March 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM ET
Looking to score a deal on a great hotel? These digital tips and tricks from Travel + Leisure will ensure you get the best price in the house.
Know the market
Timing is key. The Web-based price predictor feature on TheSuitest forecasts how room prices are expected to fluctuate for the next month — use it to find the right time to buy in any market. Then cross-check with DealAngel and Bing's Hotel Rate Indicator — both compare quoted rates with a hotel’s average cost, telling you which deals are really worthwhile.
Bank on price drops. You don’t have to do all the work yourself. Sign up for e-mail notifications from Yapta, and the booking site will alert you if room prices go down; if you make a reservation with Tingo, they will track your rate and refund you if a cheaper one pops up.
Suspense can pay off. You can save up to 60 percent with mystery-booking pioneer Hotwire and Travelocity’s Top Secret Deals. The trade-off: they don’t tell you where you’re staying until you’ve paid. For that, turn to Bidgoggles and HotelDealsRevealed, which can help you figure out what property might be behind the curtain. Better yet, Guestmob offers similar discounts if you let it choose one of four predetermined hotels for you (all in the same part of town).
Try your luck
It’s not as risky as you think. We love Priceline’s Name Your Price auction tool, which lets you propose a rate to properties you’re considering. Equally worthwhile is BackBid. Use it to submit the details of an existing, refundable reservation, and similar hotels will try to outdo one another on savings. You can also win big with Roomer: like StubHub for hotels, it’s a resale marketplace for nonrefundable bookings — sold here at rock-bottom prices.
Early birds don’t always get the worm. Same-day booking apps such as HotelTonight (free; iOS) and Booking.com Tonight (free; Android, iOS) yield up to 70 percent off regular rates, if you’re willing to wait until the last minute. Thanks to their popularity, there’s plenty of inventory to choose from daily. Pro tip: the deepest discounts surface on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and right after holidays.
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