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  • Go in the off season. If you have control over your travel dates, this is one of the best and most powerful ways to save. Off-season dates can vary from hotel to hotel, so you may want to call and ask – but they’re usually determined by weather and local attractions, and will be similar for an area. As Brooks mentioned in the news story above, the same room at the W that goes for $500 a night during a busy peak-season weekend can be had for as little as $150 in the off season.
  • Check promotions. This one might also require some flexibility in travel dates, but it never hurts to look before you book. Check a site like for coupons, and also keep an eye on discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, which often feature substantial savings – sometimes 50 percent – at hotels and restaurants. Subscribe to e-mails on the cities you’re interested in, and you’ll never miss a deal. Subscribe to the hotel’s mailing list too. Brooks says, “We run promotions multiple times throughout the course of the year. We have all kinds of information we send out.”
  • Book early. If your travel dates aren’t flexible, the best thing you can do is book as soon as you know. If it’s an annual trip, for example, there’s no reason you can’t reserve months in advance while occupancy – and prices – are lower.
  • Compare weekdays with weekends. Tourist-oriented hotels tend to charge more on the weekends because that’s when they get more customers. Hotels that target local businesses and events tend to charge more midweek for the same reason.
  • Comparison shop. This is helpful before you haggle: A bit of research can make competition work in your favor. Know what competitor rates are, and what amenities are included so you don’t get hit with fees for Internet, breakfast, and other services.
  • Join the club. If you’re a frequent traveler or typically stay in the same chain of hotels, sign up for rewards programs. “Preferred guest members receive automatic upgrades and special amenities,” Brooks says.
  • Look farther away. While it’s definitely nice to stay at a hotel that’s hosting the event you’re attending or is just a block away – you get to sleep in late under those extra comfy sheets – that convenience comes at a cost. Everybody’s going to book the closest spots first, so widen the radius of your search to find hotels a little more desperate for your business.
  • Go all-inclusive. Combined hotel and airfare rates are sometimes cheaper than booking each separately, so unless you’ve got a great price on one or the other already, check out travel sites like Orbitz and Travelocity for package deals.


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