Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« Is It Worth It for a Spouse to Work? | Main | Interview with Cake Financial President Steven A. Carpenter »

October 12, 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Somehow paying just a little bit more seems worth it in getting a hotel after a long day on the road and with everyone tire, hungry and some of the kids crying...

Never tried this method, but I would recommend using and You can usually snag pretty good deals, especially in big cities.

I used to work for a family owned hotel and in our case coming in without a reservation pretty much guarenteed you'd spend a lot more. Soem nights the difference with $150/room.

OK, I can buy that the price might be cheaper than if you call the hotel. But will it be cheaper than if you shopped around on online sites like expedia,, orbitz? I've got some really great deals from those in the past that including getting a four star hotel in Covent Garden for less than half of the price listed on all other websites. This deal was listed in specials (either on expedia or orbitz, don't remember which one) and not only the price itself was less than half of the one listed everywhere if tried to look up this hotel specifically (rather than on specials), the taxes were $40 for the whole 5-day stay instead of 40 pounds a day listed everywhere else.

This is the first time I heard about Thanks for the tip. I've been reluctant to go with priceline because of being unsure what I'll get especially in big cities. May try it at some point.

I went to Toronto a couple years ago...We said in the downtown area at a Marriott that a friend of mine reserved with AAA for say $125/night for three nights.

Come to find out, it was $25/day to park and we could have got the room for $100/night withOUT the reservation. Basically $75 over three days was substantial.

I don't see how in the future [and I have tried this method], you make a reservation and then walk into the hotel and before mentioning you have a reservation, simply find out how much it will be for your stay. I can't imagine if that told you it was cheaper, that they wouldn't give you a discount on the reservation price.

Since that stay, every other time I have tried this, it has been MORE however...

My brother-in-law does this a lot. It works well if you arrive at the hotel very late. He will just throw out a low-ball offer, and see if they take it. If the rate was $99/night, he'd offer $79. It's work several times, and the key is having to be willing to walk away.

I have never made a hotel reservation in my entire life. It isn't that I don't like to plan ahead but I usually drive on my trips (even coast to coast) and I like to drive as far as I feel like driving in any given day. There has only been one occasion where I didn't get a room at the first place I stopped for the night. I also did save a bit of money here and there. Now IF I ever flew to my destination I would make a reservation just to be prudent.

I like Zook's idea of having a reservation, but before mentioning that, ask what their rate is. Nice little safety net and I would think they might be willing to give you the lower rate rather than worrying about a cancellation.

We drove to our honeymoon destination. Had no problems on the way from Indiana to Colorado. But on the way home we were in the St Louis area trying to find a hotel and drove around for about an hour trying to find something that had rooms. We spent less because we ended up in a crappy hotel! Not a good experience.

I never thought of asking for rates before telling them I already had a reservation. I can't imagine not having a reservation if I could avoid it, though, because I'd hate to not have a place to stay.

I guess a lot of it depends on:

a) The type and location of the property involved. I suspect you're more likely to be able to negotiate with a lower-end place that's out on the road than a major hotel in a big city. In a city, you're usually there for a reason and they know you need a bed in the city, which weakens your negotiating position. If you're out on the road, you can always present yourself as a guy who's willing to drive another hour towards his destination to find another hotel at a better price.

b) Is the guy at the front desk actually empowered to cut a deal? Is there even a manager on duty at that late hour?

c) His guess as to your circumstances--Can you bluff and look like you're willing to keep driving around for another two hours to find a bargain at another hotel, or are the wife and kids crying, tugging at your sleeves, begging you to take the room while you attempt to negotiate?

d) His guess as to whether they have any chance whatsoever of renting the room (largely depends on the time you're arriving). Like an empty airline seat, a vacant hotel room represents a loss of revenue that can never be recovered. But there is a fairly substantial marginal cost (cleaning, linen service) that must be recovered first if they decide to rent the room, I wouldn't expect them to give it away for next to nothing. Even if you walk in at 1:30 am.

This might work when traveling during the "off-season" in a tourist town.

not worth it. to much of a pain when I have done it before. reservations are worth the extra scratch if this is true which I don't believe.

Crossn81 - just out of curiosity, where did you stay in St. Louis? I'm from the area.

Didn't read through all the comments but this definitely works.

Worked for me all over the West coast. However, we got screwed one night and almost had to sleep on the curb. So, is the chance of sleeping in your car worth saving 10-20/night?

I've had the opposite experience a number of times, though I've never tried to bargain at the counter. Hotels often have an internet-only rate which is significantly lower than the walk-in rate (and discount packages such as Expedia or Hotwire can be even cheaper). I've even used the internet from my room to book an extension to my stay because it's cheaper than the price at the front desk!

Actually, I have done this many times. Not because I was trying to save money, simply because I didn't want to plan my trips in advance. It's fun to go spontaneous.

In fact, my wife and I may take off for an over night trip tomorrow. No hotel reservations as of now.

Never had to sleep on the curb.

I worked at a hotel years ago, and they reminded us that a night unsold is lost forever. Gotta get rid of the rooms even at a discount. On the other hand, this Summer we drove across country on Route 66, and there was this one stretch of New Mexico where we drove for 100 miles and every decent hotel was booked. We like Holiday Inn Express, or Residence Inn types of places, although we would have paid for The Ritz-Carlton by around 1:30 a.m. All sold out. We wound up staying in a horrible smoking room, with a hole in the floor for laundry. Should have made a reservation.

Timing is everything. Did this on an March drive from FL to WI, but hadn't realized that spring-breakers occupy all rooms. Drove 4 hours longer that I wanted to and ended up staying in The Bates Motel for a night!

It really depends on how much flexibility you have and where and when you are traveling. Flying to a large city for a scheduled engagement means you have very little. Driving cross country as you feel like it off season you have very much. I always make reservations in the former case, never in the latter. The biggest risk is in season in large convention cities. Holidays weekends can present a problem in season and should be avoided if possible.

Some consumer comparisons have shown the lowest rates are calling direct rather than over the internet though this may be changing.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Start a Blog


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.