Consumer Reports Explains the Art of the Hotel Deal

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When negotiating hotel deals in this lagging economy, the customer is king and should act accordingly. At least that's the gist of a new Consumer Reports article on newsstands this June and available now online, which lays out the hotel lowdown on how to get the lowest rates possible and select the best-quality hotel for your money.

Compiled from a survey of more than 27,000 readers who reviewed their experiences at 48 hotel franchises, the report offers helpful hints on how to get the best value for your next hotel stay, whether you're booking a suite at the Ritz-Carlton or bedding down at a Best Western.

Discount websites like Priceline and Hotwire are still a solid bet for landing a "surefire deal," the survey finds, with respondents paying an average daily rate of $80 for a discounted room at an upscale hotel. Other websites like Travelocity and Hotels.com are better for promotional deals and as a way to browse comparable prices for hotels.

If you prefer to book a room over the phone or in person, don't simply ask for the best available rate, says Consumer Reports. Also ask about AAA discounts, limited specials and package deals, as well as the "cheapest nonrefundable rate" to negotiate the lowest price possible.

Haggling for a lower rate after you book can also be worth the hassle, the survey finds. 80 percent of respondents that requested a lower rate were rewarded with either a discount or room upgrade. In addition to strategies for locking low prices on hotel rooms, the report also rates the best (and worst) hotels for their price category, and such findings as who has the most comfortable beds according to Consumer Report readers.

For more tips and tricks on how to get the lowest hotel rates, check out the full report here.
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