3-day weekend trip, travel Saturday through Monday instead of Friday through Sunday so you’re booking one weekend night instead of two.”

Timing is everything. “Summer break is an expensive time to travel because students and faculty drive up demand, causing prices to skyrocket. The most expensive summer prices are usually around the third week of May to the third week of August. If you’re able to travel just days before or after the summer break period, you could pay significantly less.”

If you’re planning a group trip, consider AirBNB or VRBO. "Does it have to be a hotel? Most hotel rooms comfortably sleep a maximum of four guests and are pretty minimal. That means no kitchen, one shared bathroom, no common area to lounge in, and no privacy. Since AirBNB and VRBO offer vacation home rentals that are less susceptible to seasonal pricing, you could rent a two to three bedroom house with plenty of room for everyone to sleep, lounge, and hang out comfortably for cheaper than the cost of multiple hotel rooms. Just remember that vacation homes work differently than hotels so the earlier you book a vacation home, the better. Most come with free cancellations within 30 days of travel, so don’t be afraid to book even a year in advance.”

Be flexible with your destination. "If you’re looking at popular places for families or college students, you’re bound to pay a premium. Instead of choosing a set destination, think of a few places you’d like to visit, then compare prices between those destinations.”

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