When Manchester United is playing, Manchester hotels won’t be cheap.

Saving on hotels is not just about which website you book with and who’s offering the best deal. There’s a far greater science to it all. Just like any other travel purchase, hotels are all about supply and demand. If you want to really and truly score the best deals, you’ll have to put just a little bit of extra thought in your planning. Here are a few clever tricks to think about.

Empty Weekend Cities

Some cities are regarded as “business” cities. Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Boston, Palo Alto, these are the kind of places where good hotel prices virtually never exist during weekdays. The demand is too great. But on weekends, the cities are virtually empty. If you’re planning to visit a business centric city, aim to stay over the weekend, when rates can be 40% lower. If you must visit during the weekdays, perhaps look outside of central business districts.

Discount Clubs

AARP, AAA, RAC, Founders Card. The list of interest groups and membership societies is endless – and so are the potential discounts. Travelers constantly forget to use these free, cheap or easy programs to save up to 20% on hotels. These special rates can often be stacked with other offers to represent maximum savings.

Night By Night

Many of the best hotels can be sold out for one night during your ideal stay. When this happens, they don’t show up in search results, or the price is inflated. Consider looking night by night to see which hotels offer the best deals on a night by night basis. Sometimes trying two different hotels in a single city can be fun. You’ll also find better rates.

Market Research

Planning is such an essential part of travel. If you’re planning to visit lets say… Paris in the spring and have some flexibility, find out what’s going on and when. If the week you planned to visit happens to coincide with Fashion Week, a Paris St. Germain football game or an economic summit of world leaders – you’ll get gouged on price. The week after however, all good!

Boutique Offers

Boutique hotels just don’t have the sales channels of the major chains. But that can work in your favor. To win over guests, boutique hotels often reserve the very best rates only for those who book directly with their website. You can often save over $100 per night versus other public rates using this trick. Sometimes a free night or complimentary bottle of wine will be offered as well!

Max Cash Back

Even if there are no “deals” to be found, you can still save quite a lot of money in the form of cash back on your booking. When you’re spending a lot on a long trip, it can be $100’s back in hand, just for booking the right way. Hotels.com offers a free night for every 10 you book. eBates offers 10% actual cash back on many hotel bookings.

Do you think about all these things before booking a hotel?

Featured image courtesy of Kimpton Hotels.