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You might think that booking a hotel these days is easy – and in some ways, of course, it is. But, if you want to book a hotel for the best possible price, things can quickly get a lot more complicated. Between special rates, flash sales, paid membership sites, OTAs selling discounted bulk inventory, best rate guarantees, cashback, Amex rebates (etc, etc), it’s not simple at all.
One additional thing to watch out for applies regardless of how you choose to book, but is perhaps most shocking when booking direct with one of the big hotel chains…
Don’t pay more than necessary
If you need to make a 2-night hotel booking (for example), logic would suggest that the total you pay should be whatever the cost of the first night would be + whatever the cost of the second night would be.
For example, if the lowest standard rate was £100 for a Friday night and £150 for the Saturday night, you would expect to pay a total of £250 (£100 +£150).
Different hotel websites have different ways of displaying the nightly rate on multi-night bookings (some average it, others show the individual nightly breakdown), but you would still reasonably always expect the total to be £250 in the example above.
Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily how things work in practice. Some hotel booking sites actually increase the nightly rate when booking a multi-night stay.
What I mean is that if you booked the Friday night and the Saturday night separately you would pay £250 in total, but if you book them together as one booking, you could be charged more.
I know that sounds mad, but it’s a lot more common than you might realise.
I am big fan of Hilton Honors, but it is sadly one of the worst offenders when it comes to hiking up the price for multi-night stays, so let’s use it as an example.
The Hilton Malta is a very pleasant place to spend a couple of days. If you were to book a 2-night stay there in the current Hilton Sale, a ‘Two Queen Bed Deluxe Room with Marina View”, for 19th-21st February, would cost 306.20 Euros in total. The Hilton website even shows a breakdown of the ‘nightly rate’ for you:
If you booked the 2 nights separately (exactly the same room type as above, using the exact same Hilton sale rate), you would pay the following:
153.10 Euros for the first night (above), and 102 Euros for the second night (below):
Your total would therefore be 255.10 Euros, rather than 306.20 Euros – a saving of 51.10 Euros, or roughly 16.6%!
When you are booking a hotel stay of more than 1 night, it can be well worth quickly checking to see what the price would be if you booked the individual nights separately.
Yes, it is a bit of a hassle to make a load of separate bookings, but if you stay at hotels regularly, it really could save you £1,000s each year!
Have you noticed this sort of price hiking before? What’s the worst example you’ve seen?