Congratulations. You're going on vacation. You already booked the flight and have a plan, but there is one more thing to do. Book the hotel. That's why we are sharing our favorite 25 tips for booking hotels with you.
Booking a hotel can be a daunting task. I personally spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect hotel when I am planning my trips.
There are many things to consider and decisions to make to ensure your stay is comfortable and enjoyable. From researching the hotel before booking, to checking cancellation policies and asking for special requests – there’s a lot of information out there!
Add to the fact that you know exactly what you want. While saving money is great, you also want that exclusive experience that says, “You're finally on vacation”.
Special thanks to WeKnowHotels.com for sponsoring this blog post. WeKnowHotels.com takes all of the guesswork out of finding the perfect hotel for your needs. Their team has built relationships with top hotels and resorts around the world and will work with you to help you book the perfect room at no added cost to you. Click here to learn more.
That’s why we have compiled 25 tips for booking hotels (and getting precisely what you want). It's more than just finding the right hotel search engines or getting cheap hotels.
It's about getting exactly what you need and want and these tips will help you navigate the process quickly and confidently, ensuring that your next stay is just as perfect as you imagined.
25 tips for booking hotels
1. Book Early
Booking early is one of the best tips for booking hotels cheap, as it ensures you get precisely what you want at the price you want. Booking far in advance gives you a greater chance to score the hotel, room, and amenities that suit your needs and allows you to choose from more available options.
Additionally, many hotels offer early bird discounts for booking early so check for those when you research.
2. Opt for refundable rates
Whenever possible, opt for refundable rates. This will allow you to change or cancel your plans should something unexpected arise or a better deal pops up. Hotel prices fluctuate a lot, so if you can book a refundable rate, it's worth doing as you may save money by canceling and re-booking at a later date.
It doesn't also have to be about finding cheap hotel rooms. Sometimes you might find that a hotel with more amenities becomes more affordable, so if you book hotels with free cancellation that means you can cancel your original reservations and book with the new hotel.
For example a few months back I booked a hotel that was my second choice because the one I really wanted to stay at was out of budget. A couple of weeks later the hotel I wanted to stay at had a sale and I was able to book rooms for cheaper then my second choice hotel. I call that winning.
3. Consider Last Minute deals.
Did you know Americans spend up to 70% of their travel budget on hotels and transportation? That's a huge chunk.
Booking early is a great way to ensure you're getting what you want, but sometimes booking a last minute hotel can work in your favor. Hotels often offer discounted rates for rooms that have yet to be booked or are close to the check-in date and time.
Some hotels even offer free upgrades with last minute bookings, so be sure to ask when booking! This is a great way to get some amenities you initially did not think you had the budget for.
4. Research extensively
It’s important to research extensively when booking a hotel. The internet is full of reviews and ratings of hotels, so take your time to find the perfect one for you. You also want to research things like location, the hotel facilities available (and the cost).
5. Using a specialty service or membership site
If the idea of doing all the work is overwhelming, let someone else do the work for you. A number of services specializing in hotel and resort booking as well as membership sites will do the work for you, so you can spend less time researching and figuring out which hotel is the perfect fit.
WeKnowHotels.com, for example, will help you book reservations at exclusive properties that are tailored to your needs and wants. With a curated selection of hotels across the globe and first-hand experience with some of the most exclusive properties around the world, they can help make sure you get precisely what you want. The best news? You don’t pay anything extra for their expertise. You pay for the room with no hidden fees and no service charges.
6. Look at special package offers.
When booking hotels, always check for special package offers. We are talking about something other than the flight and hotel bundles you see everywhere (which can also be a really great deal).
Many hotels offer discounted rates when you book a room and add additional services such as meals or recreational activities. This is an excellent way to save money while getting exactly what you want from your stay.
Look for spa packages, room upgrades, or packages that bundle in things like free parking and breakfast. You can usually find these directly on the hotel booking website.
7. Signing up for Loyalty Programs
Signing up for hotel loyalty programs is a great way to get the most out of your hotel bookings. By signing up, you can receive discounts and other perks such as free Wi-Fi, complimentary meals, or even upgrades to better rooms.
You will also get first dibs on the best rooms on the property when you book the hotel directly. This is especially helpful if traveling over a holiday or at peak times throughout the year.
8. Break up your stay with multiple reservations
Depending on the length of your vacation, consider booking multiple reservations. Breaking up your stay can help you get the most out of it by allowing you to book several different rooms with different amenities.
It will also allow you to switch hotels if you find a better deal mid-stay. You can also stay in the same hotel but switch up your rooms. For example, let's say you are traveling to the Maldives. Instead of staying in the same room, you can break up your time by spending a few nights in an island villa and another few nights in an overwater bungalow.
9. Book directly with the hotels
Rather than booking through a third-party website, booking directly with the hotel property is always a wise decision. Not only will you get better customer support should anything go wrong, but hotels often offer exclusive deals and discounts when you book directly on their website.
You also have a better chance of getting that upgrade or the requested room we want. Booking directly is like having an “in” with the hotel. Another option is to work with WeKnowHotels.com. They truly have an “in” with all the properties they work with, which means you will get precisely what you want.
Because WeKnowHotels.com is working directly with the hotels, they can find you the perfect property with the amenities that are important to you, like the room with the perfect view of the sunset.
10. Using points to get hotel upgrades
If you are a frequent traveler, it is worth your while to research hotel loyalty programs and sign up for them. Many of these programs will reward you with points that can be redeemed towards free stays at the same or different hotels in their chain.
Using your points to upgrade your room or receive other perks, such as free meals, is also possible.
11. Pay attention to what you are booking.
When booking hotels, always pay attention to the details. Make sure you know what room you are getting and what amenities it has. Also, check for any extra fees that may be added on, such as resort fees or parking fees.
12. Consider alternate locations
If you cannot find exactly what you want, consider alternate locations. Sometimes booking a hotel a couple of miles away from your desired location can mean cheap hotel rates. And you may find that you can get more amenities for the same price.
13. Be flexible with your travel dates.
Flexibility in your travel dates can often result in significant savings. Consider traveling on weekdays instead of weekends and leaving a day earlier or later. Also, be aware that certain holidays may mean higher occupancy and thus higher prices, so try to avoid those days if possible.
14. Go Mobile
Most hotel chains now have mobile apps which allow you to book rooms directly. Not only is this a great way to book cheap hotels with mobile-only deals, but some apps allow you to select the exact room you want, request amenities, book spa treatments, and order room service. And even use your phone as your room key.
If you are staying at an all-inclusive resort, you can also see event and activities calendars to plan ahead or even get a sneak peek of the activities and amenities offered before you book.
15. Compare Prices
Most will tell you to compare prices across multiple sites to ensure you get the best deals. Still, we like to compare prices across different properties with similar amenities. Sometimes that hotel next door to the one you were initially going to book may have the same or better amenities for a better price.
Or you can get extra spa credits, free parking, and even complimentary breakfast for a slight price increase. It pays to do your research.
PPP Tip: If you don’t have the time to shop around, check out WeKnowHotels.com. They will do all the work for you by finding the right property with all the amenities you want, plus the little extras like spa credits and room upgrades.
16. Price Matching
Did you know many hotels offer price matching? If you find a better deal, you can contact the hotel, and they will match it. This works out great because not only can you save money, but it may mean you can get a high category or use the money or credit you get towards other experiences and amenities.
17. Remember travel insurance.
It is important to remember to get travel insurance when you book your hotel. Most of the time, this is separate from your booking. Still, it saves the day if you happen to have an emergency while on vacation or have unexpected changes in plans.
The US State Department highly recommends you get travel insurance, especially when traveling internationally. You can book travel insurance with a third party or check with your credit card to see if they offer any hotel reimbursement if you don't make it in time or need to make a last-minute change.
18. Take advantage of long-stay deals.
If you plan to stay for more than a few days, it is always worth asking the hotel about long-stay deals. These can include discounts on your room rate or other perks such as free meals and spa credits.
This doesn't mean you have to stay at a resort for weeks; sometimes, you might only need to add an extra day to your reservation to take advantage of long-stay deals. It's a great way to score some of the cheapest rates the hotel offers.
19. Feel free to ask for a deal.
Many hotels offer discounts and deals that are not advertised, so feel free to ask. There is nothing wrong with negotiating a better deal, whether it's a discount on your room rate or complimentary breakfast.
Another thing you can do is check out the hotel's social media page and look for promotional codes. These may provide discounts on your rate or other special offers, such as free upgrades.
20. Pre-pay for your reservation
When you make your hotel reservation, consider pre-paying for it. This can often result in a discount on the room rate and other amenities. Depending on the hotel, you may get free parking or even discounts on dining and spa services.
When traveling internationally, you may also take advantage of a better exchange rate by paying in advance. Just google the exchange rate to ensure you are getting a better deal.
21. Look for promotions on the hotel site.
Many hotels offer promotional discounts that are only available on their website. These may include special rates for members, early bird specials, and other exclusive offers.
Before finalizing your hotel reservations, check if the hotel has a promotions page. Here not only can you find hotel discounts on room rates, but you may also find special package deals.
We recently found a deal in Miami where the hotel offered a complimentary cabana when booking through the hotel website through their packages, which was only a few dollars difference.
22. Ask for what you want.
You can do all your research to find the perfect property and room for your trip. However, one of the best hotel booking tips I have used repeatedly is to pick up the phone and call the hotel to ask for what you want. (You can also do this via email, but there is something about speaking directly to the hotel staff).
The front desk can help you figure out anything from the best arrival time to booking rooms with the best location or rooms with the best views. This is something that many travelers take for granted. Pick up the phone and get in contact with the hotel. You will be surprised at how much you can learn and how a short conversation can make a huge difference in your hotel experience.
If picking up the phone to talk to someone scares you, let WeKnowHotels.com do it. They know everything you would want to know about the rooms and best properties with the most exclusive amenities so you can have the best hotel stay.
23. Take some time to check out the reviews.
From the moment you start researching hotels online to the time you book, take a few minutes to read through reviews.
Check out both professional reviews as well as guest reviews. This will help you get an overall view of the hotel and its amenities.
It is also essential to look at recent reviews to get a more accurate representation of the hotel.
PPP Tip: Have a specific question about the property? You can search the reviews for that keyword. So, for example, if you want to know more about the beach, you can search the word beach and read what people who have stayed at the property have to say about the beach.
You may prefer a firmer bed than a pillow top, and you can also search for that. You will be surprised by the amount of wealth that can be found in hotel reviews.
24. Join the Facebook group
There is a group for everything on Facebook, including hotel properties and resorts. Most hotels and resorts have their own Facebook that you can join to get insider tips and information. You can find all kinds of information asked and answered, from what to pack to what room numbers are the quietest.
If you have a specific question about the property, join the group and ask. You will be surprised how quickly you can get an answer from someone who has been to the hotel or the staff.
25. Let WeKnowHotels.com do the work for you.
We saved the best tip for last. Let someone else do the work. Working with WeKnowHotels.com is like having your own private travel concierge who listens to your needs and finds the perfect property based on your needs and budget.
Even better, because of their relationships with all the properties they work with, you have a better chance of getting that room upgrade, scoring a reservation at a hotel that seems to be always sold out, or getting perks like complimentary breakfast and other amenities.
The best part is that you don't have any pay anything extra for this service. All you need to do is register on the site and provide them with all the information about your travel style, desired locations, and dates and they will do the work for you. It is a win-win.
Tips for booking hotels: FAQ
We shared a ton of tips; however, if you still have questions, we have addressed some of the questions that often come up when booking hotels.
What is the best way to book a hotel room?
There is no one best way to book a hotel room. Each method has advantages. If finding the best deal is the most important thing for you, using a booking engine may be the easiest and quickest way to do this. Booking engines usually aggregate prices across multiple sites to get some of the best room prices.
If amenities are more important to you than price, then booking directly with the hotel or working with a service like WeKnowHotels.com may be best for you.
What should you check for before booking a hotel?
Before booking, here are some things you want to check for and keep in mind before making that reservation.
Take a moment to make sure the location works best for your needs. Is it close to public transportation? Is it close to the landmarks and areas you plan to visit during your stay? Also, make sure that the hotel is booked in the correct city.
For example, if you are going to Portland, Oregon, double-check to ensure you are not booking a hotel in Portland, Maine.
Make sure you know exactly what kind of room you are booking. Hotels have different categories of rooms, from rooms with a view to rooms with extra space for the family. If you are booking at a resort, do you want a room with a swim-up pool or a room with a tub?
Figure out which room type has the amenities that you are most interested and make sure you are booking that room type before finalizing your reservation.
Most hotels now offer flexible cancellation policies. However, you must read the fine print on what these are and make sure they meet your needs. Also, check to see when the cancellation policy ends.
You don’t want to wait until it's too late. You may be stuck with a hotel room and/or fees if you decide to cancel or change your booking.
If you have special requests, include them when booking your hotel room and double-check that they are noted on your reservation form. It is also a good idea to follow up with the hotel directly after making the reservation to ensure they have received your request and can honor it.
It is also essential when booking a hotel to be aware of the check-in and check-out times at the property. Most hotels have a standard check-in time of 3 pm and check-out of 11 am. However, some may vary, so make sure you know this before making your reservation so you can plan your arrival and departure accordingly.
If you are arriving or departing outside the usual check-in and check-out times, you can request an early check-in or late check-out with the hotel. Some properties will give you a courtesy, while others may charge a small fee.
What does your rate include?
When booking, double-check to see what is included in that rate. Most often, the basic rate includes the room and taxes. However, some properties may add additional fees or resort fees when booking. It’s best to know ahead of time so there are no sur[rises at check-in.
In the alternatives, some all-inclusive resorts may be pricier however, because they include amenities such as unlimited activities, food, and even drinks, they can be a great deal.
Also, check before booking to see if any special offers include breakfast or other amenities as part of the rate.
What is the best way to book a hotel?
The best way to book a hotel is to use an online travel booking website. These websites provide travelers with a variety of options, allowing them to compare prices and features for various hotels. They also offer discounts and other incentives that can help you find the best deal.
By using an online travel booking website, you can easily search for hotels near you or in other areas, read reviews from fellow travelers, and book your hotel quickly and safely.
How to book the cheapest rate in a hotel?
The best way to book the cheapest rate in a hotel is to look for deals online. Many hotels offer discounts and special rates when you book through their website or app.
Additionally, it might be beneficial to compare prices between different hotels and booking websites. Additionally, signing up for loyalty programs or discount clubs may give you access to special rates and promotions.
What is the best day of the week to book a hotel?
The best day of the week to book a hotel depends on a few factors, including location and time of year. Generally, it's recommended to book hotels mid-week (e.g. Tuesday or Wednesday) as rates are typically lower than on weekends.
However, if you're looking for last-minute deals or discounts, you may be able to find better prices on weekends when some hotels offer special weekend rates.
Is it cheaper to book a hotel right before?
No, it is generally not cheaper to book a hotel right before. While you can sometimes get lucky with last minute deals rates tend to be higher when booking closer to the date of arrival, as hotels can charge whatever they like if they know that a room is likely to be filled.
It is usually better to book further in advance in order to get the best rates and exactly what you want.
Tips for booking hotels and always getting what you want
Booking a hotel can be overwhelming and time-consuming. With the tips we’ve provided above, you should have no problem finding exactly what you want. From researching hotels before booking to checking cancellation policies and asking for special requests, these tips will help ensure your next stay is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
For even more customized service beyond these hotel booking tricks, check out WeKnowHotels.com – their team of experts is ready to work with you in creating a fantastic experience tailored specifically to your needs. Click here to learn more.