Step By Step Guide to Getting Cheap Lodging Online

I have introduced you to the four common ways to book lodging online.  If you missed those introductions make sure you are familiar with them:

  1. The Travel Search Engine
  2. The Online Travel Agent
  3. The Opaque Travel Site
  4. Directly from the Airline

 

                                                  Picture Ericeira Hotel By Night by Fr Antunes

How To Book Cheap Hotels Online:

  1. I would go to www.sidestep.com to get a base rate.  This gives you a good frame of reference as to the general cost of hotels in your selected city.  Before the search you can also ask to search Expedia and Hotels.com in a different window.  Go ahead and do that so you can see what some online travel agents are offering (Orbitz prices will be included in the Sidestep search).  Also, click to search Hotwire in a different window so you will have a price from an opaque travel site.  At this point you should have 85% of your information. 
  2. Then you can scan around, compare prices, read reviews and decide on your preferred hotel.  Be sure to read a little bit about the star rating system before you put too much value in the star rating a hotel receives (gives itself). Or if you are willing to be flexible I would highly recommend you use an opaque travel site for your hotel stay.
  3. If you are flexible, are not concerned about the hotel brand, and earning points is not a priority, I suggest you check out Priceline and Hotwire.  Who has a better price – Priceline or Hotwire?  Read this post for a strategy to be sure you find the cheapest price between these two opaque websites
  4. If you book with an opaque website just for fun go to the hotel brand’s website and see how much they would charge for the same location.  Take a minute to pat your back for being so savvy.
  5. If you book with an opaque website you will want to call the hotel directly if you have any special requests (i.e. double beds, handicapped accessible …).
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