Accommodations can easily eat up a hefty chunk of your travel budget, especially if you’re the type who gets swooned by lofty rooms. Luckily, there are savvy ways that you can save up on that next stay. Here are nine tried-and-tested ones.
1. Go indie.
Most hotels, especially larger hotel chains, quote rates based on double
occupancy. Solo guests often have to pay for the price of two people
staying in one room. If you are traveling solo, look for independently
managed lodges and hotels that offer single-occupancy rooms. If the
rates don’t specify single occupancy, try negotiating with the hotel to
lower them down.
2. Book during the lean season.
It’s no secret how high-occupancy or peak periods like holidays skyrocket room rates. It’s the law of supply and demand. Also, more guests mean more resources are used up, (including manpower). Planning out vacations during the lean season – which, here in the Philippines, spans the rainy months of June till end of October – brings those costs down to a minimum, sometimes up to 50 percent off the regular rate.
|Islandia Hotel, Pangasinan|
3. Exploit corporate benefits.
Is your spouse,
friend, or relative employed in a hotel or resort? As part of their employee perks, hotel staff get booking discounts or free stays, which can be extended to their friends or families. In fact, I know someone who can bring his entire family
for free yearly to the hotel where he works in. Neat,
4. Take advantage of online travel discount and deals from voucher and coupon sites.
There are tons of reputable couponing sites that partner with global hotel chains and travel agencies like Expedia and Agoda, so that people who sign up can enjoy discounts on holidays using their voucher codes and coupons. This Hotels.com HK promotion code, for example, provides up to 80 percent discount in various HongKong and Macau resorts with each free member sign-up.
5. Stalk hotel websites for promos and best price guarantee.
while third-party websites offer incredible discounts, there are also
times when rates are lower when you book straight
from a hotel’s website. I learned this when I booked a room via the Casa Vallejo website for only P1,350, while other
hotel booking sites I visited offered the same room at around P1,500 to
|Casa Vallejo Hotel, Baguio City|
availing a best-price guarantee, you’re, well, guaranteed that it’s the best price around. Most hotels would be happy to match
the price of any site that offers the same room, because direct
booking means they don’t have to pay commissions to third-party sites,
which can be as high as 25 percent.
6. Swipe it.
One benefit of having a credit card is that most, if not all, credit card companies offer hotel rewards programs for card holders. There are usually three ways you can leverage these discounts:
|Photo by sixninepixels (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)|
- First purchases – some credit cards offer free hotel accommodations with partner hotels on your first spend (given that you spend X amount on a single-receipt purchase).
- Points – some cards offer free hotel stays with partner hotels once you’ve reached a certain number of points, accumulated every time you charge a purchase on your card. There are even some credit cards where you accrue double points for charging a stay at a partner hotel.
- Affiliate hotel discounts – apart from points, some credit card companies also provide 10 to 20 percent discounts with affiliate hotels. Normally offered when purchasing nights using lifestyle-centered Visa and Mastercard credit cards.
Here are some credit cards and their Philippine hotel partners where you may enjoy discounts on accommodations (subject to change. Do check with
your credit card provider):
1. Citibank – Hilton Hotels, Intercontinental Manila, Resorts World, Exchange Regency
2. HSBC – Shangri-La Hotels, Traders Hotels, Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spa, Fairmont Hotel, Best Western Hotels, Raffles Hotels
3. Eastwest – Crimson Resort and Hotels, Networld Hotel, F1 Hotel Manila, Bluewater Beach Resorts, Henann Resorts, Two Seasons Resorts, Fuego Hotels
4. Metrobank – New World Hotel, The Picasso Boutique Residences, Two Seasons Resorts
5. BPI – Holiday Inn & Suites, Fairmont Hotel, Marco Polo Hotels, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Seda Hotel
7. Leverage hotel rewards programs.
rewards programs involve accruing points with each stay from a
hotel – typically, hotel chains – or their hotel affiliates. Once you’ve
reached the required number of points, you’ll get a free stay.
|Microtel by Wyndham, Tarlac|
a nutshell, this means that the more you revisit the same hotel, the
bigger your points are, and the easier it is for you to get free
At Microtel for instance, once you’ve
signed up for the program (free; concierge asks you to fill out the form
upon first check-in), you automatically get 8,000 points when you
revisit Microtel or any of their affiliate hotels, which is enough to
get you a free stay in any Wyndham hotel worldwide.
Rewards programs also entitle you to exclusive discounts on hotel stays and room upgrades.
8. Use membership and rewards cards.
Membership cards like the SM Advantage Card aren’t just useful for groceries, they also let you score great hotel discounts. In fact, we had P675 slashed off the rack rate in Subic Park Hotel a few years back when we presented my SM Advantage Card upon check-in. Not bad for a card that only costs P100, yes?
As a card holder, you can also enjoy a 10 to 15-percent discount in Taal Vista Hotel and Radisson Hotels. Be sure to present your card upon check-in though as most hotels don’t offer cash-backs once payment has been settled – and they sure don’t ask if you have an SM Advantage Card either, for obvious profit-boosting reasons.
Another noteworthy membership card is Resorts World’s Genting Rewards card, which you can use for dining and accommodation in Resorts World hotels. And it costs zero to acquire (got mine immediately after filling out their form at the concierge in the lobby of RWM)!
9. Stay in a lodge and similar alternative accommodations.
If you’re not too picky with rooms, consider booking with a budget lodge or hostel. Facilities are a bit more limited in these places, and the rooms, less fancy. But hey, if you’re just going to use it for snoozing, they’re definitely gonna burn less money in the short- and long-term.
|Asia Grand View Hotel spa, Palawan|
The Circle Hostel, for example, offers hammocks for only P250 a night (dorm-like bed bunks at P350). I know lots of air conditioned lodges in Albay too that offer double-occupancy rooms at only P400 a night.