You would think that booking your hotel in advance would be your best bet to save money. That’s not always the case! I often find that once I book my hotel room with Hilton, the price will continue to drop as it gets closer to my travel dates if there are open rooms available.
Is Hilton going to lower your rate if they drop the price? Of course not 😉 Your rate will stay the same, but nobody is stopping you from canceling the first reservation and re-booking another room at the cheaper rate (unless you pre-paid and booked the non-cancelation rate.)
I’ll show you a couple tricks of mine when it comes to booking Hilton rooms directly on Hilton.com. The below information may work for other hotel chains, but I mainly book with Hilton because I have Diamond status with them.
Have you see the hotel commercials that promise cheap rooms at the last minute? Yup, it’s the same concept. Hotels have empty rooms and they’ll provide steep discounts all the way up until the day you need to travel.
Should you take a chance and not book your hotel room in hopes of scoring a cheap rate at the last minute? I don’t think so. You should at least get your room booked if you know you want to stay at a specific hotel, and then continue to check for cheaper rates. Hilton will allow you to cancel 24 hours (local hotel time) before arrival.
Richard’s ultimate guide to booking Hilton hotel rooms
Step 1: Start looking on Hilton.com for hotel rates. If you know what property you want to stay at, get your reservation in the system. As long as you’re not booking the “Advance Purchase” rate, which is non-refundable, you’ll only need a credit card to confirm your reservation. You won’t be charged until you check-out.
Step 2: Not all hotels will show the “Advance Purchase” rate. How do you know if you should choose this rate and just pay now? It’s a complete gamble 🙂 Here’s my theory. If you’re 2 – 8 weeks away from your hotel stay and the prices are similar to what’s shown above, I would just go ahead and choose the €148 rate. This is exactly what I did for my Rome, Italy stay when I started looking at hotel rate changes about 45 days before arrival.
Step 3: If your hotel choice doesn’t show a “Advance Purchase” rate, then you have nothing to worry about! Get your hotel booked now by selecting the “Easy Cancellation” option. At least thing way you’ll have your reservation in the system and you don’t have to worry about anyone taking your room. Again, you don’t have to pay anything up front and Hilton will only require a credit card to make the reservation.
Step 4: After you make your reservation, continue to look daily, as it gets closer to your arrival date! I start to look about 60 days out. I’m traveling to Milan, Italy later this month and my hotel rate dropped €59 per night! I immediately logged into my account to cancel the first reservation and re-book at the cheaper rate!
How much can you save?
It really depends on the room type you’re looking for and if the hotel is popular. I used this trick last July when I stayed in London and I was looking to book a suite at the Doubletree Tower of London. I must of canceled my original booking 3 – 5 times! The price kept falling. Since it was a suite and I stayed 3 nights, I ended up saving over $400!
One of the hotels I wanted to stay at this month was the Hilton Stucky in Venice, Italy. This hotel was actually booked up MONTHS in advance! I was completely disappointed. This was a good lesson for me to learn that popular properties do get booked fast. Had I been fortunate enough to snag a room, my above guide would not have worked since all the rooms are completely booked for my travel dates.
Do you have any hotel tips to share with other Travel Hack Guy readers? Please share below in the comments!