Hotel room rates are not cast in stone, though in many cases may be pasted at the front desk of the facility or on the hotel’s website. It’s often possible to get the best deals simply by picking up the phone and negotiating your way into low rates and upgrades.
These opportunities are not advertised anywhere but left for existing or potential guests to request or demand.
Let’s look at a few steps that will guide you to negotiate for cheaper hotel room rate (but remember that you have to be nice, polite, and charming too).
Be strategic with timing
If you have control over the time you are visiting, target off-peak seasons for the hotel. If your trip coincides with the busy season, it’s unlikely that the hotel will negotiate its rates.
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The reason is simple. If they can get other guests to pay full price, they’re probably not going to give you any discounts.
Hotels are more willing to negotiate when business is slow. The front-desk staff should have some leeway to allow discounts, not for all guests but the one who asks.
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Consider booking through an agency but real ones
There is a caveat here. You must ensure the booking agency is a reputable and popular one. One of the ways to confirm this is to check the ratings and comments of their customers.
Booking rooms through an agency aids in getting cheaper room rates. When compared, booking agencies rates are relatively cheaper than the actual hotel’s booking rates. This is because most hotels often offer lower rates for booking agencies like hotels.ng, so as to list on their site in a bid to secure higher patronage.
Go for loyalty offers
There are many hotels in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, Rivers State among other cities that offer seasoned travellers loyalty and patronage incentives. Some of the Hotels are Protea hotels (Prokard Explorer), Intercontinental Hotels, Golfview Hotels, and Resorts (Reward Club), Renaissance Hotel (Marriot Reward) among others.
How it works
- In most cases, the loyalty program offers participants or members the opportunity to earn points for hotel stay. The points can be redeemed instantly and anytime on room booking, exotic foods at the restaurant, gym, pool, and renting of meeting rooms.
Drop competitors names
You can also try dropping the names of the hotel’s competitors. For example, you can say, “Hotel XYZ down the road has a free gym for guests to use and they only charge N30,000 per night. Would you be able to give me N20,000 per night?”
If possible, tweak the dates
If you have some flexibility, ask the hotel manager, if the time you called is the hotel’s busy time for the hotel. Ask if he will be able to lower the rates if you change the date. Hotel rates fluctuate a lot, so simply adjusting your travel dates could affect the rates dramatically.
Another trick you can use is to start out with a two-night stay and later say, “I can extend my stay to three nights if you could give me a better deal.”
Book flight and hotel together
Bundling your flight and hotel bookings together often saves a lot when planning your trip. Cumulatively, you get a better deal on both the flight cost and the hotel rate.
Many hotels now realize that most clients book flights or use transport services before they get to their destination, hence, they become proactive by agreeing to bundle plans offered by most travel agencies. It is, therefore, more prudent to make your next hotel bookings and flight arrangements on booking websites.
Subscribe to alerts or available deals
It may be difficult for you to track deals all the time but you can sign up for alerts through booking websites. They often send emails to subscribers to alert them of price cuts on room rates, and available deals. You should definitely find an online travel agency, and subscribe to their emails.
Introduce yourself when needed
While it is important to protect your identity for security reasons, it is also advisable you tell the manager if you are a travel/hotel blogger, celebrity, public personality, CEO or a social influencer of sorts. The hotels might offer you free or cheap rooms, or bump up your treatment to a 5-star level in exchange for you promoting their hotel brand.