One of the things I’ve noticed through my many travels is that people often give up on the possibility of a good deal before even trying to get one. The art of bartering seems to be a lost art as is the art of comparison-shopping. When it comes to travel and vacation, every penny that you save on accommodations, food, and transportation is one more penny you have to spend on entertainment and adventure.
There are certainly plenty of both to be had in the wonderful city of New York and a vacation here is much like Alice’s adventures in wonderland. There is just so much to do and see that it is almost impossible to know where to begin. I recommend making arrangements to save money before ever arriving in the city. One of the ways you can do that is by investing a little time each evening and making copious notes about whom you’ve talked to where and what they’ve had to offer you as far as price and perks for accommodations.
Most hotels today are quite willing to offer incentives to their guests in order to have warm bodies filling their beds. All good managers know that a filled bed earns them more money than empty beds under their care and the more money earned under their care, the more secure their positions. That being said, if you take wonderful notes about the other hotels you’ve discussed tentative arrangements with you are very likely to be able to strike a deal with one or more of them that is far more favorable then the original deal offered.
This of course, will not work if you are trying for a weekend that is likely to be a popular travel weekend so if you’re considering a popular holiday or extended weekend for your trip this is probably not the best idea and you should probably be glad for any offer you can find. That being said almost any other weekend on the planet is fair game unless there are some very large and popular local events that may be drawing a sell out crowd for the local hotel industry.
Back to what I was saying, you can often not only get a better price by going between two competing hotels, but also added perks like tickets to shows, free meals, spa packages at the hotels spa, gift certificates to the hotel gift store. There are often little things a manager is willing to do in order to get your business with the assumption (often correct I might add) that he will make up the differences in add-ons and other purchases.
Some managers may get annoyed and confuse being frugal with being cheap. Please remember to tip properly. It’s one thing to save money by being frugal and another thing to do so by simply being cheap. If you do not treat the staff well they will remember you long after you’re gone. But that’s another story all together. The trick is in always being polite when dealing with managers on the phone and going with your best deal.
It is also important that you realize the best deal may not be in the cheapest room. If you’re getting one or two meals each day of your staying and only paying $5 0r $10 more a day for the privilege then you are very well coming out ahead in the bargain, particularly if one of those meals is dinner.