I am sure we all like a good deal and saving money especially when I personally get to do what I love the most, travel. As I am planning a weekend away in London every few days I will check hotels and see if there are any good deals. About a month ago I got a good price on the Andaz in London but closer to the day and as I have a ton of holidays planned this year I decided to try and create a tighter budget. Now, I give myself some crazy low price figure which I try to achieve, it is like having a competition with the industry and trying to get the best price possible. Sometimes I win sometimes the industry wins. This weekend’s crazy budget I had was £150 for a 5* weekend in London with a first-class train. I was not sure how I would do this but today out of the blue I managed to do it.
I discovered a few tricks over the years and I will show you the 4 steps I take every time which has saved me money.
My first step is to always check the chains that I am a member of currently this will be Hyatt, Hilton, IHG, and Club Carlson. London is extremely expensive and usually, I will try to use points instead of cash for expensive cities. London requires many points and I didn’t want to give up so many of them as I have stayed coming up in New York soon which is equally expensive and I can use them there. The Andaz I had booked was £140 a night which is a reasonable price and if it had a lounge I would have probably kept it.
This is where it becomes interesting. I always go to TripAdvisor first and input my dates. TripAdvisor is an aggregator and it will show you the prices from various websites. I will narrow down my search as in London there are 1000+ hotels. I will narrow by hotel and usually price, for example, 5-star hotel for less than £100. Then I will see the prices that it shows from the various websites. Last year I managed to get a deal on the Hilton hotel in Malta for £200 for three nights instead of the £550 that was requested by Hilton. Plus as Hilton honors statuses, even if booked via a third party I received an upgrade and lounge access. This was a total saving of at least £350.
I will check the best price suggested by TripAdvisor. Many times they only show 3 or 6 OTAs and the rest are hidden, I ALWAYS open the box as there are times I have seen 70% reduction in the prices that were not shown. This was the case with my Hilton Malta hotel. The OTA I booked it with was showing the price on TripAdvisor it was just covered in the 9 more options; the small print on the webpage.
I will check the cashback websites and see which one offers the biggest savings. There are times you can save up to 15% of your hotel booking just by going via a cashback route. On top of any other savings, you might receive. I always check Lowcostholidays.com, Travelpony.com and Orbitz as I have seen great offers and deals there. I love these less-known OTA as they do provide genuine savings rather than your typical Booking.com which I barely use. You can always use Wikipedia if you want to find other OTAs too that might work for you.
The hotel I booked in London today was using the method explained in the steps above. I managed to book it for £73 with breakfast in Marble Arch with 4 out of 5 TripAdvisor reviews, instead of the asking price on Booking.com for £200 with breakfast. This for me was a real saving! Yes, it took me about 20 minutes to complete the whole process and check all sites but it does work. I am pretty happy with the deal and the real cash I saved!