First of all, be aware of the fact that there are sites and offices advertising services labeled as "last minute", even though, they aren't. This label is often used because the potential buyers are attracted by the idea of finding discounted services. Companies falsely presenting their offer literally cheat them by calling ordinary budget travel services "last minute". Avoid the scams, avoid the traps!
Hotel rates can shrink more than 50 % quite often, sometimes they get reduced with 75 %. Imagine that huge discount! What a bargain!
So, how can you find the cheapest rates on hotels, if you're willing to book late in order to save?
There are a few tricks, techniques, things to know...
Sites like HotelClub.net, Expedia.com, LastMinute.com, RatesToGo.com publish fresh discounted hotel deals. Check their list to find quality accommodation for less than ordinarily! The idea is to check the "last minute"-labeled list and compare prices. Even the rates of Radisson SAS and Hilton may drop over 50-60 % or more, if you're lucky.
Here's another tip: travel off-season to places where you can find prestigious 3-4 or even 5 start hotels, go for the business hotel and the other fine service-providers with great amenities. In winter you will spend less in Germany or in France, but prices in the cold parts of the USA also drop. The less business events, the colder the weather, the more off-season and generally, the closer to the major winter holidays, the higher the possibility that some astounding bargain pops up! That's when rates fall around 50 %, sometimes 75 %.
Book hotel together with rental car reservation or book together with flight ticket. The two together might cost less than the flight bought alone, in advance! Sometimes you'd get a free hotel reservation attached to the flight. There packages are also great bargains!
Sign up for newsletters and social media channels of travel agents and specialized sites, then you will receive periodical discount notifications into your account. This will take time, but you will be "hit" with promotions...
Access official hotel sites. Either hotel chains (like Radisson SAS, Ibis, Ramada etc.) or individual hotels (find hotels that you consider adequate) periodically publish discount offers, if they could not fill enough rooms. You will be surprised that sometimes they will advertise smaller rates on the official hotel sites, whereas on the booking engines the prices may be higher.
Found an offer somewhere? Is that the end? No, that's not the last price! For instance, if you came across an advantageous rate on Booking.com, keep in mind the name of the specific hotel and try looking for similar deals on other sites: Travelocity.com, RatesToGo.com etc. Merchants tend to have their own independent offers for the exact same hotel. Select the cheapest offer for the same hotel! Rates will differ from site to site also because they don't have the same commissions.
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