Everyone loves a good deal, and hotels are often willing to negotiate room rates to secure your business. The key is knowing the right situations where you can score a discount, along with smart strategies for asking.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Hotels typically offer discounts when they have empty rooms, during slower seasons, on weekdays, for AAA/AARP members, and through loyalty programs. You can also negotiate lower rates by being flexible, mentioning a competitor’s price, asking politely at check-in, or seeking a manager override.

This in-depth guide covers insider tips on ideal times and techniques for getting the lowest hotel prices. You’ll learn strategies for discounts during slow periods, on weekdays, through membership perks, with status, via prepayment, by extending stays, when rooms are still available last-minute, and by negotiating at check-in.

Read on to start savings big on your next hotel stay!

Slow Periods and Seasons

One of the keys to unlocking the best hotel deals is to take advantage of slow periods and seasons. These are the times when hotels are not as busy and are more likely to offer discounted rates to attract guests.

By planning your trips during these periods, you can save a significant amount of money on your accommodation.

Off-peak times

Off-peak times refer to periods when tourist destinations are less crowded and demand for hotel rooms is lower. This could be during weekdays, non-holiday periods, or even during certain months of the year.

By avoiding popular travel times, such as school vacations or major events, you can often find great hotel deals. Additionally, booking your stay during off-peak times may also result in a more peaceful and enjoyable experience, as you won’t have to deal with large crowds.

Shoulder seasons

Shoulder seasons are the periods between the high and low seasons when the weather is still pleasant, but the number of tourists decreases. This often occurs during the transition from one season to another.

For example, in a beach destination, the shoulder season may be in the spring or fall, when the weather is not too hot or too cold. Hotels in these destinations often offer discounted rates during these times to attract guests.

Taking advantage of shoulder seasons can not only save you money but also allow you to enjoy a more relaxed and less crowded vacation.

After holidays

Another great time to score hotel discounts is right after major holidays. After the peak travel period for a holiday, hotels often see a decrease in bookings. To fill up their rooms, they may offer special deals and promotions.

Whether it’s after Christmas, New Year’s, or any other major holiday, keep an eye out for discounted rates during the days following the holiday. This way, you can extend the holiday spirit and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation without breaking the bank.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to plan your trips in advance and do some research on the best times to visit your desired destination. Websites like Travel + Leisure or Lonely Planet can provide valuable insights and recommendations on when to find the best hotel deals.

So, start planning your next vacation during a slow period or season, and unlock amazing discounts for a memorable and budget-friendly trip!

Weekday Stays

Why weekdays are usually cheaper than weekends

When it comes to hotel stays, weekdays are typically more affordable compared to weekends. This is primarily because of the difference in demand. Most people tend to travel for leisure during weekends, resulting in a higher demand for hotel rooms.

As a result, hotels tend to increase their rates during weekends to maximize profits. On the other hand, weekdays are usually quieter, with fewer travelers seeking accommodation. To attract more guests during these less busy periods, hotels often offer discounted rates to incentivize bookings.

Business versus leisure traveler demand

The difference in demand between business and leisure travelers also plays a role in weekday hotel pricing. Business travelers often prefer to stay in hotels during weekdays as they are typically traveling for work-related purposes.

This means that hotels can charge higher rates during weekdays when there is a higher demand from business travelers. In contrast, leisure travelers are more likely to choose weekends for their trips, which can lead to lower prices for weekday stays.

Tips for saving on weekday hotel stays

If you’re looking to save on your weekday hotel stays, here are a few tips:

  • Consider booking your stay during off-peak seasons or times of the year when hotels are less busy.
  • Check for special promotions or discounts offered by hotels specifically for weekday stays.
  • Be flexible with your travel dates and consider adjusting your itinerary to take advantage of lower weekday rates.
  • Consider booking directly with the hotel or through reputable online travel agencies to compare prices and find the best deals.
  • Join loyalty programs or subscribe to hotel newsletters to receive exclusive offers and discounts.

Remember, while weekdays may offer more affordable rates, it’s still important to research and compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your desired hotel and location. Happy travels!

Membership Perks

When it comes to unlocking hotel discounts, membership perks can be a game-changer. By joining certain organizations or groups, travelers can gain access to exclusive deals and savings. Here are some membership perks to consider:

AAA and AARP Discounts

If you are a member of the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), you’re in luck. These organizations offer special rates and discounts at a wide range of hotels across the country.

AAA members can enjoy benefits such as discounted room rates, complimentary breakfast, and even free upgrades. AARP members can also take advantage of similar perks, making their hotel stays more affordable and enjoyable.

When booking a hotel, be sure to mention your AAA or AARP membership and ask about any available discounts. You may be pleasantly surprised by the savings you can score!

Government Employee Rates

If you are a government employee, you may be eligible for exclusive hotel discounts. Many hotels offer special rates to federal, state, and local government employees as a way to show appreciation for their service.

Government employee rates can vary depending on the hotel and location, but they often provide significant savings. These discounts can make a big difference, especially for those who frequently travel for work purposes.

If you are a government employee, check with your agency’s travel office or inquire directly with hotels about any available discounts. It’s an excellent opportunity to enjoy comfortable accommodations at a budget-friendly price.

Union Memberships

Another avenue to explore for hotel discounts is through union memberships. Many labor unions negotiate special rates and benefits for their members, including discounted hotel stays.

If you are a member of a union, it’s worth checking if they have partnerships with hotels or travel agencies that offer exclusive deals. By leveraging your union membership, you can enjoy significant savings on your hotel bookings.

Keep in mind that these discounts may require proof of membership, so be prepared to show your union card or other relevant documentation when booking or checking-in at the hotel.

Loyalty Program Status

One of the best ways to unlock hotel discounts is by having a high status in a hotel loyalty program. These programs offer exclusive perks and benefits to their most loyal customers. Here are a few ways in which loyalty program status can help you score the best deals:

Elite tiers unlock deals

Many hotel loyalty programs have different tiers, such as Silver, Gold, and Platinum, based on the number of nights stayed or points earned. The higher your status, the more benefits you receive. Elite tiers often unlock exclusive deals and discounts that are not available to regular members.

These discounts can range from discounted room rates to complimentary upgrades or even free meals. So, if you frequently stay at a particular hotel chain, it’s worth striving for elite status to access these special deals.

Book direct for points

Booking directly through the hotel’s website or app is another way to maximize your loyalty program benefits. Hotels often offer bonus points or rewards for booking directly, as it helps them save on commission fees charged by third-party booking platforms.

These bonus points can be used to redeem future stays or other rewards, and they can add up quickly if you are a frequent traveler. So, always check the hotel’s website for any exclusive deals or promotions available to loyalty program members.

Status gives upgrades

Having a high status in a hotel loyalty program can also lead to room upgrades. Hotels often prioritize their loyal customers when it comes to room allocation, and higher-tier members are more likely to receive complimentary upgrades to better rooms or suites.

Upgrades can make a significant difference in your hotel experience, offering more space, better views, or additional amenities. So, if you enjoy the finer things in life, aim for a high status in your favorite hotel loyalty program to increase your chances of scoring those coveted upgrades.


When it comes to unlocking hotel discounts, prepaying can be a great strategy to save money on your accommodation. By paying for your stay in full upfront, you can often take advantage of special discounted rates that are not available to those who choose to pay at the time of check-in.

Pay in full upfront

One way to benefit from prepaying is to pay for your hotel room in full upfront. Many hotels offer discounted rates for guests who are willing to pay the entire amount at the time of booking. By doing so, you can often save a significant amount of money on your stay.

However, it is important to carefully consider your travel plans and make sure that you are committed to your reservation, as these prepaid rates are typically nonrefundable.

Nonrefundable rates

While prepaid rates may offer substantial discounts, it is essential to be aware of the terms and conditions associated with these bookings. Nonrefundable rates mean that if your plans change or you need to cancel your reservation, you will not be able to get a refund.

Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate your travel plans and only opt for nonrefundable rates if you are confident that your plans will not change.

Sell unused nights

If you have booked a prepaid rate but find that you are unable to use all the nights you have reserved, you can consider selling your unused nights. Some websites specialize in helping travelers sell their hotel reservations to other interested individuals.

By doing this, you can recoup some of your costs and potentially help another traveler find a great deal on a hotel stay. Just make sure to check the terms and conditions of your booking to ensure that transferring the reservation is allowed.

Remember, when it comes to prepaying for hotel stays, it is essential to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions associated with your booking. While prepaying can offer substantial discounts, it is important to weigh the potential savings against the flexibility of being able to make changes or cancel your reservation if needed.

By being informed and making thoughtful decisions, you can unlock hotel discounts and score the best deals for your next trip.

Extending Stays

When it comes to scoring the best hotel discounts, one strategy that travelers often overlook is extending their stays. By staying at a hotel for a longer duration, you can often enjoy lower rates and unlock even more savings. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of extending your stay:

Longer stays mean lower rates

Hotels usually offer discounted rates for guests who stay for a longer period of time. So, instead of booking a hotel for just a couple of nights, consider extending your stay to a week or more. Not only will you save money on your nightly rate, but you’ll also have more time to explore the destination without feeling rushed.

Ask about weekly or monthly prices

When inquiring about hotel rates, don’t forget to ask about weekly or monthly prices. Some hotels have special rates for guests who stay for an extended period of time. These rates are often significantly lower than the standard nightly rates, allowing you to enjoy substantial savings.

It’s worth noting that these extended stay rates may come with additional perks, such as access to a kitchenette or discounted laundry services.

Negotiate multi-night deal

Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the hotel directly for a multi-night deal. Many hotels are open to offering discounts or additional perks for guests who are willing to stay for multiple nights. This could include free breakfast, complimentary upgrades, or discounted spa services.

Remember, it never hurts to ask, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the deals you can secure.

Remember, when it comes to extending your stay, it’s important to plan ahead and be flexible with your travel dates. This will give you more options to choose from and increase your chances of finding the best hotel deals.

So, the next time you’re planning a trip, consider extending your stay to unlock unbeatable discounts and make your vacation even more enjoyable!

Last-Minute Vacancies

Looking for a spontaneous getaway? One of the best times to find hotel discounts is on the day of check-in when hotels have last-minute vacancies. This happens when hotels have unexpected cancellations or no-shows, leaving empty rooms that they are eager to fill.

By taking advantage of these last-minute vacancies, you can score great deals on hotel rooms.

Empty rooms on day of check-in

Hotels often have empty rooms on the day of check-in due to various reasons. For example, a guest may have canceled their reservation at the last minute or failed to show up. Hotels do not want to leave these rooms empty as it means lost revenue.

To avoid this, they offer discounted rates to attract guests who are looking for a spontaneous stay. By keeping an eye out for these empty rooms, you can take advantage of the discounted rates and enjoy a comfortable stay at a fraction of the original price.

Apps specialize in same-day deals

Technology has made it easier than ever to find and book last-minute hotel deals. There are several apps and websites that specialize in offering same-day deals on hotel rooms. These apps aggregate information from various hotels and display the available discounts in one place, making it convenient for travelers to find and book a room at the last minute.

Some popular apps include HotelTonight, Booking.com’s “Tonight Deals,” and Expedia’s “Tonight Only” deals. These apps often offer significant discounts on high-quality accommodations, allowing you to save money while enjoying a comfortable stay.

Cancellations and no-shows

Cancellations and no-shows are common occurrences in the hotel industry. Sometimes, guests change their plans or face unexpected circumstances that prevent them from checking in. When these situations arise, hotels are left with empty rooms and the potential for lost revenue.

To mitigate this, hotels may offer last-minute discounts to fill these vacancies. By taking advantage of cancellations and no-shows, you can secure a great deal on a hotel room. It’s important to note that these discounts are often available on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s advisable to act quickly when you come across such opportunities.

Negotiating at Check-In

When it comes to unlocking hotel discounts, negotiating at check-in can be a game-changer. By employing a few simple strategies, travelers can potentially score better deals and save some money. Here are some tips on how to negotiate effectively at the hotel check-in counter:

Be polite when asking

One of the most important things to remember when negotiating at check-in is to be polite and respectful. Remember, the hotel staff are there to assist you, and being kind and courteous can go a long way in creating a positive impression.

Politely inquire about any available discounts or promotions and express your interest in getting the best deal possible. A friendly approach can often result in the staff being more willing to help you find a discounted rate.

Note competitor’s lower rate

Before checking in, it’s always a good idea to do some research and find out what rates other hotels in the area are offering. If you come across a competitor’s lower rate, politely mention it to the hotel staff.

Let them know that you are considering staying at the competitor’s property due to the lower price. This can sometimes prompt the hotel to offer you a better rate in order to keep your business.

Request manager override

If you’re not satisfied with the initial rate offered at check-in, don’t be afraid to request a manager override. Managers often have the authority to provide additional discounts or perks to guests, especially if they see that you are a valued customer or if you have encountered any issues during your stay.

Politely explain your situation and ask if there is any flexibility in the rate. Remember, the worst they can say is no, but there’s a chance they may be able to offer you a better deal.

Remember, negotiating at check-in is not guaranteed to result in a discount, but it never hurts to ask. Being polite, noting competitor’s rates, and requesting a manager override are just a few strategies that can potentially help you score a better deal on your hotel stay.

So the next time you check into a hotel, don’t be afraid to try your luck and see if you can unlock a great hotel discount!


With the right timing and negotiation strategies, significant hotel savings are within reach. Travel during slower periods, on weekdays, use membership perks, leverage status, prepay, extend stays, grab last-minute deals, and negotiate at check-in.

Being an informed and flexible hotel guest can unlock major discounts, upgrades, and added value.

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