TOP TIPS FOR BOOKING A HOTEL:
1. Contact a Travel Agent to get Options and Prices. People who book a hotel through AAA can save between 5-20%. Travel agents know the ins and outs of the travel industry and have personal relationships with hoteliers, attractions, and more to help get the best deals possible, with the most value.
2. Watch for changing rates before check-in. Frequently monitor the price of your room even after booking. If the rate drops before you check-in, and you claim it, many hotels will honor the lower price.
3. Engage with hotels on social networks. Before booking a hotel, ‘like' them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Many times, deals will be announced on social sites that you can take advantage of prior to booking. Also, comment on their social sites about your interest to stay at the property and you may receive an individual discount offer or free upgrade as an incentive to get you to book.
4. Join Rewards Programs. A vast majority of hotels, especially hotel chains, have free rewards programs. You can accumulate points by booking hotel rooms or shopping with a hotel's partner companies. Once you accrue points, you can earn a free hotel stay.
5. Request an upgrade upon check-in. It doesn't hurt to ask, especially if you're a member of the hotel's reward program. Sometimes hotels have had a hard time filling vacancies in high-end rooms, so they may offer it to you at either a discounted rate or no additional charge.
6. Book hotels that offer more than just a room. Look for hotels with extra perks to save you money.
A shuttle to and from the local attraction, so you don't have to spend money on gas, taxi, or parking Free hotel parking, which can cost upwards of $10 a nightEnjoy a free breakfast to eliminate paying for a meal that can easily reach $100 for a family of four or bigger Get a room with a kitchenette to cook if you want to stay in and save on dinner Hotels owned by theme parks may be more expensive up-front, but often offer incentives like free park admission or fast passes worth more than a hundred dollars 7. Bundle It. You can save money when you go on vacation by bundling travel essentials. Through websites or travel agencies like AAA, you can acquire cheap airfare, a hotel reservation, and a rental car in a package, saving hundreds of dollars.
"It's very important to do your research especially when visiting ‘flash sale sites' offering big discounts," said Butler. "Most deeply discounted hotel rates will carry heavy cancellation fees or non-refundable deposits. Booking with reputable travel companies like AAA can offer great savings and peace-of-mind that you are covered when life happens."