HOW TO NEGOTIATE
Want a great deal at a hotel or motel?
It's yours for the asking
"You can get as much as 60% off at a hotel, motel or
for the asking," says Rick Doble, editor of SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com
Newsletter. The trick is to talk with the local desk instead
of the central reservation office for a hotel chain. This is
because the people at the local desk will know how busy their
hotel is. Also they usually have more authority to negotiate
with you. Here are the steps involved.
TravelNow and The Rough Guide to Travel
- Do not call the central 800 telephone number for a
reservation. Call them instead to get the local number of the
hotel where you will be staying. This is the quickest and
cheapest way to find that phone number.
- Call your Hotel in Washington for instance and talk with someone who has the
authority to negotiate. These days many desk clerks may have
that authority, but at other hotels you might need to speak
with the manager.
- If you belong to the hotel's "club," make sure they
know this from the beginning. Wielding the hotel's club card
will give you a lot more clout.
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- Ask for the lowest rate available. This could be a
seasonal discount, weekend special, or weekday promotion.
Sometimes just asking for the "lowest, rock bottom rate" will
get you a good discount. There might be a package deal, such as two
breakfast. Members of certain organizations such as AARP or
often get reduced rates. Your business card may qualify
you for the corporate rate instead of the "rack rate" (the
list price in the hotel business). Even doing business with a
local company or knowing a student at a nearby university
could help. Don't give up, keep trying. Last year, a
SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com reader got a
special "shopping rate" (she wasn't shopping) which included
breakfast. She saved $15 per night -- just because she asked. A
surprising number of people will pay the first price
quoted. However, you shouldn't even accept the second rate
offered. Say something like, "Is that the best you can do?"
Keep insisting that there must still be a better deal.
- Special discounts: Senior citizens (which can mean
over 50) often get a better rate. When traveling with your
children, you may be able to get an adjoining room at half
price. If you plan to stay a week or so, you can usually
bargain. People in the military may qualify for a special
deal. There are usually government rates for government
employees. Also the hotel might have an advertised promotion.
If they do, cut out the ad and place it in front of you when you call.
Take it with you when you check in.
- If they won't offer you a lower price after giving
the first discount, ask for extras such as breakfast. If a
continental breakfast is included, then ask for a full
- Make sure that you know what your rate includes. Is
there a charge for local calls, or charge card calls, or
"toll-free" calls? Is parking extra? Are there any other
mandatory service charges? How much is the tax? (Cities love
to add an extra 5% to 10% tax on hotel bills.)
- After you've completed your negotiations, get a
confirmation number and the name of the person you've been
dealing with. It also helps to write down the date and time
- When you arrive at the hotel, you should always start
a 2nd round of negotiations. In addition to the extras listed
above (#6), you might ask for a room with a better view, an
upgrade to a larger room, or a late check-out.
- Make sure you get any bonuses, such as frequent flyer
- When trying to book at a timeshare resort, go onto a resale/rental
site like SellMyTimeshareNow
first. You can get up to 60% off the resort asking price by renting from
an owner, and you can usually negotiate the price to get an even lower
price. You'll be able to receive most of the same amenities as the owner
of the timeshare, and you'll be staying in a large apartment-like suite
instead of a small room. It's a great idea for families or single
travelers who just want more space.