7 hotel booking tips: from when to find the best deal, to saving cash through your smartphone

1 Hotel in New York
With so much choice, booking a hotel room can throw up as many problems as it solves, not least the uncertainty around knowing if you’re getting the best deal.

Many agents claim booking in advance is the secret to the best deals, however, others like Lastminute.com, contradict this – with cheap late deals all year round, as chains rush to fill rooms last minute.

In reality, it all depends on when, where, and why you are going to stay in a hotel, claim experts at LateRooms.com.

We asked the travel specialists for some top tips on how and when to book for the best hotel room prices, here’s what they found.

For more hacks, see our cheap holidays page, or our 10 money-saving travel tips, for how to save on flights, sightseeing and hotels.

For those looking for a cheap overnight stay, Travelodge has just kicked off its £35 or less airport sale, with a number of reduced rooms at 26 airports nationwide.

1. The early bird catches the worm

Going to a concert, festival, conference, or any other popular event? Book in advance. It’s basic economics – the higher the demand the higher the price.

So, if you’re headed somewhere everyone else is headed too, it’s better to get in there early if you want the best deal. You’ll also avoid the dreaded ‘No Availability’ notice from your favourite hotel.

2. It’s better late than never

If you are looking to steal a couple of nights away in your favourite city, go at a time when there isn’t a big event or occasion taking place.

This way you can monitor availability and prices in the weeks leading up to your stay and bag yourself the best deal.

The really brave jetsetters will leave it until the day before they travel (or even the day itself!) to find the best rate.

3. Get on your smartphone

Be tech-savvy about booking.

LateRooms.com has ‘app only’ deals and users can get between 10 and 40% off last minute getaways.

Tripadvisor also has a handy ‘bargain hotels finder’ with 25 of the best priced rooms in your chosen destination. See our Tripadvsior how-to guide for more.

4. Get on the bus

Happy travellers should always consider hotels in neighbouring towns and cities to their chosen location if a big event means that rooms are scarce (or scarily pricey).

5. City breaks are cheaper in summer

Bear in mind the season which you’re looking to go away. City breaks tend to be cheaper in the summer, as there are usually fewer events, fewer business travellers, and a mass exodus to the coast.

It’s worth pointing out that if you try and book a hotel for a June skiing break though, you’ll probably be left disappointed.

6. Secret hotels are the way forward

A lot of four and five star hotels like to remain anonymous when offering discounts and run ‘secret’ deals for their mystery hotel rooms, meaning you can get a great rate but you won’t know where you’re going to stay until night before you arrive.

Lastminute.com is famous for this, with their ‘Top Secret Hotels’ booking system.

LateRooms.com also has a secret system, type in ‘Secret hotel’ into their site and it’ll bring up a number of hotels in your destination.

7. Travel solo

Take advantage of travelling solo – a lot of hotels assume it’ll be two of you staying in a room, but some offer great rates for singletons.

Shop around for the ones that do and you, and only you, will thank yourself for it.

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