How to Find the Best Accommodation Rates

Planning a new trip is always very exciting, but one of the challenges is to find a nice place to stay for the right value.  When I plan a trip, looking for accommodation is one of the most time consuming parts. I never really liked travel packages, where someone is deciding everything for you, so being an independent-minded traveller I always look for accommodation myself, mostly using the Internet.

Until a few weeks ago I used to log on to either venere.com, booking.com, hostelworld.com, or any other accommodation finder website, and launch a search for accommodation on the dates I was looking for. After I’d shortlisted say two or three places, whether hotels, hostels, guesthouses or B&Bs, I would then go to tripadvisor.com, check their user reviews, make a decision, and finally go back to whichever accommodation site I was using and book the accommodation.

This is a good way to go about looking for accommodation and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, recently I realized that there is a much better way to find the right place to stay at the right price – it involves using tripadvisor right at the beginning, and it allows you to find the best deal. You may already know this trick but many people who didn’t know it may find it useful. I certainly did find it useful so that’s why I’d like to share it with you.

So, here goes – I’ve outlined this five step process below:
  1. Go to tripadvisor and select the city you’re looking to visit and the dates you will be there. Tripadvisor will list the hotels available in that city for the dates you picked.
  2. Refine your search using the Refine Search column on the left hand side of the screen. This set of options will enable you to narrow down hotel class, price range, traveler rating, etc.
  3. Shortlist a number of places and read a sample of the user reviews – this will help you make your list even shorter, if at all possible.
  4. Here comes the best part – When you identify the hotel of your choice, click on the Check Rates button. A number of browser pages will pop up, where each page will bear the rates for that hotel from the most popular accommodation finder websites such as booking.com, venere.com, and hotels.com.
  5. Now you have all those sites open and you can compare their rates. On top of that – and probably websites that offer accommodation search facilities will kill me for that – you can also google the name of the hotel, look for the hotel’s own website and try to figure out what their rates are if you book directly with them. Sometimes you’ll find lower prices when you book without intermediaries.
Now how does that look? Do you have your own method? What websites and tools do you use? Do you have any useful tips to share? Any suggestions are more than welcome.
Happy booking!
  • Dorota

    yes, Im also a great tripadvisor believer! This website is always the first one I visit planning the trips. The other good ones I’d recommend are http://www.wikitravel.org and http://www.virtualtourist.com

    • Emanuele

      Thanks for sharing. We do use wikitravel sometime, but I didn’t know virtualtourist.

  • Cian

    I tend to do something similar, but once I have narrowed down my hotel list I usually check the prices out on travelsupermarket.com – the nice thing here is that they search tonnes of websites and give you all the prices listed on one page rather than the pop ups from tripadvisor. It is better in some regions of the world than others.

    Also I tend to use a site like bethrifty.ie whereby you can get commission for using certain websites. It can make them cheaper again esp. if you can get 10% commission. Bethrifty has worked for us. We got about 200euro todate in commission. Better in my pocket I think!

    • Romana

      Great tips Cian! I’m thinking of updating the post in the future with our new findings and tips we got from other travelers and friends. Thanks for sharing this with us!