The post comes from Clement Zhang who is writing all about travelling whilst saving money. There are some great ways to see the world and save money and Clement explains one of them here.
So, thank you to Clement for the brilliant article and be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the page!
Travelers love saving on hotels, right?
If I tell you we have good Cancun hotel deals for you, but it is in the hurricane season, or I know there is much cheaper hostel far away from the beach you want to go, will you get exited? Of course not. Therefore, the accurate statement should be “Travelers love saving on the hotels at which they want to stay”. Today we will introduce a technique that helps you save on the hotels you like.
The Basic Idea
Thanks to the Revenue Management systems, hotels charge very different rates at different nights. If you book several days with one reservation, very likely you will pay more than you are supposed to. The basic idea for saving is to split you multi-night booking into several reservations.
“Does this mean I have to switch hotels in the middle of my stay?” you may ask. Not necessarily. The technique works on both single hotels and multiple hotels. “If it is in the same hotel, do I need to move to a different room?” you may have another question. The answer is no. When you check in, just inform the front desk that you have multiple bookings. The hotel manager will merge your bookings and keep you in the same room. After all, moving you to a different room in the middle does nothing beneficial to the hotel.
Below is a real example in my life…
If I had booked this hotel near Boston with one reservation, I would have to pay $950 in total. Instead, I booked the first night with one reservation and the rest 4 nights together with another. My total payment became $632. It’s the same hotel and the same room. I saved $318 immediately with this simple technique.
How It Works
Isn’t the rate per night you get from a hotel or a booking site the average rate of multiple nights? Unfortunately, that’s not true in many cases. Some hotels just charge you the highest nightly rate for each day you stay with them. So should we always book each night individually? That’s not the best way either. Some hotels and booking sites do offer a discount for multiple-night bookings. In addition, the hotel may tell you no vacancy when you try to book a single night. But if you book three nights in a row, including the night with “no vacancy”, you will get booked like a breeze.
It is already not a secret that you can save money by booking nights separately…
Many savvy travellers have used such a strategy for years. But are they really able to get the best solution manually?
Let’s say you need a lodging for 7 days and will use an online booking site to check rates. You can book each single night separately. It means that you need to check the booking site 7 times to get the price at each night. Alternatively, you can book two nights together. To get all rates with two nights together, you need to check the site additional 6 times: night 1 and night 2 together, night 2 and night 3 together, and so on. To get the rates of 3 nights together, you need to check the booking site 5 times. So on and so forth. To get all possible rate combinations, you have to check the booking site 7 + 6 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 28 times. But those are just rate combinations. The real solution is a combination of 7 nights with any of the above rate combinations, e.g. 2 nights + 3 nights + 2 nights.
Sometimes you want to check different hotels. Number of combinations will grow exponentially. Very quickly you will have thousands of possibilities to test. Even if you are a genius and eventually work out the answer, you will find the original rates have changed when you are ready to click the booking button. Do you want to start from the beginning again?
The Automatic Solution
Luckily you don’t need to use this technique with lots of manual work. Now there is a website https://FindOptimal.com can do all of the above for you automatically. The web application has an “Optimal Rates” option. Keep this option on and there are opportunities to save with split bookings, the “Optimal” rates will appear in the search result. If you click on the link, the app will show you how to split the booking.
If you don’t mind switching hotels in the middle, you will have chances to save even more. You can define a candidate pool with only your favorite hotels, using Star Rating, Guest Rating, Distance, Hotel Name, etc. on the Filter panel. FindOptimal will retrieve all the rates and calculate the best solution for you. All you need to do is to take the suggestion and book the same hotel separately for different nights.
There are several benefits of “hotel switching”…
First, you may save a significant amount of money by staying at the right hotel at the right night. The higher the average hotel nightly rate, the more you may save. Second, you may experience different hotel designs and services. Sometimes your ideal hotel doesn’t have vacancy for multiple days in a row. Booking nights separately allows you to stay at that hotel in the days when it is available. Last, you have a chance to earn more rewards points if the hotel calculates points by number of stays instead of number of nights. If you don’t have much luggage and spend most of your time outside the hotel anyway, it is worth to check multiple hotels.
However, moving in the middle of you stay could be a hassle that doesn’t worth the savings. No problem. The FindOptimal application allows you to define the minimum savings to make you move. For example, if you put $50 as the minimum switching cost, combinations with less than $50 savings won’t be the solution for you. Furthermore, you can limit total number of hotel switching and request the hotels not too far from each other.
Ready to give it a try?
You can follow this multi-night stay optimization process to see how much you can save on hotels in your next trip.