- Travel Topics
The longer you spend in Asia the more you start to see opportunities to get things for less. Sure, there’s the regular street haggling that everyone is aware of, but what about haggling for accommodation? Did you know that you can get rooms for cheaper than they are offered?
Consider the following emails (read from top to bottom):
We are interested in possibly booking the Superior room for 5 nights. Can you please tell us what the rate is (with promotion) if booked in early December?
We would like to offer you only 30USD/room/night for your 6 nights stay in Superior room and Free airport pick up one way. Including: breakfast, tea & coffee, welcome drink, free internet, 10%VAT, 5% service charge,……Please feel free to tell us your decision then we will reserve it for you. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon. Have a nice day.
The same room is being offered on hostelbookers for only $12 per person per night (that’s $24 versus you’re offer of $30). I imagine Hostelbookers takes a cut so if you will beat that price I will book it directly through you, if not I will consider booking it through hostelbookers.
If so, we would like to offer you special rate at only 23USD/room/night for Superior room. Please feel free to tell us your decision. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Did you see what I did there? When you book through sites like Hostelbooker and Hostelworld there is usually a fee involved. In Hostelbookers, it’s 10% of the total cost. This is the commission that the hotel pays to Hostelbookers. Hostelbookers acts as a middleman – so why not try to cut them out and go directly to the hotel itself, offering to only receive a 5% discount instead of the 10% that they have to pay to Hostelbookers for the sale?
Naturally, Hostelbookers is aware of this and often hides critical contact information until the final sale is complete (and the fee they take is nonrefundable), but many hotels have their own websites where the contact information is available.
Now consider a different scenario.
We are two travellers going to Hoi An tomorrow and looking for a standard room. We are currently at Tran Ly in Hue and they recommended your hotel. I know that they provide a discount if we book through them (presumably for a commission). I was wondering what you charge if we book directly through you?
Dear Mr Dave,
Thank you very much for choosing our hotel to stay. Tomorrow 19th December we have a nice room for you and the room rate will be 22USD/1 night/2 persons inclusive of breakfast, a/c, hot water, wifi.
The hotel here has offered to book it for only $20 per night, so I think we will just book it through them, unless you can match it or better, thank you.
Dear Ms Victoria,
Thank you for your email. Tomorrow we have a room with 20USD /1 night/ 2 persons inclusive of breakfast, a/c, hot water, wifi……in the room.
Often hotels in neighboring cities work together to make recommendations, so if I stay in a hotel in Hoi An, Vietnam, they probably have a hotel that they work with in Nha Trang. Once they make the recommendation I do a bit of research. The website of the Nha Trang hotel offers a standard room for $22 – $25/night (maybe depends on the season). If I book it through my hotel in Hoi An, they tell me that they’ll get it to me for somewhere between $20 and $22. Most likely it will be $22.
So now I’m going to go to the hotel in Nha Trang and tell them that the hotel in Hoi An will offer to book me a room for $20/night. They probably don’t know what the hotel here is offering anyways, as long as it isn’t absurdly low. Let’s see if they call my bluff. If they do, I always have the offer from the Hoi An hotel to fall back on.
And there you have it. While this isn’t major savings it is money back in your pocket that can be used for other things. Presumably, I’m not sleeping on the streets so this tactic can be used fairly often and, over the course of many months of travel, can add up to a nice discount.