how can I get the best hotel rates?
2006-01-25 22:00:19 UTC
how can I get the best hotel rates?
Three answers:
2006-01-29 19:22:20 UTC
Go to and choose the area, star level, and dates where you want to stay. I have tried many sites and I find this one has the best bargains--you can't see the hotel name until you check out, but I've never been disappointed.
2006-01-30 09:53:37 UTC
Surprisingly, hotels usually have the best rates. The quick answer is at the bottom. But, below is some insight. This is a little long but remember this will save you lots of money in the long run if you travel a lot.

Early on, before hotel chains had a real online presence, online agents like Expedia offered some great rates. It was an additional way for hotels to capture business and the Internet was billed as the way of the future. With all the buzz about the Internet and companies slow to figure it out, online agent business boomed.

Here's how it works:

There are two kinds of sites, opaque and non-opaque. Opaque means you can't see the hotel you are getting before you reserve. Priceline and Hotwire are examples. You choose the general location and the service level of hotel you desire. Be careful, hotels marked as same service levels are not always comparable. Non-opaque sites like Expedia and allow you to view the hotel before reserving. Hotels use both types to fill their rooms.

Hotels agree to set aside a certain number of rooms for these online sites to sell and because these sites sell in bulk, they get a discount. Online agents sell the room to you at a marked up price and make money on the difference and fees.

That price you see listed on their site does not include their service fee. This can easily add another $10-$15 to that "great rate". For example, you are shopping around on the net. You see a hotel you like on site X for $79. The hotel's website shows a rate of $89. You book with site X. Site X adds a $12 fee. Now you are playing more. The hotel sold that room to site X for $59. Site X just made a profit of $32. Because the hotels sold the room for $59, it is not cost effective to give you the complimentary full breakfast for two that direct bookings get. Instead, you must pay for it. Also, the hotel may reserve you a less desirable room and save their better rooms for guests that paid them more. Online reservations will get the short end of the stick if the hotel happens to be oversold. If you were in their shoes under the same circumstances, who would you show loyalty too?

All hotel chains have caught up and have established an Internet presence – as far as I know. Most chains have a best rate guarantee now. Meaning non-opaque will not have a better rate. However, under some contracts between hotel chains and online agents, non-opaque might have better rates. But, choosing to use an opaque channel over a non-opaque channel could mean the difference between the nice clean popular chain hotel and a sleazy dive. You don’t know what you’re getting.

How to get the best rate:

My recommendation is to research rates. First use a non-opaque site like Expedia to find hotels in the city and part of town you would like. Print those listings. Also, check the hotel’s direct website. They may have Internet specials neither posted on their chain site nor available on the phone. Then, find the phone number of each hotel. Call the hotel directly and ask what their rate is. If you find the researched rates to be cheaper, bargain with the hotel. Avoid a central reservations office. They don’t have the authority to bargain rates but the hotel does. Make sure you are directly speaking with the hotels by asking the reservation/front desk agent. Sometimes asking for the manager on duty will work because they usually understand the value in having you book directly with them. Careful not to step on toes in this process, the Front Office Manager to back up staff or if they feel you’re being deceptive. They deal with enough people trying to something for nothing. If done respectfully, they will often beat or lower price and you may get breakfast. Remember they may be paying site X $59 and if they sell it to you for $69; they made an extra $10 than what they would have. Also, you are not bound to strict cancellation policies and fees the sites have. You'll find you have more flexibility going directly to the source.

Other ways to get better rates:

Being a AAA will almost always get you a discount. If you’re in town on business, ask if they have a standard corporate rate. They may require you give them a business card. But, always be sure to get the going rate without discounts before showing your hand. If you have a Military I.D. you can sometimes get the Government or Military rate. Senior citizens can get a discount as well. Don’t expect discounts to stack. If you play a good game of social interaction, calling the Director of Sales of the hotel direct might result in a better rate.

Good luck!
2006-02-01 20:13:34 UTC!!!! I have been bidding on hotels through priceline for about 6 years now. I've used it for hotels and resorts all over the country. I stayed in the Waldorf Astoria in New York for $120 a night, in the Westin in Seattle for $70 a night, and so on. I highly recommend it for bidding for travel.

Also, there are sites where people post what star level hotel they bid on, how much they bid and whether or not they got it (and what hotel they got). Check them out. I'm putting the link to one below.

This content was originally posted on Y! Answers, a Q&A website that shut down in 2021.