Finding Accommodation Bargains
Everyone wants the best value for money on vacation, and as accommodation will be one of your biggest costs, saving even a little money per night can make a big saving overall.
There is little in the way of cheap accommodation available in Ireland, but there are ways to get deals that will result in considerable savings without resorting to poor quality accommodation.
Many of Ireland’s 4 star hotels are not filling up, there is vastly increased capacity over previous years and good deals to be had. Don’t overlook these hotels – at the moment they can be almost as cheap as a B&B if you search for special offers.
1. Book as Late as Possible
If you are prepared to live dangerously, leave your booking right to the last minute.
In fact the danger is tiny, even in high season it is very unlikely that you will find nowhere to lay your head for the night – though you do run a very slight risk of the occasional night in a dump.
In low season there is very little or no risk involved unless there is a special event or a festival taking place at your destination.
2. Travel Off Season
Not everyone has this option, but it will result in considerable savings. Many of Ireland’s best hotels have bargain breaks available between October and April, which typically comprise 3 nights bed and breakfast with dinner on 2 nights for little more than you would pay for a single night in high season.
If you are travelling off season, do not book accommodation more than a few days in advance unless you absolutely must stay in a particular hotel – there will be lots of last minute availability.
There are a number of ways to track down these deals:
- Browse through hotel websites, bookmark those you like and and check their special offer pages regularly
- Some hotels advertise deals aimed at the Irish market, not in places visitors are likely to find them. There are some everyday on the back page of the Irish Times newspaper, if you can get hold of a copy do so
- Ask. Call the hotels and ask have they any package deals for those staying a few nights during the off season
3. Upgrade Midweek
This applies all year round but is especially effective off season. If you plan to mix your accommodation, with a few nights in special (ie expensive!) hotels or castles, book those nights midweek when the hotel is less busy.
If you are not happy with the deal you are getting online, call and ask what their best price is. If you are planning to stay two or three midweek nights this will get you some excellent deals.
4. Upgrade at Weekends
In cities and in hotels used mainly by business people the opposite advice applies – the best rates are available at weekends.
5. Use Insider Jargon
If you ask in the right way there are often unexpected bargains available.
- Ask for the “rep rate” (country hotels) or “corporate rate” (city hotels)
These are rates offered to business users and sales representatives, who since they stay in hotels frequently and are more likely to result in repeat business for the hotel than a tourist. For this reason they are often quoted better rates.
- Staying more than one night?
If you plan to use the same hotel for more than one night ask “Do you have a DBB rate?” DBB is jargon for “Dinner, Bed and Breakfast” and will this rate is usually considerably less than the price of these purchased separately.
- Leaving Early?
Irish hotel rates almost always include breakfast. If you are leaving early or do not plan to eat breakfast at the hotel ask for a room-only rate.
- Ask for an executive upgrade
If you are happy with the rate quoted ask if you can have an executive upgrade to a better room.
Tell the booking agent if you are travelling on honeymoon or celebrating a special event such as a birthday or anniversary. You will often be given an upgraded room or extra goodies in your room.
6. Be Over 55!
Some of you may have to wait a while for these deals, but many hotels offer special “golden years” prices for over 55′s – ask when you call or email if there are any available. These rates are not always available in July or August, but are widely available and remarkable value at other times.
Many 4 and 5 star hotels charge a premium because they have an excellent golf, a signature spa or other leisure facilities. Guests who are touring and staying only one night in a hotel very often have no interest in these extras, but they still pay the premium.
There are many excellent three and four star hotels which apart from the lack of extensive leisure facilities are indistinguishable from more expensive ones. If you will not be availing of leisure facilities, find accommodation that has none or few and you will save a pretty penny.
8. Don’t Overlook Hostels
Hostels are not what they used to be. Many now have comfortable double rooms or family rooms with private bathrooms in addition to the dorm accomodation you would expect. And they can be very, very cheap, much less than even a B&B.