Nowadays hotel market competition is high, giving rise to various special offers and discount hotels. Price-cutting, freebies, and rewards have become the norm in most places. The best way to get a discount is to go in low season. During the low periods, airlines, hotels, tour operators, and other travel companies are eager to attract paying customers by offering deals.
In Europe, when visitation rates are down in wintertime, hotels and airlines may halve prices. Besides paying less, visitors who come to a tourist spot during the low-season will enjoy less crowding. You'll also get to experience more local color, and you may even find that the residents, who won't be overwhelmed by hordes of tourists, treat you with more courtesy.
However, the number one reason for an area being off-season is weather-related, so it is important to find out what weather conditions are like during these periods. Hot or cold temperatures might be an acceptable drawback, but a serious weather problem might rule out a destination.
Note that each hotel, airline, or travel company individually defines the dates it considers off-season. Use a guidebook for the destination or a "travel guide" website. For example, you can look for discount hotels at traveladvisor.com. It is a free internet resource that lists reputable tour operators and has tourists' reviews of major hotels. On-line booking is a good way to save money. There are plenty of travel websites, enabling online reservation of discount hotels, like choicehotels.com, travelaxe.com, hotels.com, quikbook.com, triprewards.com, newtravelagent.com and others. They will save the time that you generally waste searching the internet for good deals; they will do all the search.
Choicehotels.com offers discount hotels for business travelers, government and military personnel. Mature travelers (over 50) will save 10%, AARP members (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) will enjoy a 15% discount. There is also travel service partner offers, you can reserve a car at a website and have a 10% off standard daily rates, or you will be offered discounted rates for airport ground transportation. Numerous existing reward programs will help you to earn free nights and flights.
Anyway, the greatest discount opportunity is to book at the last minute. Usually this means leaving booking until a fortnight before your departure. Although you may not be able to get your exact choice of destination, the number of offers available is surprising. Hotel rooms, apartments, flights and packages can all be found at a substantial discount if still unsold 2 weeks prior to departure.
A number of Internet based companies have sprung up to cater for this market. The most famous of these in the UK is lastminute.com. This market is also being tapped by the providers themselves, just look for Bargains or late bookings on their websites. If there exist special offers and discount hotels, why not taking this wonderful chance to economize? Travel websites claim to offer up to 70% discounts, but even a 20% saving is already a very good deal!