Saturday, 16 February 2013

Booking hotels - How to get the cheapest rate

There are several methods for booking hotel rooms. Most of these are well-known, however some are lesser known but can save you lots of money.

The traditional methods are:
The less traditional methods and the ones that I have come to use more often than the traditional methods are:

Priceline's hotel booking website is split into three parts:
  1. the traditional hotel booking method where the names and prices of hotels are displayed;
  2. the "Express deals" section, which involves an unnamed hotel which is defined by certain amenities and the area of the city; and
  3. the Name Your Own Price section, in which you bid on an unnamed hotel by area of the city and star rating.
Name Your Own Price ("NYOP")

This is the way to save up to 60% off the hotel rate - all by taking a risk and not knowing the hotel name before booking.

The NYOP section is the one that I want to focus on because I think it is the most novel and best way of saving on a hotel room. If you don't mind which hotel you end up in (so long as it is within a certain star rating), this is a fantastic way of getting a great deal.

I have usually tried bidding far in advance because I am someone who likes to be organised months in advance. It is possible, in fact probable, that I would have been able to get even better deals had I been willing to try bidding closer to the time of stay. In any event, I have still managed to get some great deals by naming my own price.

Priceline claims that you can save up to 60% off the usual rate by using the NYOP method. On my first successful use of NYOP this rung true. I managed to get the Marriott Rive Gauche in Paris for a total of US$230 whereas all the traditional hotel booking websites had this hotel for $570 for the 2 night stay. Perhaps the best discount was also because this one was booked only one month before my stay.

So, do I have your attention now? I thought so.

It wasn't just a fluke either. I have managed to get the Moevenpick Ibn Battuta Gate in Dubai for US$145 per night as opposed to $180 per night. This wasn't as much of a saving as the Paris one but I did book it some 6 months in advance so that might have had something to do with it.

Another deal I was able to get, this time for my sister and her husband, was for the beautiful Hotel Westminster in the heart of Paris. We managed to secure this beautiful 4* hotel at a total price for our 7 night stay of $1674.96, as compared with the rate on the retail part of Priceline of $1962.00 so a saving of $220 for the entire stay. This was a saving of 15% so not as large as my last Paris win but still a great rate for such a beautiful and well located property and good considering this was some 6 months in advance.

I will do another post on how to get your best price on NYOP later.


Hotwire ( is a website which has two parts:
  1. the retail part - like traditional hotel booking sites which identifies hotels by name, area, star-rating and price; and
  2. the secret hot rate part - hotels are unnamed but identified by the area, amenities and price.
Secret Hot Rate

Hotwire advertises the secret hot rate as being able to give you 4-star rooms at 2-star prices up to
50% off.
I was lucky enough to get a 5* hotel in Milan, The Westin for 49% off the price on the retail part of Hotwire.
For a 2 night stay coming up at the beginning of April, which was booked 7 months in advance we paid $228.25 as opposed to $447.30. This for a premium hotel, which is highly recommended and for the price of staying in a much lesser quality hotel.
As with Priceline's NYOP, I will do another post on how to take advantage of the Secret Hot Rates later. 

How about you dear readers, have you ever managed to get a fantastic hotel deal? Tell me about it below.


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