Last Updated on June 6, 2024 by Elizabeth

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Frequent travelers know that not every hotel guest pays the same price for the same room category. The hotel rate can depend on a variety of factors, including how and when you booked. To be certain that you’re paying the lowest possible hotel price, you must first understand how to comparison shop properly. Here’s how to find out if you are paying the lowest hotel price—and make sure that rate will still be the cheapest by the time you check in.

How to Comparison Shop for a Cheap Hotel Rate

When searching online—on the hotel’s own website or a major booking site—the rate you see is never what you’re going to end up paying. That’s because these websites display the base hotel rate before taxes and fees, which can often add more than 25% to your costs.

To get the true picture of what you’ll actually pay, you must travel down the sales funnel to the point just before you book the room and secure the reservation.

Case Study: Finding a Cheap Hotel Rate in Boston

We recently heard from a happy customer who did the legwork. Marjorie B. of Chapel Hill, North Carolina was planning an overnight in Boston in mid June. She was looking for a mid-range hotel within a few miles of the Hynes Convention Center and settled on the Doubletree by Hilton in downtown Boston.

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Marjorie went to the hotel’s website to check prices and found a flexible, fully refundable rate of $279. But when she clicked through the booking process, she discovered that taxes and fees would add $45.90, bringing the true total cost to $324.90.

Next, Marjorie turned to HotelSlash for a quote at the same Doubletree by Hilton property for the same dates. She received an email with a quote of $302—and that sum included taxes and fees. That’s a savings of 7% without breaking a sweat.

Importantly, Marjorie booked a fully refundable rate because she wanted HotelSlash to automatically track her reservation for price drops. If HotelSlash finds a better deal before Marjorie arrives in Boston, we’ll shoot her an email so she can re-book and pay even less.

Golden Rules for Finding the Cheapest Hotel Rate

There are two big takeaways. First, to get a true price comparison for your hotel stay, you must compare apples to apples. When you visit most booking platforms, that means going beyond the topline price that is displayed. You need to see all taxes and fees, including any hidden fees payable at the hotel or resort.

Here at HotelSlash, we’re committed to being as transparent as possible.

Future Price Protection to Get the Cheapest Hotel Rate

The second takeaway is that prices are not stagnant. Not only does HotelSlash offer travelers members-only, discounted rates, we also offer price protection.

Just like car rental prices, hotel rates go up and down. You want to ensure that you’ve still got the best deal tomorrow, or next week, or the day before you check into your hotel.

Not only will HotelSlash find you the lowest rate at the time you book, but we keep re-pricing your reservation daily to ensure that you don’t leave any money on the table. If we find a better deal, or possibly an upgraded room or amenities, we’ll alert you by email so you can re-book and save even more. It’s like price protection for your hotel booking.