If you tried making reservations for your vacation this summer, you probably noticed that there were no hotel deals, no recession discounts on offer this year the way they were in 2009. No one is offering you a night free if you buy two anymore; if you are lucky, you get a few hesitant half-hearted offers and lots of conditions to go with them. But there still is a little recession good cheer around in the form of generally low prices. The travel industry still hasn’t recovered well enough to begin to raise prices yet – not even enough to keep up with inflation. To whatever modest discount you might be offered, you could add the inflation percentage you’ve been spared – if hotel prices had risen in step with the general inflation rates we have, they’d be a lot higher. If averages look more indicative to you, last year, the average hotel rate was $97, and that’s fallen about two dollars this year.
Luxury hotels have been laying off staff left and right, and they’ve been cutting down on the luxury; if anything, they’re looking to make a killing this year, to try to recover from effects of the bruising couple of recessionary years they’ve just come out of. So what kind of halfhearted hotel deals are we talking about now? Hilton for instance, has its Hilton Worldwide Great Getaway Sale that gives you a third off on the listed price at most of its hotels around the world, if you buy before the first week of September. So where’s the halfhearted bit? It’s in the little condition that you can’t change your mind – it’s not refundable, and of course, the best deals at any hotel are not eligible for the discount. They may apply it just to some of the more pricey rooms. So before you get carried away by what’s available on offer, make sure that you compare the “offer price” with the best rate you would get otherwise.
So much for the major chains; the smaller independent hotel chains have deals that are targeted at a specific kind of customer. If you are a train traveler, at Kimpton, you get 15% off off their best hotel deals; and a train ticket counts even if you just bought a ticket to travel within the city. If you’d like a website that’ll tell you about all the hotel deals on offer, try HotelChatter.com. According to this website, you’ll probably see the best discounts the country traveling to Las Vegas this season. You also see plenty of deals for hotels opening new for the first time now. You’ll typically get 50% off when you pick such a hotel.
These hotel deals come and go really quickly; flash discounts is just how the business operates. To keep on top of them, try a site like QuickBooks.com that will alert you on Twitter the moment these discounts turn up; and you had better act quickly – they’ll be gone in a couple of hours. They have special secret sales where they don’t tell you the name of the hotel you you’ll be getting – they only give you the price and describe the room and property for you. Some hotels like Wyndham, Omni and Kimpton will give you complimentary snacks and WiFi if you will just sign up for their loyalty programs. It all depends on how quickly you snap the deal up.