Ryan LeVeque (BUS ’12), revenue optimization manager for White Lodging and alumnus of the hospitality leadership program in the Driehaus College of Business, shares his insider tips and tricks for booking the perfect hotel at the perfect price. Read more about trends in the hospitality industry in the winter issue of DePaul Magazine.
Use aggregate websites to identify which hotel best meets your needs, but book directly with the hotel.
Websites such as TripAdvisor and Kayak are great for comparing amenities and finding the hotel that best suits your needs. But when it comes to actually making a reservation, booking direct will almost always be your best bet. When you make a reservation through an aggregate site, their commission is added to your final rate. Cut out the middleman to avoid additional fees.
Book in advance.
If you can make a reservation 30 or more days in advance, when demand hasn’t yet peaked, you’ll be in a good position to get a great rate.
Price should be a factor, not the factor.
Getting a deal is always a great feeling—until you arrive at your destination and find out why it was such a steal. Paying just a little bit more often affords you a few extra comforts and luxuries that can make a big difference. It’s worth it to ensure you don’t dread returning to your hotel after a long day.
If possible, travel in the off-season, or check in or out of your hotel on Thursdays or Sundays when demand for rooms is lower.
If you can book during the times when hotels tend to be slower, you’ll almost certainly get a deal.
Book your stay for longer than needed.
It’s not guaranteed, but if you book directly with the hotel, often the longer you stay, the better daily rate you’ll receive. If you aren’t required to pay in advance, many hotels will allow you to cancel the last day or two without penalty. Don’t expect to be able to cancel more than two days, and be sure to find out if there is a fee for early cancellations before you book.
Sign up for the rewards program.
Having brand loyalty pays off. Most rewards programs are free, quick and easy to join. Rewards members often receive special rates, and as you gain points, you get more perks.