Hotels are supposed to have the same room rates no matter where you book them publicly, except that the major chains advertise you’ll save a couple of basis points booking through their direct channels.
They file all kinds of lower room rates, of course. For instance there are AAA rates, AARP rates, and negotiated corporate rates. These require being part of a group where membership isn’t open to everyone. You need to work for a designated company or pay to belong to an association. A new site lets you book private rates.
Hotels can make deals to undercut the prices available on a chain’s website… as long as those rates aren’t available to the general public (and therefore also not eligible for use against that chain’s best rate guarantee).
Meanwhile sites that sell hotels can access numerous types of inventory, from the hotels directly and also bulk rates sold through third parties that they can then mark up.
The people who run AutoSlash, the site that searches for lowest car rental prices and applies all known discounts and coupons – and keeps checking for price drops so they can rebook you for even more savings (I’ve been using them since 2010) have publicly launched HotelSlash. It’s been in private beta for a couple of years and helps save money on hotel stays in a couple of ways.
Two ways to save:
- Book a refundable hotel reservation on whatever website you like – Marriott.com, Expedia, doesn’t matter. Have HotelSlash track it for you. They’ll keep searching for a better deal, and email you whenever they’ve found one.
- Book directly with them, they’ll find you the best rate, and keep checking for price drops.
HotelSlash is a third party website. You usually won’t earn hotel points or elite status credit booking through them.
As a membership site they can offer low rates not subject to hotel chain best rate guarantees. Sometimes they’ll have rates that are similar – go ahead and book direct if it’s a big chain hotel and have them track the price – and sometimes they’ll offer big savings. Prices of hotels change all the time. Most people book and forget about it, but if you keep checking you can save. Hotel Slash does this work for you, and they know all of the discounts to check for as well.
HotelSlash ‘normally’ charges $29.95 per year. That should keep them within the rules of a membership site that is allowed to offer discounted bulk and private rates. However,
- They publicly have a a 90-day free trial for new users. You should see a lot more savings that the normal fee in your first booking, so they hope you’ll stay.
- An even better deal, this link gives you six months free plus 50% off the membership fee with promo code VFTW. And worth noting that no credit card is required to sign up so it’s really an opt in whether you want to spend for a membership after that.
Note that I do not receive anything if you sign up with them, I simply wanted to point out the tool.
Since I almost never book non-cancellable rates I plan to track hotel reservations with Hotel Slash. There’s nothing to lose, and good savings as an upside.