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Five ways to get the best hotel deals in any season

piggybank_360.pngWhether you’re planning a long weekend getaway with the family or a mid-week retreat under the guise of being sick from work (it’s okay, we won’t tell), keep costs down by snagging a great deal on your hotel room. Even though sites like Travelocity say they’ve got your back with a low price guarantee and most hotels promise the lowest published rates when booking direct, you can find even better deals on private sale websites and via other booking engines.

Here are five ways to snag the best hotel deals in any season:

  1. Check up on daily deal sites. Both Groupon and LivingSocial post deals on hotels and vacation packages every day, serving up deep discounts on brand name hotels and resorts. If you can be flexible with travel dates and are up for an adventure with a last-minute trip, score an all-inclusive Caribbean retreat or beach vacation on the coast of Florida with Groupon’s Last Minute Travel Deals. LivingSocial escapes features hotel and resort deals with perks like dining credits and wine experiences.
  2. Consider a last-minute trip. If you are in a position to pick up and leave a week from today, check out sites like where you can reserve a room with a pre-negotiated rate. Hotels often sell these rooms to sites like this at a discounted rate rather than having the rooms sit empty. You generally won’t find a comparable price on the hotel’s own website, or even on third-party travel booking engines.
  3. Get flash-sale savvy. Flash sales can be another great way to find a great deal on that luxury vacation you would have spent a few month’s saving for. Jetsetter can help you find the best price on hotels and vacation homes around the globe — including that luxury resort in Thailand or hacienda in Nicaragua.
  4. Sign up for hotel email newsletters. If you’re a hotel chain snob or just want to earn some rewards points for freebies and discounts on future stays, keep up with your favorite hotel or brand by signing up for an email newsletter. You may be privy to exclusive discounts and special offers that you won’t find on other sites. Sign up for rewards membership programs (most are free) to earn points with each stay and cash out those points on the next trip.
  5. Make it a mystery. Booking sites including Hotwire, Priceline, and even Expedia feature unpublished rate hotels by destination. If you like surprises, check out the latest offerings on these sites to book your hotel and save up to 50% or more on standard rates. You’ll be given very limited information about the hotel but can make your choice based on star ratings and location. Take a chance and save big with a secret hotel while tapping in to your adventurous side.

Have any money-saving travel tips to share? Post your strategy in the comments.