The Keys to Finding the Best Hotel Room at the Best Rate, Always – Online Travel Insider Article
Let’s start with the basic principal of defining how hotel price points are determined. Hotel product, for the most part, is a very perishable item – even more so than fruit in a grocery store. If it’s not sold the night of, it goes to waste. Generally speaking, hotels will forecast targeted price points based on demand towards their supply (based on seasonality, traffic generators such as conventions / attractions, and market conditions.) Typically, multiple distribution lines are allocated advanced inventory (ie. on-line resellers, tour operators, airline crews, group blocks, etc) in order to generate a base occupancy where a residual of total capacity is used to achieve a targeted average rate. All of this formulating leads to like hotel product selling for variances that can be 300% in variance from top to bottom – meaning; that hotel room that you bought for $250/night in downtown Toronto could sell through an alternate channel at $100/night or less. Your goal of course is to be on the $100/night or less side of the math.
Don’t be overwhelmed with the endeavor of finding the best price, and don’t assume the first price you see from a mega-travel site is even close to the best deal. Check with the usual big-box on-line sites and/or use a meta-travel site and develop an understanding of the hotel market you’re traveling to. Identify a few hotels you’re interested in and narrow your search down to finding the best channel to book those hotels. Although opaque sites that entice shoppers with unidentified product prior to purchase can sometimes yield good value, don’t be fooled into believing it’s the only means to finding the best price – typically the same product value is offered in a disclosed fashion elsewhere.
Remember that Google is your friend. Use it for identifying on-line travel sites that may not be well known. Much like the model of Toronto Hotels, many destinations have boutique type resellers that are local to the market, and, have intimate relations with the hotels they work with. Large markets such as Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago have several on-line hotel stores that have access to distressed hotel inventory the usual suspects don’t. Using Toronto Hotel product as an example – there are over 30,000 units of inventory in the Greater Toronto Area (inclusive of airport, downtown and suburban product) to be distributed on any given night. With that in mind, always know that in large markets there is no reason to settle on a price that you’re not comfortable with.
Lastly, ALWAYS check with the hotel you’ve settled on to ensure the rate you’re about to book on-line is in-fact one that cannot beat at the property level. Book smart!