Travel experts reveal top tips to bag the best hotel rooms on a budget
Make requests privately
We’re not talking about slipping the receptionist a ten-dollar bill, but about reaching out to the right member of staff prior to your arrival. Finding out the manager’s name and email is usually pretty easy, so if you’re keen to ensure your room has a bath, not a shower, or you’re desperate to bag an upgrade for a special occasion, drop them an email.
Requests made privately have a much higher chance of success than those made in front of a long queue of guests who might be wondering why you think you deserve special treatment.
Go for a Sunday night
Considering a long weekend away? Instead of extending your break by taking the Friday off work, kick off your trip on a Saturday and take the Monday as a holiday day.
A growing number of hotels are slashing the prices of Sunday stays to boost business on what’s traditionally been a slow day. Julia Davies, owner of The Cottage in the Wood in the Malvern Hills says she offers a ‘Sunday Slumber rate’, typically offering savings of up to 34%.
The best deals can usually be found on price comparison sites but don’t make the mistake of thinking this renders your loyalty card useless.
Mentioning that you’re a member of the hotel’s loyalty scheme will significantly increase your chances of an upgrade, whether you booked directly with the hotel or not. For this reason, it’s still worth joining these loyalty schemes, even if you prefer to book with price comparison sites.
Business or pleasure?
Are you travelling for business or pleasure? Before you book your accommodation, have a think about the hotel’s typical guest.
“Leisure resorts or hotels on the outskirts of cities will be more expensive from Friday to Sunday,” says Brian Townsend, an area manager for Wyndham Hotel Group. “Business hotels in city centre locations will usually be most expensive between Sunday and Thursday.”
Last-minute discounts are almost non-existent these days. The vast majority of hotel reservations staff – especially those in tourist hot-spots – assume (in most cases, correctly) that guests booking at the last-minute will (a) struggle to find other accommodation and (b) are, for whatever reason, unwilling to consider other hotels.
Book early and you’ll bag the best prices, and you’ll also be in a better position to request room upgrades and other added extras.
Check in late
Book your room early, but check in late to maximise your chances of getting an upgrade. How many times have you arrived at your hotel early only to be told an early check-in isn’t possible because the rooms are still being cleaned?
If you arrive mid-afternoon, staff will have more time to consider your request and will have a better idea of the hotel’s capacity. The pricier, larger suites are usually booked well in advance, and hotel staff know that these more expensive rooms are unlikely to get snapped up on the day if they haven’t been booked already.