Overview: 10 Easy Ways to Get the Best Last-Minute Hotel Deals, Cheap Hotel Rooms, and Bargains
We all deserve a break sometimes, but it just does not seem fair that a huge portion of your vacation budget has to go toward accommodation costs.
It has been no secret that you can cut down on hotel costs by looking for last-minute hotel bargains.
How to Choose the Best Last-Minute Hotel Deals Websites
When you Google “last-minute hotel rooms” or “cheap last-minute hotel deals,” the results can be overwhelming. With hundreds of sites offering last-minute hotel bargains, how are you supposed to know where to find the best last-minute hotel deals?
Image Source: Google.com
There is no need to panic, because here at AdvisoryHQ, we have taken the work out of making a last-minute hotel booking for you.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about finding last minute cheap hotels so that you can sit back and enjoy the vacation—and even have some money left over for a nice cocktail by the pool!
Top 10 Tips to Find the Best Last-Minute Hotel Deals
There has been a proliferation of comparison sites promising to find you cheap last-minute hotel deals. These sites can be genuinely helpful for travelers who do not want to spend days looking for last-minute hotel reservations, as it means you do not have to hop from site to site.
Image Source: Go Unusual
Popular Comparison Sites for Last-Minute Hotel Discounts
Cheap last-minute hotel deals sites such as Kayak, trivago, and Trip Advisor are all heavily advertised and will pop up high in search engine rankings. But does this mean that they will find you the best last-minute hotel deals?
Top Ten Reviews carried out a comprehensive survey of comparison sites offering last-minute hotel rooms. Users of websites promising the best last-minute hotel deals were asked to rank the sites based on the lowest prices, as well as these key factors:
- Sorting Features: Were there useful filtering tools?
- Hotel Details: Was it easy to find out enough information about hotels?
- Reservations Process: Was it easy to book?
- Booking Help: Was it easy to get help on the site?
From the survey results, TopTenReviews concluded that the best three sites for getting last-minute discount hotels are:
Users loved these sites because their prices came out lower than other sites and they found the sites user-friendly.
Specialized Comparison Sites for Last-Minute Hotel Booking
If you are the type of person who likes to have a really unique holiday experience, you might find that the last-minute hotel bargains websites above are not quite catering for your needs.
Even if you want to stay in an igloo, there are last-minute hotel discounts out there for you. To name just a few, you can check out i-escape, who promise “quality, not quantity,” or Go Unusual, whose motto is “life less ordinary.”
For more on websites focusing on experience and adventure, check out The Guardian’s review of boutique sites here: The Guardian
2. Call Hotels Directly
If you are more of a traditionalist, and all those last-minute hotel discounts sites make your head spin, you can still go old school and call the hotel directly to look for last-minute hotel bargains.
The technique of haggling is as old as time, and despite the digital age we live in, you can still use negotiation skills to get cheap last-minute hotel deals. Use your charm and ask for a reasonable discount.
One trick you could use to snag last-minute hotel bargains is to do some research and call business hotels, who are usually quiet in the summer months and will be willing to give you a deal.
Even if you are not offered cheap last-minute hotel deals in terms of the room rate, many hotel managers will welcome your business and may throw in something to sweeten the deal such as a room upgrade.
3. Book Cancelable Rates
The travelers who truly get the best last-minute hotel deals are those who have put a bit of effort into their search. One trick used by bargain-hungry guests is to book hotels at cancelable rates. They admit as TripIt that this approach takes time and effort, but it can pay off!
This knack means that you book a hotel a week in advance at, let’s say, $500. Check back on the site 24–48 hours before you are due to check in. Often, these are when prices drop, and you can get the best last-minute hotel deals.
This time, when you check the rates, they have dropped to $400. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by canceling the first booking at the higher rate, and booking again at a lower rate. And if there is no price difference in your last-minute hotel booking, or the prices have risen, you will be safe in the knowledge that you got the best last-minute hotel deals at the right time.
Remember: Read the small print to make sure that these last-minute hotel reservations really are 100% refundable.
4. Do Your Research
There is no getting around it. If you want to find cheap last-minute hotel deals, it is going to take a bit of digging around. Although price comparison websites do give you a huge choice on last-minute hotel bargains, by taking the time to look at rates on a few of them, you can save money.
A great example of this came up in the New York Times when a reporter saved herself $82 by going to several last-minute hotel booking websites.
Even if you are planning to book last-minute hotel rooms, sometimes it is still the early bird that gets the worm, so start looking as early as you can. If you book early, you may be able to secure the best room.
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5. Look at Discount Sites
Another great way to save and get last minute hotel bargains is to use coupons for big discounts. Couponing does not have to mean spending hours cutting out clippings from the newspaper anymore. There are a huge number of easy-to-use websites and apps that can help you find great deals on last-minute cheap hotels.
Image Source: Groupon
For anyone who has not used it, the basic premise is that you can buy products or services for a reduced price for a limited time. For example, you could get a deal on a last-minute hotel booking by buying a hotel room for $100 that is normally $200.
Although most of these deals are loss-making for the hotels, companies are signing up and giving genuine cheap last-minute hotel deals because it is a great platform for advertising their business, and the hope is that once the customer is through the door, they will spend money on other things—or come back again.
6. Sign Up for Loyalty Programs
You might be reluctant to do this because you do not want your inbox flooded with emails about last-minute hotel rooms, particularly if you do not travel regularly. However, there are some sites that you can use to get niche, tailored alerts and recommendations. Not only will you be informed, but you can great last-minute discount hotels as well!
Big last-minute hotel booking sites such as Hotel.com offer loyalty programs to those who sign up, and now big hotel chains and other websites offering cheap last-minute hotel deals are getting in on the act too.
Loyalty Program? I’ve Never Even Been to That Hotel!
This may seem farcical, as surely loyalty programs should be offering last-minute hotel discounts to customers who have used their hotels regularly, rather than those signing up for online loyalty programs.
One example is that IHG Rewards Club discounts are now available on a major last-minute hotel rooms player, Expedia. This deal is working well for everyone. As more people use comparison sites than hotel websites to get the best last-minute hotel deals, even the biggest hotel chains are forced to find ways to use big platforms to advertise their best deals.
The arrangement also works for websites offering last-minute hotel booking facilities, as they will be able to display the best rates available, even if it means the customer has to take the extra step of signing up to the loyalty program to bag the deal.
7. Be Flexible
If you want to snag a bargain on last-minute cheap hotels, you need to be flexible about your dates. Hotels have quiet times like mid-week or during the school term. Obviously Valentine’s Day weekend and spring break are bad times to be planning a cheap holiday.
Image Source: Bankrate
So, forget about searching for hotels around dates—use last-minute hotel booking sites that will tell you when the cheapest time to stay is! There are plenty of sites with this facility including HotelsCombined who have a “don’t have dates yet” option. Hotwire is another good site for finding the best last-minute hotel deals with flexible dates.
This is one of the few times that going directly to a hotel website may be helpful in terms of getting a last-minute hotel bargain. Big hotels chains such as Hilton, Marriott, and Intercontinental give you the option of seeing the rates for weeks, if not months ahead.
Thrill seekers can add an extra element of excitement to their vacation by bidding on hotel rooms to try to get the best last-minute hotel deals. There are an increasing number of last-minute discount hotels that let you bid on last-minute hotel bargains through sites including:
It is a risky way of booking your hotel, but it can work if you can play the game well. The way that most of the sites work means that you may not see as much detail about the last-minute hotel rooms that you are trying to book.
This means, for example, that you could bid on a “double” hotel room, but when you get there, it has two single beds instead of a double. If you really need a feature such as Wi-Fi or a pool, it may be hard to pin down these types of last-minute hotel reservations on a bidding site.
If bidding on last-minute hotel rooms sounds like a tactic that might suit you, there are a few techniques you can use to get the best last-minute hotel deals. If you do not know where to start, first, look at what actual deals are in the area. Then, look at recent bidding results on sites such as BetterBidding. Finally, start your bidding low, for example, at 20% below the average best deal you can see online. This may just be a great way for you to find cheap last-minute hotel deals!
9. Be Logical
At AdvisoryHQ, we really do want you to get the best last-minute hotel deals. But just a word of warning—there is a time and a place for this! If you are planning a very important business trip, a honeymoon, or a long stay in a remote part of the world, we recommend that you plan ahead.
Image Source: Livemans
10. Read the Small Print
Have you ever booked a cheap flight but ended up paying through the nose because of baggage charges or service fees you didn’t know about? Us too.
It pays to read the small print. Hotels are getting in on the act of charging for tangential services.
When you are booking last-minute hotel rooms, you can get distracted by that un-missable cheap last-minute hotel deals price that is flashing on your screen. Remember the golden rule: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Before you make that last-minute hotel booking, read the small print to make sure your expectations will be matched. Take note of the room size you want and the taxes that may be written below the big low number!
Other hidden charges that you might not see when you book last-minute cheap hotels include:
- Resort fees
- Early check-in fees
- Extra person fees
- Wi-Fi fees
- Parking fees
Just because you are looking for last-minute hotel rooms does not mean you can’t be a savvy traveler, just do not tick that Terms and Conditions box without reviewing all the details first!
Enjoy Your Vacation!
So now you know all the best tricks to getting the best last-minute hotel deals.
Image Source: TravelPlusStyle
Once you have done your research and decided which approach is the best for you, whether it is discount deals, comparison sites, or even bidding on your hotel room, you are on your way to a great vacation.
You have worked hard to get those last-minute hotel bargains! Make sure to send us a postcard!
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