Call a hotel, ask for the cheapest room rate for a certain night, and your answer is some mix of voodoo and demand-based algorithms. Ask for the "corporate rate", or maybe the "cheapest nonrefundable rate", and the game changes.
Image via Bob B. Brown.
Consumer Reports' money-focused blog offers a bevy of tips on booking better hotel room rates, beyond simply hitting up another price search engine. Asking for the non-refundable rate, for instance, might save you some bucks on a trip and a place you know you want to stay. If you're heading somewhere during tourist season, consider pulling the opposite kind of manoeuvre, utilising the variability of pricing and holiday plans:
Lock in a rate. If you're heading to a popular destination at a peak time, call around and check websites long before your trip. Get price quotes from three to five hotels, then lock in the lowest refundable rate. As your travel date nears, check prices again. If you find a better deal, cancel your original reservation in time to avoid a penalty.
How do you lock in great rates for your beds when you're travelling?
How to get a great hotel rate [Consumer Reports Money & Shopping Blog]