6 Great Tips For Finding Cheap Hotel Rates

During any tour to any destination, two things make up the bulk of your expenses: travel and accommodations. Therefore to eke out any savings from the trip you will have to invest a lot of time and effort on finding cheap hotel rates to keep your expenses low and your smiles up.

While looking for cheap hotel rates, keep the following tips in mind.

1. Location is everything – Hotel rates vary from place to place depending on its location. You will have to ask yourself if where your balance lies: convenience or price. Most convenient locations in any city will have hotels sporting rates in the upwards range in any market.

Some less accessible areas will offer lesser rates. However, you will have to decide for yourself whether the inconvenience is worth the price. If you are pretty familiar with the area you are traveling to, then locations with lesser rates in less accessible or attractive locations will be less of an issue for you.

However, if you are traveling to an area for the first time, you will have to think twice about staying at a location that is a little inconvenient.

2. Schedule is also everything – The basic law of supply and demands states that the more the demand, the more expensive the item will be. The same is true for hotel rates, if demand for a travel destination is high, then you are bound to spend more money.

So if you are planning to stay away from home, try to make your hotel reservations for off-peak seasons. Hotel rates during peak season can be as much as three times more than regular rates. This alone is reason enough to look to reserve during off-peak seasons.

3. Amenities – Some hotels are pricier because they offer amenities that, while great for those looking for extravagance, are useless to some travelers. If you can live without some of these amenities, then you could consider looking for hotels that are cheaper because they do not offer these amenities.

4. Negotiate – Most front desk personnel are personable and can give good advice on getting better rates at their hotels. Negotiate with them to get good discounts for your stay.

If you are staying for more than a week, then you might want to ask if they offer lower rates for longer stays. Also ask if they have special promos during the period of your stay that you can take advantage of.

5. Search online – Comparing rates, amenities, and location is easier nowadays because of the power of the internet. The internet makes searching for good rates on good hotels easy and painless.

The good thing about internet hotel hunting is that most hotel search websites show prices for rooms, amenities, location, and best of all, user reviews of the hotel itself. This will give you a better idea of what to expect when checking in with a hotel for the first time.

6. The power of a Travel Agent – Travel agents have good contacts among hotel chains and can get discounts on reservations thus made. If you choose to have a travel agent help you get a good hotel, then make sure that the service fee you pay them does not make going through an agent more expensive then making the reservation yourself.

The Year That Was – Hotel and Travel Industry in 2009

The year 2009 was a year of ups and downs for hotels in particular and the global travel industry in general. There were many events and developments that helped shape the outlook of the hotel industry over the past 12 months. Let us take a look back at 2009 and identify these developments.

Who can forget the global H1N1 virus scare that rocked the world? Some surveys suggest that many travelers will be more concerned about germs and health-related issues in general, thanks to the outbreak of the H1N1 virus. This has thankfully led to more stringent measures and health awareness on the part of the establishments.

The global recession was clearly still in effect the whole year round, and there will even be some repercussions heading into 2010. There are still some significant properties and establishments being shopped and sold. However, it should be noted that, while some companies have been selling their hotels, there are those that are utilizing the sale to expand their core properties. That is a positive sign, showing growth and a willingness to expand despite the continued pinch given by the recession.

In 2009, eco-tourism and eco-friendly destinations started taking the spotlight, as both the travelers and the various establishments have become more and more environmentally conscious. Destinations such as Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland are the top dogs when it comes to eco-friendly places to visit. The hotels in such countries also benefit tremendously because of the influx of travelers, and a lot of them have already adopted an eco-friendly mentality to go with the times.

Of course, there are also many hotel groups-from smaller-scale local establishments to big chains of luxury hotels-who have re-evaluated their business approach and have made changes to their various investment strategies. This is a wise move, still in line with managing the costs and income in an economic landscape that still is not as stable as desired.

Another trend in 2009 was an increased patronage for online travel services, such as booking sites and aggregators that really are a big help to travelers. Still, traditional booking occupies a significant chunk of the pie, even with online services gaining some headway over the past year.

Some establishments, from hotels to apartments to luxury spas, have shown a diminishing level of performance in the middle of the year. The good thing is that some of them have been able to recover quite nicely and gain back some lost ground-and some lost ratings-to get back on track.

There are indications that leisure spending on the side of the travelers will go up in 2010, and that is a definite plus for the hotel industry. More people willing to spend more money translate to more business opportunities for hotels and other members of the hospitality industry.

All in all, it was another year and another step to recovery in 2009. Things are shaping up quite nicely for 2010, and hopefully, hotels and their respective managements learned a lot in the past year and start to apply them in order to flip the script this coming year.

5 Best Restaurants in London

When you are in London, you are bound to be confused about where to have your lunch or dinner. One choice you definitely have is the Subway or McDonalds. However, if you want to enjoy your meals leisurely with good ambiance, here is a list of best restaurants in London. Most of these restaurants mentioned here cater to all types of budgets. They not only excel in the variety of cuisines they have, but also in service and ambiance. Read on to see which one of these best restaurants in London you would select to enjoy your meals.

1) Hereford Road

Until 1997, British cuisine wasn’t nearly as popular as today. Tom Pemberton was one of them who propelled the British cuisine into highlight with this restaurant. Located on 3 Hereford Road, this restaurant offers bold, British cooking for its customers. The menu changes here regularly (on a daily basis). The common ingredients here are lamb’s sweetbreads, calves’ kidneys and brains, and British puddings.

2) Hawksmoor Seven Dials

This restaurant is located on 11 Langley Road in the Coventry Garden location and a truly sensational one. Though the entrance is slightly hidden, once you enter this restaurant, you will feel as if it is a century old restaurant. The surprising part is that the restaurant was opened only near the end of 2010. The quality of meat is far better than the expensive Mayfair steak restaurants. If you are willing to part with nearly £50 per ahead, this is a restaurant can provide you quite a pleasant experience.

3) Gordon Ramsay’s The Savoy Grill

The Savoy, located on The Strand and a few steps away from Coventry Garden, is forming a part of the Gordon Ramsay Empire of restaurants. The Savoy Grill is located inside the Savoy Hotel and dates back to 1889. It was recently restored back to its former glory. The menu here is inspired by the by the classic dishes of Britain and France. The selection of meats such as Roe deer venison and Herdwick mutton cutlets is outstanding,

4) Le Gavroche

Le Gavroche from Michael Roux Jr. is a “toptable Best Food award” winner and a holder of two Michelin stars. Located in the heart of Mayfair with an unimposing doorway, the restaurant offers you a typical country house atmosphere just before you enter the classically designed main restaurant. This restaurant is unpretentious and offers you some of the best French food UK can provide.

5) Mezzanine Restaurant

The Mezzanine Restaurant presents to you some of the best seasonal modern European cuisine London has to offer. Located on the Southbank and inside the famous National Theatre, this restaurant overlooks the River Thames. It is a more formal, chic and stylish dining room whose specialty is the Pre theatre dining. The restaurant is conveniently situated for visitors to the National Theatre and is also a hit among the local foodies.

Now that I have mentioned some of the best restaurants in London, where do you prefer to eat the next time you are in London?