We’ll run a tab, please…

What would you do with an extra hundred dollars a day to spend on your travels? We’re willing to bet you’d find something great. The truth is – most people overpay for something during their vacation, and it’s often because of the simplest of errors. There’s one crucial step to getting the best price on your hotels and on a recent booking, it accounted for more than $100 a night.

All The Same Price?

Did you know that Expedia owns Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Trivago, CheapTickets and eBookers? If you feel like you always see the same prices for hotels, wherever you search- that’d be a great first step in explaining. And since TripAdvisor generally displays these booking sites first- it’s again logical to assume that the price you see is the price you’ll pay. But it’s not.

Not Just Direct

Where you book is more crucial with hotels than airlines. Hotels only generally award points and benefits when you book direct, and they now offer preferred rates for doing so too. Marriott, SPG, Hilton and Hyatt each offer 5% better rates for booking direct, if you’re a (free) member of their program. Booking direct is usually a great answer, but for savings, you must often look further.

Examine Rates

For the exact same room, it’s not impossible to pay plus or minus $200 per night. There are more expensive flexible rates, which allow free cancellation, member only rates, interest group rates, seasonal discount rates. Long story short: you need to look at booking direct, and you need to examine every rate on offer. See also: how to really get hotel upgrades.

Here’s A Perfect Example

In a recent search for Oslo hotels, every TripAdvisor booking link, including Expedia and all it’s competitors were offering rooms at our first choice hotel for $425 per night- for the most basic room. Before accepting that fate, we went to the hotel’s website. The first rate that popped up was the same price. Defeated. But after scrolling through a variety of packages, further down the rates page was a 25% off winter promotion with breakfast included. $305 per night, and for an upgraded room category. Check out the major hotel chains best current sales here.

$120 Per Night Savings

The results will not always be compelling, but with boutique hotels or off peak reservations they really can be. And even if it’s just $10 bucks, why not save? Similar to the way some airlines do not appear on search sites, some hotels do not offer up their best rates to online travel agencies, keeping them only for direct bookers which save them money. Needless to say- that $120 per night will go a long way.

Featured image courtesy of the Renaissance St. Pancras London.