Using booking sites: in this technology era everything has been simplified, one can now book and get the best deals through his/her phone using applications. Booking sites like bookings.com, trip advisor, expedia, agoda and trivago are among the popularly used. The trick is not to book the first deal you come across, always check minimum 3 of them before deciding. Trivago and trip advisor will even give you more options to chose from.
Booking weekends in hotels that specialises in business travel: on weekends most business travellers would have gone home or sight seeing so the rooms are always cheaper to book over the weekend in these types of establishments. Did I mention that their rooms are always bigger and better and the service is of high quality.
Switch it up: book guest houses and bed and breakfasts instead of your everyday hotels. Most people are still, stuck in the rock ages, you need to move with times. Gone are those days when every time you thought about travelling you thought ‘hotel’. There are new kids on the block, bed and breakfasts and guest houses offer a lot, my favourite being intimacy. They normally have fewer rooms which most of the time translates to excellent service offered. Another advantage is that they often come at a cheaper rate compared to hotels.
Booking during the off-peak season: they do not call it off peak season by mistake, during this time there is less travelling and less activities happening in that area/ city therefore the demand v/s supply theory applies. During off peak season there is less demand therefore the prices become significantly cheaper. This is advisable for all big cities or traditional tourists routes and also for international travel.
Maintain relations: according to Jeanette Pavini, it always helps to have a healthy relationship with the hotel stuff members, especially the ones you frequent. Most of the time you will be in a position to clinch great deals like upgrades and further discounts and extras.
Book within the cancellation period: 24/48 hrs before your date of travel is believed to be the best time to book if you are one of those people who like bargaining and living on the edge. This is the time where the hotel can have a sense of how empty or full the hotel is and if the hotel has not reached the desired numbers of occupation then they tend to drop the prices. That is when you cash in.
Book your flights and accomodation together: it usually saves you a great deal of money to book your flights and accomodation together. On expedia they normally run a special where you sometimes get up to 100% off your flights when you book on selected hotels. Sometimes they take out a certain percentage from your accomodation if you book with certain airlines, routes or cities.
Book with the hotel: many seem to be in agreement that sometimes you get better deals by calling the hotel instead of relying to the booking websites. The hotels also run their own specials and their deals most of the time come with a lot of perks.
Use hotels and booking website loyalty programs: most hotels have loyalty programmes, if I did not know in advance I always ask at the front desk when I check in if they fail to mention it. For example Protea hotels are part of the marriot group which is an international group which means points earned can also work overseas. The booking sites also have their own rewards programs then if you join them, you will benefit from this program.
Sign up for price alerts: my favourite, always create price alerts when you make your booking especially if you still have the luxury of time. You will get updates when the price drops then you will be in a better position to select the best deals as they come. This gives you an added advantage to everyone that will be searching for accomodation on the same place as you will get these notifications well before everyone knows about them.