Technology · June 24, 2022

How to get a hotel room cheaper than the best online price

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Here’s my spending philosophy: If you can get something cheaper, it’s worth a little effort.

Of course, I also like tools that do the hard work for me. Tap or click an online shopping helper to find discounts that work.

There are digital tricks that can make traveling easier, safer and cheaper. Tap or click for five smart tech tips to read before hitting the road this summer.

When it comes to saving on hotel rooms, the sites that claim to have the best possible deal aren’t always the way to go. Sometimes you can do better on your own. My son just used the tips below to get a hotel room for $80 cheaper than the lowest rate online.

Don’t book through a travel website

When looking for a hotel, travel discount sites like Kayak, Expedia, or Hotels.com are good places to go—but don’t book there. Once you have found the lowest available rate at the hotel you wish to visit, call the hotel’s reservations desk.

Many hotels match or beat the best internet rate when you book with them. They would much rather skip the commission on the travel site and book your stay directly. The hotel might even offer a free upgrade like a nicer room or free breakfast.

If you don’t have luck with the first person to respond, respectfully ask to speak to the sales manager.

Speaking of saving, I’ve put together 8 proven ways to lower your monthly internet, cable, and streaming bills. You are welcome.

This is the best time to book a hotel room

If possible, wait until the day you need the hotel room to book. The later in the day the better. After 4pm, hotels know the chances of selling a room are pretty slim, so you’re more likely to get an even lower rate. On average, the price of a same-day hotel room is 10% cheaper than booking in advance.

But this comes with a caveat. Don’t rely on this strategy if you’re traveling to a busy tourist city or a city hosting a big event. You may be lucky, but most people book rooms well in advance. In a pinch, sites like Hotel tonight can assist with last minute bookings.

The hotel inspector makes final checks on a bed with white sheets in a hotel.

The hotel inspector makes final checks on a bed with white sheets in a hotel.

Watch your wallet: 5 stupid ways you flush money down the toilet

Don’t forget about the additional discounts

If you book online you will probably see a box where you can enter member details to save more. Don’t forget to ask about these discounts when you call a hotel to book.

Veterans, AAA members, seniors, government employees, and students often qualify for discounted hotel rooms—sometimes in addition to the discounts you already receive.

It’s not just about a few dollars either. AARP Members Receive Up To 15% Discount At Marriott Hotels; Best Western offers members a 10% discount. Wyndham Hotels offers special rates for guests 60 years and older. With AAA, you can save up to 10% at Hyatt Hotels and MGM Resorts.

Here’s another pro tip: if you know which hotel chain you want to stay with, go to their website, sign up for their mailing list, or download their app. You will be the first to know about special discounts and promotions.

TIED TOGETHER: These family plans will save you money—even if you’re not part of the family

If you need to book online, use incognito mode

Calling at the last minute to get a cheap room is great when it works, but sometimes you need to pre-book online. The best way is to open an incognito browser window.

Some travel companies keep track of what you’ve searched for and increase prices the next time you visit the site. You don’t have to worry about price gouging when using incognito mode.

It’s not just the travel industry that does this. Many online shopping sites know when you’re stalking an item and may increase the price if you leave and later come back to buy it. Don’t leave it to chance.

In the picture, a man is using his iphone and laptop at his desk.

In the picture, a man is using his iphone and laptop at his desk.

Incognito mode may not hide everything you do online, but it does have some handy uses. Tap or click for five more of my favorites.

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Watch my Kim Komando Today podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name “Komando”.

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Find out more about the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and shares advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. Visit her website at Komando.com for her daily tips, free newsletters and more.