This Old-School Travel Hack Guarantees You’ll Get the Cheapest Rates on Hotel Rooms

There's not an app for it.

Okay, we know it’s 2017 and the things that used to be called “telephones” are now just fancy cameras that also let you fling angry birds into outer space while you wait in the checkout line at the grocery store. Why would anybody deign to “call” a place and “talk” to someone when you can just launch an app and avoid all personal interaction?

We’ll tell you why: Because apps are unfeeling robots and people are emotional beings. And sometimes the best way to get what you want is to appeal to someone’s humanity. (The good news is that the dial out button is technically still an app.)

As it stands, the No. 1 way to get the cheapest hotel rate is still to simply call the establishment on the phone. Travel + Leisure offered some tips and tricks for making sure you’re calling the right number at the right time — and asking for the right things. There is no app for common sense, kids!

Compare dates first.

Use a travel search engine to see what days are offering the best deals, and try to plan around those.

Do your own price comparisons.

Many hotels pay high commissions (up to 30 percent) to appear on online booking sites, so when negotiating, ask for a price 20 percent lower than that.

Don’t call the 800 number.

General numbers only direct you to a chain’s customer service. Call your location directly and have a friendly conversation with a staffer.

Don’t speak in vague terms.

Specifically ask for the “cheapest nonrefundable rate” so the person booking knows you know what you’re talking about.

Do be nice!

This probably won’t affect your rate, but hey, it never hurts to not be a dink!

After all is said and done, you can be confident that you’ve received the lowest price. And if it isn’t as low as you want, you can always try calling a different hotel. Or just use an app and pay more because you’re too scared of turning into your dad.

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