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Business Travelers

How to Save on Hotels | Business Travel Booking Tips

Hotel costs vary widely by destination and travel date. But no matter where or when you’re traveling, you can use the tips below to ensure you get the best deal on your hotel.

To read more about how to reduce the cost of your next business trip, check out Rocketrip's recommendations for How to Save on Flights and How to Cut Employee Travel Costs.

10 Tips For Saving on Hotels

  1. Search Online, But Book Over the Phone - Securing the best possible hotel deal is a two part process. First, cast a wide net by using a metasearch site such as Kayak or Trivago to get a sense of available options. Then, once you’ve identified your preferred hotel, call to inquire about its best available rates. To encourage direct bookings and avoid fees paid to third party agencies, many hotels will offer a lower rate than those listed online. Asking a hotel to beat a room rate offered by a competitor is also surprisingly effective. With a bit of the old human touch, you might be able to secure a discount or free upgrade.

  2. Pay In Advance - If your travel plans are secure, nonrefundable hotel reservations offer excellent value. Prepaying can save up to 20% on bookings made directly with the hotel. (Here’s an example from the Choice Hotels network). Even if you don’t try to pay in advance, you might end up doing just that: some of the lowest rates available through online travel sites are non-refundable, so be sure to read the fine print. 

  3. Leverage Refundable Bookings - An alternative to paying in advance is to make a refundable reservation while continuing to monitor prices online. Unlike airlines, hotels usually don’t charge cancellation fees. 

  4. Bundle Hotel and Flight - Online travel sites offer price breaks for purchasing a flight and hotel (and/or rental car) together. Bundled packages are more commonly used by vacationers, but also offer good value to business travelers with flexible preferences.

  5. Use Corporate Rates - There’s strength in numbers, which is why companies with a large number of traveling employees often have negotiated rates with preferred hotel vendors. For large organizations especially, these volume-based discounts can be significant. The corporate rate should automatically apply if you’re arranging your business trip through a corporate booking tool or corporate travel agent, but if you’re booking directly with the hotel, you’ll need to find out your company’s unique code. 

  6. Join Hotel Loyalty Programs - We’ve written about the diminishing value of travel loyalty programs. Sadly, frequent flyer miles won’t get you as far as they used to, and most hotel rewards programs are making it more difficult to earn and redeem points. Still, there’s very little downside to joining these programs. Enrollment is almost always free, and sign-up offers can be valuable, especially if done in conjunction with a hotel’s branded credit card. As with so much of life, the key here is lowering your expectations. Free hotel stays would be ideal, but free breakfast and the occasional suite upgrade aren’t so bad either.

  7. Consider Last Minute Booking Sites - It’s uncertain whether a tree makes a noise if it falls in a forest and there’s no one around to hear. But hotel rooms remain hotel rooms, even if there’s no one around to book, and that means you can often find a great deal on unused rooms at the last minute. Calling the hotel, as ever as always, allows the most room for negotiation. Last minute booking sites such as HotelTonight are another good way to find out about unused rooms.

  8. Try a Day Hotel Stay - Hotels have become more proactive about selling their spare room inventory, including on days between reservations when rooms would usually go unused. Sites like HotelsByDay let you book rooms during off-peak hours for much less than the overnight rate. By reserving a room where you can rest during the day, you might find you’re able to take an early morning or red eye flight. These flights are not only cheaper, they also eliminate the need for overnight accommodation. 

  9. Delete Cookies - As covered in Rocketrip’s guide to saving on airfare, clearing your web browser history might have a beneficial effect on the search results presented by travel sites.

  10. Find a Cheaper Alternative - Airbnb is an increasingly popular option for business travelers looking for an affordable, home-like alternative to the standard chain hotel. Airbnb has begun to adapt its sharing economy service to the needs of corporate travelers, certifying certain listings as “Business Travel Ready” and allowing a company’s employees to charge their reservations to a central card. On average, Rocketrip travelers who chose Airbnb instead of a hotel saved over $100 per night. 

All Tags: Hotels, Business Travelers

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