How to Get the Lowest Hotel Rates

In recent years, the quest for a good room rate has become a challenge equal to that  of hunting for airfare bargains. Prices on hotel and aggregator websites vary radically from day to day, depending on availability, season, and the vagaries of the market. Many of the hotels listed here have rates that vary by as much as 50% depending on when you book and how far in advance. Some even offer further reductions for non-refundable bookings.

While online travel booking sites like Expedia, Priceline, and booking.com may offer considerable discounts on room rates, often the best place to look is the hotel’s official website, particularly in the case of smaller, affordable hotels. Why? Those aggregator sites charge hotels fees as much as 20%, a percentage that many hotels feel obliged to pass on to the customer. Smaller establishments can afford to be more generous on their own websites. Some affordable hotels listed below have simply refused to jump on the Internet booking bandwagon, both for financial and moral reasons: they don’t feel the random rate hikes are fair (and fear scaring away their return customers). But for most hotels, you’ll have to do a lot of Internet surfing to find affordable prices.
The up side is that if you are willing to do a bit of legwork, there are some great deals to be had, especially for properties in the higher price range. A nice boutique hotel that you thought was completely out of your budget might have rates that are not so different from middle or even low-price lodgings—if you reserve several months in advance or happen on a seasonal promotion. Internet or not, many hotels offer discounts for stays of over three nights; if they don’t offer one up front, it’s worth asking.

[excerpted from Frommer's 2014 Easy Guide to Paris by Margie Rynn. Click here to order.]

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