If you’re in the midst of planning your summer vacation, here are some tips that’ll help you get the best deal on a hotel room – or just get a room PERIOD! These come from the researchers at the Bottom Line Personal.

  • You’ll get the best rate by calling the hotel’s local number – not the 1-800 number, which usually links you to an off-site centralized call center. So look up the hotel’s number in the city where you’re staying. And when you call, DON’T ask for the reservations desk. Instead, ask for the manager on duty or the director of sales. Those are the folks who have the authority to negotiate a better room rate.
  • Rooms are more expensive in the morning. The best time of day to make a reservation is right after 6PM. This is when the hotels wipe the “no show” reservations from their computers. Then they offer those rooms at bargain rates. And in bigger cities, like New York and Chicago, you can get these rooms earlier – at 4PM.
  • Everything is negotiable. Is parking overpriced? If the hotel’s parking lot looks half-empty, offer less than the daily rate. If you plan on making a lot of phone calls from your hotel room, ask for a daily flat-fee for either long-distance or local calls. Most hotels offer them – you just have to ask.
  • Rooms are available even if the hotel has no vacancies. Here’s the deal: In any large hotel, a few rooms are usually listed as “out of order” at any given time. But the reason might be something as simple as a stain on the carpet, or a chair that’s been sent out for repairs. If you’re desperate for a last minute room, tell the manager you’re willing to take an out-of-order room with a minor problem. And you’ll probably get a good price, to boot!