smart spending

5 ways to score cheap hotel deals

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In some cases, it's appropriate to negotiate a room rate.

"It's important to do this tactfully and to pay a fair price in the end," Braden says.

Frame your initial offer so that it doesn't create a combative exchange, she says.

"For example, 'I'd really like to stay here, but $80 a night is a bit higher than my budget allows. Would you consider dropping that by 15 percent?'"

Sometimes, you'll get a receptive response. If the answer is a solid "no" or the person seems offended, let it go, Braden says.

Dunnan says some situations increase bargaining power. For example, if the hotel/motel parking lot is not full, "that's usually a sign that there are unsold rooms. This gives one additional leverage in negotiating," she says.

Just be sure to leave your baggage in the car. By dragging luggage into the lobby, "you're sending a message to the check-in person that you're planning on staying the night regardless of the price," Dunnan says.

Also, try to negotiate other charges. Once, Braden "negotiated out of a steep cleaning fee at a vacation rental by assuring the owner that I would clean the cabin myself before leaving."




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