When traveling, most of us try to find the best deals for hotels. Hotels and lodging options often take a big bite out of your travel budget but finding deals are usually quite a challenge. Going through many comparison websites just to find the best deal can be time-consuming, though the worst part can be the fluctuating prices.
The main reason why it’s nearly impossible to pin down that elusive good deal is that those comparison websites usually track the location you’re accessing the site from. From this tracking, the sites give you prices based on where you browse from and demand the rate in your specific region. (Flight websites are the same, but you can also find deals on them with a VPN.)
Comparison websites track your location using:
- Cookies – Cookies track and store your browsing history, which allows comparison sites to detect when you query the search engines for the same search item several times and as such increase the price of available hotels.
- IP Address – Your IP address also known as Internet Protocol, is the easiest way travel sites are able to detect your location and therefore serve you different hotel prices accordingly.
- Mobile tracking – The GPS feature on your mobile device, like your smartphone or tablet, can indicate your location. If you are browsing travel sites from your mobile device you will likely see different prices depending on your location.
- Wi-Fi – If you give websites permission, they will be able to detect your location using your Wi-Fi.
Here’s how to save money on hotels
August is a big month for summer holidays and travel. We decided to check out staying at a luxury hotel, The Goring, in London. This five-star hotel is right next to Westminster Palace, the hub of United Kingdom and right on the doorstep of the Queen herself.
If this place seems a little too pricey, don’t worry. What we’re showing you can be used with any hotel.
We decided to stay for a week from August 11th to 18th on our fictional holiday and the prices below are per day of stay. Here is the original cost of staying at The Goring for one adult:
As you can see, £475 per night for one adult is quite steep even with the promotional offer of 11% off but is the best price available with free cancellation.
Browse from a lower income country
Using a VPN, set your IP address to a lower income country and watch the price difference. For example, if you set your IP address to a server in Indonesia whilst browsing the comparison site Kayak, you will see the prices in the native Indonesian currency. Quickly Google the exchange rate to find out the cost.
A single night’s stay at The Goring costs 8,078,384 Rupiah. However exchanged into GBP, that becomes £470, £5 lower than the original price. It isn’t much, but it adds up over the week stay.
However, if we were to change our IP address to the USA, the price changes again.
When we exchange currencies from USD to GBP we find that the price has gone down from the original £475 to £392, which is a saving of a whopping £83 per day. Over the week that adds up to £581 saved! Whilst in London that can be turned into a shopping spree or a luxurious few days at a spa. Even though the timing for the bookings is the same, the prices vary from the original.
Although browsing from lower income countries typically results in lower hotel rates, it is not always true. Take for example Greece, which has been hit with increasing amounts of debt since the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Greece recently joined the European Union and in doing so rid itself of its former currency and now uses the Euro.
When we exchange the currency of the Euro to GBP the price actually increases by £1. It is not a monumental increase, but you don’t want to be spending more if you don’t have to.
The greatest saving we found happened to be using an Argentinian server:
When we exchanged the Argentinian Peso to GBP we found the price to be £387, which is an even greater saving of £88 per day. This low price is also because of the promotional offer of 18% off as can be seen above.
Not only have we saved due to the currency exchange, but we also saved from a promotional offer on the comparison site itself. Double win! With prices like these, staying in a luxury five-star hotel in the middle of London just got more affordable.
When quoting hotel prices, comparison sites consider your location, the currency you pay with along with the point of sale, and other factors. It is common for customers in different countries using different currencies to see different prices for the hotel.
It goes without saying that if you are looking to save money on hotel bookings, without wasting too much time going through the different sites for a good deal, your best bet is to simply hide your location using a VPN.
Alternative ways of saving money on Hotels
Clear your browsing history
As mentioned earlier, comparison sites track your location and browsing history based on the cookies stored in your browser. They take that information and adjust the prices accordingly. Clearing your cookies and browsing data can help to reset those prices and allow you to see the initial booking cost of your hotel.
However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to secure the cheaper prices you seek, just as if you were browsing anonymously using a private browser session or VPN. It may be beneficial to use the international version of a comparison site e.g. (.co.uk) for Britain or (.in) for India to see different price quotes for hotel bookings, so you may get lucky.
Choose Off-Peak times of the year
If you are more concerned with saving money rather than the time of year you’d like to book your hotel stay, consider booking a hotel during off-peak periods.
Off-peak periods tend to be during the school term as well as when there isn’t a public holiday coming up. Choosing these times to book your hotel getaway can significantly lower the price you’re offered compared to when everyone else is also booking their hotels at peak times.
Is it legal?
If you’re worried about the legalities of using a VPN to book your hotels, rest assured thatcomparison sites don’t have a problem with this. These sites quote different prices for customers in different locations and browsing with a VPN can help you take advantage of these differences and make a considerable saving.
Looking for a good VPN to save money on hotels? Check out our top VPNs.
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