Try a bidding site
Opaque rates can save you up to 60% if you book a bit blindly
Opaque rates on lodging allows you to save significantly so long as you are willing to wait on learning all the details until after you've committed to pay for the hotel.
You are only given the prices, neighborhoods, and star ratings of the properties (a few dozen in big city like London, a handful to a half dozen in a smaller town like Oxford or Bath).
The actual name and address of the hotel doesn't come until after you've given them your credit card info and paid for it—but the savings can be huge. Take the results of this recent random search I performed:
Hotwire's "hot rates" offered double rooms in central London as follows:
- Five-star hotels from $187
- Four-star hotels from $73
- Three-star hotels from $40
Priceline's "Express Deals" had these rates on double room in London:
- Five-star hotels from $195
- Four-star hotels from $87
- Four-star condo from $64
- Three-star hotels from $59
- Priceline.com - For both airfares and hotels, offers Express Deals (set prices, up to 60% off). Though in late 2016 they quietly retired the famous option to bid on airfares, you can still "Name Your Own Price" for hotel rooms.Partner
- Hotwire.com - Offers Hot Rates, discounts on flights and hotels where you get the basics (price, deaprture city, and time window for airfares; price, neighborhood, and star rating for hotels), but not the details (actual name of airline/hotel, precise dpearture time), until you make the booking.Partner
- Bidontravel.com - This is the sleekest and most user-friendly interface of these three resources, more of a tip sheet and guided advice than a free-for-all message board (like the others) where the gems are buried between 1,001 postings all asking "Did I get a good deal?" It provides an online guide to gaming both Priceline and Hotwire for the best deals in every travel category: airfare, hotels, rental cars, vacation packages, and last-minute deals.
- Biddingfortravel.com - A message board for Priceline and Hotwire fanatics. The message board forums are packed full of general helpful hints for online auctions.
- Betterbidding.com - Similar to BiddingForTravel.com—another message board format—but a bit more homegrown, plus it has a bunch on Hotwire.com as well as on Priceline.com (in fact, it was started as a Hotwire tips site and later expanded to include Priceline).
Also in Top 12 hotel savings:
- Check the hotel website
- Avoid breakfast
- Share bathrooms
- Share a room
- Stay nearby
- Pay cash
- Sleep for free
- Consider alternative accommodations
- A warning about user reviews