3. HOTELS AT LAST MINUTE
For the brave, it is always worth calling the hotel that you want to stay at on the day that you
intend to arrive, or possibly the day before. Hotels will often be prepared to offer substantial
discounts on the day, as from their point of view an empty room is a complete waste of money. If
you are feeling particularly bold it is even worth telling the hotel what you are prepared to pay
and asking them if they have any rooms available.
This is a particularly effective way of going about getting a really good deal if you are traveling
to a city that has several hotels, it is out of peak season and you are flexible in terms of facilities.
If you are not feeling quite so bold in terms of leaving it until the last minute, you can phone the
hotel a few days in advance. Whilst you may not get the total bargains, you are still in a good
position to negotiate, particularly if you are traveling out of season. If you are targeting a specific
hotel, check out their cancellation policy. For example, if a specific hotel requires at least 3 days
notice to not charge for a cancellation, then this is the point where they are most likely to receive
the most cancellations. Hotels will then be eager to fill these spaces.
Another good way to utilize the cancellation policies of hotels is to book a relatively cheap chain
hotel that allows you to cancel free up until the day of travel. Then, on the day you can phone
around other hotels to see if you can get a better deal. If you do then you can cancel your
previous booking without penalty; if you do not then you will still have a roof over your head!
Negotiations over extra free nights or discounts will generally only work with smaller regional
hotels, as the larger chains have a central system and they will not normally negotiate directly
with a guest. Bear this in mind when you are selecting your targets!