3 Ways to Score Last-Minute Hotel Deals

Travel Tips and Trips

StayAtHand app

When I asked a hotelier how people know they’ve received the best rate on a room, he smiled and said “They don’t.” Here are 3 apps and services that put a smile on your face by making it easier to obtain a good hotel rate not just for rooms tonight or tomorrow but also for stays a week or more ahead.

StayAtHand: With this app, last-minute deals are available, but you can also book far in advance. StayAtHand gets you low rates at hotels, plus it allows you to earn loyalty points. That’s because the app books your reservation with the hotel, not through its own service. Doing so makes canceling easier too.

iPhone Screenshot

iPhone Screenshot

You can search for rooms with specific dates, but also without them. You may already know that the Four Seasons in Washington, DC, is on the high end, but you can find out whether or not a room is in your splurge budget when the app returns general rates.

We also like the filters and the map. You can narrow results many ways, including by maximum daily price, hotel ratings, amenities, and services such as fitness centers, pet friendly rooms, on-site restaurants, indoor pools, and bars; as well as by location (downtown, airport, or other). The interactive map enables you to see just how high the rates may be in the heart of downtown and how you can save dollars by staying a few blocks away.

Hotel TonightHotelTonight:  HotelTonight’s credo is “We believe in planning less and living more.” While catering to the millennial mindset of last-minute everything, the lodging app features same-day and next-day rates, but also lets you book 7 days in advance. That feature enables those who do a little looking ahead to find the app useful. Filters are limited and appear after the list of available properties pops up.  Military, AAA, and other discounts cannot be applied.

Be aware that most of the time, you won’t know the specific type of room reserved for you—standard, deluxe, suite—until you check in. If you cancel, you do not get your money back.

iPad Screenshot

iPad Screenshot

TingoTingo: Not just for last-minute bookings, Tingo works for same-day or far-ahead bookings. The lodging site differentiates itself by promising to rebook your room at a lower rate if the price drops, automatically refunding the difference to you. The room you book must be a “Price Drop” room. Click on “Why Tingo?” and get a list of answers in the form of how much money back clients received. Tingo lists the average price drop as $53.18 and the largest refund as $1,034.10 in San Francisco. Of course, you don’t know the original booking’s length or number of days, but a $1,000 refund remains impressive.

Reserve online at www.tingo.com or by phone, 888-897-0887. Tingo, like HotelTonight and many other third-party sites, cannot apply military, AAA or other discounts to the rates they offer so be sure to compare with the hotel’s site.

Photos courtesy MD Magazine

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