Choosing the right hotel is one of the most important parts of travelling. There are various ways you can get cheap hotel deals. This applies whether you’re on a budget and looking for something more basic, or alternatively planning the trip of a lifetime and looking for something more luxurious.

Sofitel Krabi Thailand Travel

So, how to get cheap hotel deals? Firstly, it’s worth considering what sort of stay you want, and how important the hotel you choose is going to be. This might sound like a basic, but it’s an important way of establishing what sort of value you’re going to get from your hotel stay.

Things to Consider

  • Purpose of stay: Do you want a hotel that’s a destination in itself, or is it more of a base to sleep? For example, if you’re on a city break, how much time are you actually going to spend at the hotel?
  • Location: How important is the hotel location for you? Are you prepared to travel a couple of stops on the metro for the main sites, or do you want to be at the heart of the action?
  • Hotel brand: Do you tend to use one chain of hotels when you’re travelling. If so, how important is this for you when you’re considering potential options?

These questions are all about considering value. If you’re on a city break, and are mainly travelling to visit the sites and try out some restaurants, you’re probably not going to be spending that much time in the hotel. Alternatively though, you might be interested in additional features such as a pool or balcony.

If you’re planning to stay at a resort, the hotel you choose is obviously a very important consideration. You’re likely to be spending a good chunk of time at the hotel, and therefore poor facilities or a tired interior are going to be far more disadvantageous.

Later, we’ll discuss how choosing hotel brands can be an important way to get cheap hotel deals. In brief, they can be a way of minimising your hotel spend due to the various benefits and points you earn along the way.

#1 Using online booking sites v. booking direct

Let’s make this simple. 99% of the time I would recommend you do not use an online booking site to make a hotel reservation. This doesn’t mean, however, that booking sites don’t have their uses. Indeed, I frequently use sites such as and Agoda. I just never book with them.

This is because 9/10 it is cheaper to book with a hotel directly. Even if it isn’t, most of the major hotel chains have a ‘best price guarantee’. While these can sometimes be irritating to make use of, they usually mean the hotel will match the price of the booking site. Sometimes they’ll even throw in an additional discount on top.


I’m interested in booking a hotel in Malta for 7 nights. In this case, I’ll look at to see what the options are. I’ve found the hotel I want. I’ve also used some of the filters, for example ‘pool’, ‘all-inclusive’, ‘4 star’. I think I’ve found a hotel I’d be interested in. In this case, it’s the db San Antonio Hotel. On it’ll cost me €803 for a standard double for 2 people.

how to get cheap hotel deals

The first thing I now do is head over to Google. I’ll search for the hotel and go to their official website. I put in the same dates, and look for the same room type and payment conditions.

how to get cheap hotel deals

Booking direct, it’ll cost me €641. That’s a saving of €162. This is just one example picked at random. But I see it countless times.

Even in the case the hotel isn’t offering a cheaper price than the online booking site, it’s always worth contacting them directly. Hotels have to pay a commission to any external booking provider. As such, more often than not they’ll be happy to match the price if you book with them directly.

But there is another reason I don’t recommend booking sites. The first is if you have status with that hotel. Usually, booking with an online booking site means you will not obtain any status benefits during your stay. This means no perks such as an upgrade and no points.

The second is the chance for problems. Whether this be poor communication between the booking provider and the hotel, or the fact it’d anecdotally appear some hotels allocate their less good rooms to bookings made through an external provider.

Just as using an online travel agency for flight bookings can cause problems due to the inclusion of an unnecessary middleman, so too can using an online booking site for hotels.

#2 Choose a preferred hotel chain

This one is especially applicable if you’re staying at hotels a few times per year but it can be a great way of getting cheap hotel deals. Try to choose a particular hotel chain and then make the majority of your bookings with that chain. For example, you might look at places you frequently travel to, or are interested in travelling to and see what options exist. You might also consider what your budget typically is, and what sort of hotel you enjoy staying in.

In my case, I use Accor for 90% of all my hotel stays. This is primarily because they usually have options in the places I am travelling to. I also like them because they have a range of different hotel options, right through from budget to high-end. Depending on your location, or the places you frequently visit, you may find there is a similar hotel chain which will work for you.

By primarily using one hotel chain you’re accumulating points in one place. This means you’re always getting closer to getting free or reduced price stays. It also means you’re potentially on your way to earning status with that hotel chain which can mean benefits during your stay. For example, perhaps you sometimes pay more for an upgraded room, or to have hotel lounge access. If you earn status with a hotel chain you’ll often get these perks for free depending on your level.

#3 Don’t be afraid to book ahead and ‘lock-in’ your rate

Usually, hotels offer a cheaper rate if you’re prepared to pay in advance and make a non-flexible reservation. Obviously there are going to be times when you don’t want to do this or your plans aren’t fixed. You lose nothing, however, by making a fully flexible booking. By doing this, you lock in a price, and then you can regularly check to see if the price falls. Alternatively, if your plans become more fixed closer to your stay, you can cancel your flexible booking and make an advance prepaid booking if it’s cheaper.

This can also be useful if you’re making plans a few months in advance and by some chance the hotel launches a sale inbetween. Since you’re able to cancel your flexible booking, you can still take advantage of any discounts which might be offered before your stay.

#4 Explore credit card options

Many hotel chains offer credit cards. These allow you to earn hotel points on your everyday spending. It’s worth exploring if you’d be eligible for any of these. Alternatively, AMEX have partnerships with many hotel chains. This means you can convert your AMEX MR points into hotel points. This means you’ll be closer to having enough points to be able to redeem a free stay.

Many credit cards will also offer you bonus points for signing up – this can be a quick way of accumulating the points you need to make a free booking.

#5 Consider how many nights you’ll stay

Many hotels will offer you a cheaper rate if you’re staying for a longer period of time. This isn’t always the case, but sometimes it can unlock a decent discount. In particular, Aparthotels often offer cheaper rates if you’re planning a longer stay.

#6 Search for any discounts or vouchers before you book

When you’re booking a hotel, check for an ‘offers’ or ‘discounts page’ on their website. Here you’ll sometimes find special rates or packages which can reduce the cost of your stay, or result in some additional ‘goodies’ being thrown in. Alternatively, do a quick Google search and see if there are any discount codes going.

If you’re in the UK, cashback sites such as TopCashback often allow you to get a percentage of your total spend back. Just be aware you often have to wait a few months for the funds to hit your account.

#7 Make sure you sign up to the loyalty scheme (even if it’s a one time stay)

We’ve spoken about the importance of trying to choose your own ‘preferred’ hotel chain. Even if you don’t do this or don’t travel frequently enough for it to be beneficial, still make sure you sign up to any hotel loyalty scheme before making your booking. Often this will mean you’re able to benefit from ‘members rates’ or special discounts. Since it’s free to sign up, you might as well take advantage.

#8 Find the cheapest dates

This is where a price comparison tool like Google Hotels can come in handy when trying to find cheap hotel deals. Choose the hotel you’re interested in, and see when the cheapest rates can be found. If you’re flexible on dates, try and choose the cheapest ones that work for you and go to the hotel to book direct. Google has a handy calendar price tool for this:

If you’re interested in finding out how to book cheap business class flights, don’t forget to check out our guide.Β 

Also, don’t forget to keep up to date with our YouTube channelΒ and to subscribe for the latest travel reviews, tips and tricks.Β Β