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Save Money on Hotels by Calling the Property Directly?

Written by Nickel - 2 Comments

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Save Money on Hotels by Calling the Property Directly?

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.

Published on June 13th, 2012 - 2 Comments
Filed under: Travel

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. Amex Platinum Travel Services recently gave us excellent rates on premium hotels. Their rates were even lower than the hotel website rates. I asked why and they said they were extending corporate discounts to us. I didn’t argue.

    Comment by Anonymous — Jun 14th 2012 @ 9:47 am
  2. On a recent trip I stopped at a motel, possibly a motel 6, for the night. I found the motel a short time ago at a free wifi hotspot and the rate was fair. The desk clerk informed me that the rate I found was the special online rate and without the online reservation the true rate was x dollars.

    I walked out to my car, logged onto the motel’s free Wifi, and booked the room online with my laptop. Five minutes later I was completing the transaction back in the lobby at the lower online rate.

    Waste of time but it saved me about $5.

    Comment by Anonymous — Jun 18th 2012 @ 1:13 pm

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