Our top tips guarantee you always get the best hotel rate
Step 1 – Website search
There are so many sites out there it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s what we do.
Use a multiple search site. We usually use Trivago to benchmark all the prices as we find it the easiest and quickest website to get an idea of the price.
We also think Booking.com has a good range of available accommodation and like Expedia for the quality of its pictures and information. TripAdvisor is obviously a favourite for its customer reviews.
Step 2 – Breakfast
Find the two or three cheapest options and check which include breakfast then compare accordingly. An included breakfast can save you time and money plus can be easier when travelling with children, unless there are nice cafes or bakeries nearby you are keen to try.
Step 3 – Cashback
Check the situation with cashback websites like our favourites TopCashback and Quidco.
You can save up to 12 per cent off the price of a hotel by signing up to a cashback site, clicking its link to the company you are booking through and then booking.
It also works for package holidays, even a two per cent saving on a £3,000 package is worth £60 – enough for a meal out or airport lounge passes.
Step 4 – Direct booking
Check the hotel’s own website and contact them, most want you to book directly through them as they don’t have to pay commission so may match or beat your best online price.
They may have a special deal for those who book direct such as three nights for the price of two. Or you could ask them to include breakfast for you.
Step 5 – Secret hotel
See if the hotel is on a secret deal with Lastminute.com.
It offers top secret hotels at a serious discount – the catch is you don’t know which hotels they are.
However, you can usually work out which hotel is being offered with a bit of research.
Copy and paste the description they use into Google – it often matches the hotel’s own website. Or it may be very similar to the description used on other websites where the hotel is named.
Step 6 – Credit card
Okay this won’t get you money off, but it may just save you a fortune. The recent Monarch demise, of which we were one of the victims, showed the value of using a credit card to pay for travel.
The card gives you protection so that you will get your money back if the airline or hotel goes bust.
Package holidays are generally covered under the ATOL scheme but if you have sorted everything yourself – the DIY route – always use a credit card.
We had for our cancelled Monarch flights and American Express was brilliant, refunding the £350 almost immediately.
One example – how we got a peak season hotel in Florence for £50 a night
We were looking for a hotel in Florence in peak season.
Trivago’s best price was £65 a night, cashback from TopCashback brought that down to £60.
But this hotel was on a Lastminute Top Secret list for £56.75.
We then got 11 per cent back via TopCashback, which made it £50.50 for a family room. Read the review of the hotel here, it was perfectly fine for the money.
For more advice check out this guide from MoneySavingExpert.com.
Have you got any tips to share? We’d love to hear them.