Waiting until last minute to book hotel can save money

November 30, 2011 2:12:44 PM PST
The holidays are some of the busiest time of the year for hotels, but there are still chances for great bargains for travelers.

In fact the next week or two are the sweet spot for last minute hotel deals

It comes down to smart bidding, good negotiating and keeping a firm grip on expenses, even after you've checked in.

Hotels use deep discounts to attract last-minute travelers, so wait it out if you can. And remember that price isn't everything.

Check sites like www.priceline.com and www.hotwire.com less than 20 days out. The closer you get to your arrival date, the better the deal offered.

But it's just as important to keep an eye on the bottom line once you're checked in.

The hotel industry has learned from the airlines, and has found millions of new dollars in added fees.

Those can include room service delivery charges and built in gratuities. But remember, by law, hotels are required to disclose all charges on an itemized bill, if you request one.

Last but not least, remember hotel loyalty programs. Joining can get you some perks and discounts that aren't available to other guests.