How to Negotiate Your Hotel Room Rate

There are millions of people who are traveling in the United States on any given day, and of those people, nearly 4 million people stay in hotel rooms nationwide. If you travel frequently, or you want to travel more frequently than you do, you need to find the best hotel rate possible for your travels. Looking at discounted booking sites is not the only way to find discounted travel. There are some old tried-and-true ways to get your travel discounted—which means that you can travel more for less money. Not sure, where to start looking for discounted room tips? Here are some suggestions.

The Art of Negotiating Directly With the Hotel

There are times when no matter how great a person you are, you are not going to get a discount on a hotel room. That is because of the old economic law of supply and demand. For example, if you were in Atlanta during Super Bowl Weekend last year, the chances of you getting a discounted room were slim to none. However, had you been in the city the next weekend, you could have easily gotten a discount. When rooms are in high demand, discounts are rare. When rooms are not in demand and business is slow, hotel managers are much more likely to grant a request for a discounted room.

Not only does the day matter, and the amount of traffic in the area matter, but the time of day matters as well. When business is slow, and it is getting later in the evening, hotels want to fill their rooms. Negotiating with hotel staff at that time is much easier.

Negotiate in Person, Or Over the Phone as a Last Resort

hotel front desk

Also, try to negotiate in person. If you arrive at the hotel, and the front desk is not busy, approach the clerk to ask about a reservation. If you find that the room price quoted is not what you want to pay, tell the clerk. Ask if there is a lower rate, or offer your own rate you think is acceptable. If you are polite and you make the request out of earshot of other guests, it may be possible that you will get the rate you asked for.

If you have to phone in, do not call the 800 national numbers. Corporate does not want to discuss discounted rates with you. Instead, call the hotel directly. You will have better luck getting a discounted rate.

Early Reservation May Equal Discounted Reservation

While there are sometimes last-minute discounts, and hotel aggregate websites thrive on those, it is always best to get a jump-start at a discounted rate. The reason? Hotels are better able to offer discounted rates when the date of your stay is weeks or months away. As your travel date nears, your chances of getting a discounted rate decreases because the demand for the room will be increasing as well. This is especially important when you are planning to travel to high travel destinations, such as Florida or New York City.

Double Check Before You Hang Up or Leave the Desk

hotel check-in

Before you conclude your negotiations, be sure that you and the person you are speaking with agree on the rate that you are going to pay. Get a reservation number, just in case the hotel tries to renege on a rate they quoted you. The name of the person would be helpful as well. Also, be sure that if you want to make a special request, you make sure that you get the room rate confirmed first, then ask for a special request—such as a room with a view. If you get your room priced that way, you can avoid getting an additional rate tacked on.

If You Qualify for a Discounted Rate, Ask for It

There are many rates you may qualify for, if you just think about it. First, be sure and ask if the hotel offers super saver rates, which might include discounts are specials. In general, hotels will offer a discount off the regular rate if the customer backtracks on the quoted rate. The rate, usually called the fallback rate or bottom-out rate.

Also, if you qualify, ask for an AAA rate (AAA is a travel club), an AARP travel rate (if you are over 50), a senior citizen rate, or a hotel membership rate. This may save you between 10 and 20 percent on your bill.

You can also request a government rate or a corporate rate—but only if you qualify. The government rate and corporate rates is the real savings within the hotel industry. Both corporate rates and government rates can ensure that you get as much as 50% off your hotel rate. If you do try for this rate, be sure and tell the hotel which company or government agency you work for. If you happen to work for a company that has a headquarters or an office close to the hotel, you may really clean up on the savings, because the hotel will want future business from you and your fellow company workers.

When In Doubt, Try a Couple of These

Many of us own stock in index funds on the stock market. If your stock portfolio includes hotel stocks, you may be eligible for a discount from the company. You will need to ask the hotel chain directly to see if they give an additional discount to those guests who own stock in the company.

If you have a member of your family who is employed within the travel industry, you may be eligible to get a discount because of their employment. This is especially true with mid-size hotels, where other employees are more likely to have known each other or have met at industry gatherings. Not only is this discount available at hotels, but you could also try it at rental car agencies or even airlines.

You may also want to ask about an extended stay discount. If you are staying from five to seven days, you may qualify for an extended stay discount at many hotels. Be sure and ask for a discounted rate if you are staying at a hotel for longer than five days.

If you are experiencing a hardship, you may be able to get a “Good Samaritan” discount. Often, hotels offer a discounted rate for people who are fleeing a hurricane, a fire, or other natural disasters. If this is your situation, be sure and ask about a discounted rate.

Last Resorts

hotel room keys

If you really want to save some major money, there are a couple of other things you can try when booking a room. First, tell the reservationist you are willing to sleep in a suite connector in exchange for a discounted rate. Large hotels have multi-room suites they often cannot sell, instead of selling a portion of it. You can request to book a suite connector at a hugely discounted rate, especially if your portion is the living room area with a rollaway bed.

You could also tell the reservation operator you would accept an out of order room. There are many times when a room cannot be used because the television is broken, or because there is a problem with the balcony door. In cases where minor damage needs repair, the room is taken out of commission. There are other times when rooms cannot be rented to the public. People do not show up for their reservation, or they depart early. A guest may have an emergency cancellation, or a last-minute change of plans. Hotels love to sell these rooms, because in some cases, they can make money times two.

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Richard Holmes was born in Tampa, Florida and studied computer science at Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola Florida. A devout Baptist, volunteer Sunday School teacher and online gaming fan, Richard works as a part-time systems administrator at Baptist Hospital and part-time professional blogger specializing in statistics, probability and computer science issues. He is an ardent believer in the future of artificial intelligence as a tool for transforming human society for the better, particularly in the area of health care and modern medicine. A chess player, and competitive online gamer Richard actively participates on online gaming tournaments in his free time.