This is a guest post:
How to negotiate a better hotel rate
For most of us, haggling doesn’t come into everyday life. When you’re at the supermarket checkout, you pay the amount as requested by the cashier. When you get the cheque after dining at a restaurant, you pay the amount on the cheque. You don’t try to haggle the waiter down on price.
If you’re buying a car, or even a house, you may choose to haggle to get the best price, but these are not things you do every day. Which means most people are out of practice when it comes to the art of haggling. Either that, or they just don’t feel comfortable doing it.
However, when it comes to booking a hotel room, haggling can be a great way of getting a better price. There are many rooms left vacant every night in hotels, costing hotel owners an untold amount in lost profits.
By approaching a hotel with empty rooms, and asking if they could possibly give you a discount, it could be quite likely that you get your wish. In an industry that wants “heads on beds”, a hotel is more likely to want your business at a reduced cost, than not get your business at all.
Negotiating for better hotel rates
The easiest way to negotiate better hotel rates is to contact the hotel itself. Phone the hotel and ask to speak to the manager or someone in guest relations (general reception staff usually won’t have the authority to give discounts).
It’s usually a good idea to phone during the week, as weekend staff may not have the power to offer discounts. Try to use the person’s name in conversation, but not too often, or you may sound creepy.
Before you make the call, you need to do some preparation. It’s important to compare the market before you start to negotiate, so you know the rates being charged by similar hotels in the area. Having more information at your fingertips will always make negotiating easier.
It can help to be flexible with dates, as the hotel may be able to give you a discount one week and not the next. Bear in mind that peak season is usually busier, so you may not have as much leverage to negotiate. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
You may find that you will have more leverage for negotiation if you are a regular guest at the hotel, or if you are booking a number of rooms at once. This could happen if you are travelling with friends or family, if you are organising a business trip, or if you are organising an event like a wedding.
When speaking to the hotel, use your research to complement them on a particular facility they offer, such as a great pool or restaurant. Explain that you are on a limited budget, and want to know if there are any discounts or packages that would apply to you.
They may be able to offer you a deal, or they may not – but there’s no harm in asking.
If you’re not comfortable haggling over the phone, there are various haggling websites that allow you to negotiate via the anonymity of a computer screen. Whatever the medium, try your powers of negotiation next time you book a hotel room, and see how much you could save.
Jesse Hughes is a part time blogger & travel enthusiast. He has written for blogs worldwide on various topics, but prefers to cover all things travel related.