Okay, one more post about saving money on vacation travel… The other day I saw Lisa Gill from Condé Nast on the Today Show. She was on with Jean Chatzky and they were talking about how to get the best hotel rates.
One of Gill’s biggest tips was to call the hotel directly instead of relying solely on the internet. I’ve heard this tip time and again and I just don’t buy it.
Yes, there was a time (years ago) when I would occasionally get a better price by calling the individual hotel directly vs. using the toll free number of the chain’s central reservation service. But in recent years? No such luck.
For the most part, I get the exact same rate by calling directly vs. checking prices on the chain’s website (or using a travel aggregator such as Kayak).
One of the big problems it that when you call and ask to make a reservation, many hotels will pawn you off on the chain’s central booking office. And even if they don’t, the rates they quote are no better than what you can find online.
In fact, the last time I tried this, the clerk quoted me rates that were higher than those available online. Not only that, but he couldn’t find the better rates even after I told him about them. His advice? Book online.
By far, I get the best deals by either re-booking my reservation at the last minute (online), or by using a service like Hotwire to get steeply discounted rates.