In August, 2004, Consumer Reports magazine reported that their shoppers got the best hotel rates by calling the hotels directly, even when compared to the online services that promise discounts, or to the hotels' own websites.
Use these tips to get the best hotel rate by calling on the telephone:
Call the front desk directly instead of calling the general reservation line. Individual hotel managers may have more flexibility to bargain than a reservationist does. Some people say Sunday is the best day to call.
Use these phrases, questions and tips to facilitate your discussion:
- Be polite but persistent.
- Ask: "Is that the best you can do?"
- Ask: "Do you have any specials that I should know about?"
- Say: "That's more than I can spend."
- Say: "If you can't lower the price, can you give me an upgrade?" "How about a parking discount?"
- In January, 2011 Consumer Reports Money Advisor suggests using the magic words: "cheapest, non-refundable rate."
- Mention better deals you've found elsewhere, especially if they're from a similar property.
Too frequently, we read about misunderstandings and miscommunication. Here's how to keep that from happening to you. At the end of your conversation, confirm all the details: rate, extras, and so on. Write down your confirmation number and the name of the person you spoke to. Ask them to confirm by email if you can, and take a copy of it with you to use at check-in. If you have negotiated a particularly good deal, it may be a good idea to call again a few days before your trip to confirm everything one more time.
More: How we choose hotels | Easy ways to get a good rate | Get the lowest rate possible online | Beware hotel hidden charges