Can't find a deal? Negotiate. Hotels are notorious for working with you if occupancy is down—as Kelleher says, the hotel business is all about "heads on beds." You just have to take the right approach:
- Arm yourself with information. Go on a consolidator like Hotels.com and plug in the name of the hotel to find out the rate offered. Then, go on the website of the hotel itself and get the rate quoted there. If you can, find rates for a few nearby—and comparable—hotels as well. Then, pick up the phone and give them the facts: Tell them the prices you've seen, the competitor's prices (if they're lower, of course) and ask what they can do for you.
- If the operator won't lower the nightly rate, ask to speak to a manager and go through your spiel again. Often, managers have the ability to offer discounts that front desk attendants don't.
- As a last resort, try for extras. If you can't get a deal on the bottom line price, they may throw in free parking or complimentary meals for kids, which can still save a bundle. Remember, they want your business.