This year, you can optimize your travel to meet your personal or corporate goals. However, you can seek solace amid growing need to cut costs by prioritising your travel plans according to your budget, in a way that the falling naira will work in your favour. It is no longer five-star hotels, and world-class restaurants as usual, except if you have the means.
Of course, you can travel on purpose and have a comfortable stay without breaking the bank, even with the weak naira. How, you may ask.
Globally, hotel rates are notoriously blurry. The rack rate quoted on a website is not necessarily the lowest rate available, so it is always worth contacting a hotel directly to ask what their best price is, and then asking whether that really is their best offer. In other words, you should bargain. In doing so, you will save some money at least for chocolate or souvenir.
But the ultimate way to save money on hotel accommodation is to book far ahead of your travel. Then, the hotel may not have many guests engaging its booking machines. “You are sure of good rates when you are booking months ahead to your trip”, Ubong Nseobot, PR/marketing manager, Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel, says.
Planning one’s trip during the low seasons also saves money. “Most hotels in Nigeria hardly sustain good occupancy during low seasons usually from middle of December to early February. At this period, guests can get the best price for the room. That is when most hotel executives prefer to take their annual leave due to low activities in the hotel”, Salami Omobolanle, general manager, Primal Hotel Ikoyi, explains.
By becoming a member of a hotel reward club, you can save lots of money on accommodation. For instance, by becoming a member of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), one is constantly reminded of the hotel’s deals and best prices at all times. At every stay in hotels you are a member of their reward system, you gain points that translate into cheaper accommodation or even discounted flight tickets.
By joining the Pool Club or playing casino at Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos, you earn credits that save money on accommodation in the hotel.
But if you are not a member of a hotel reward system, always look out for special promotions and take advantage of them. Most hotels sell the rooms half the price during promotions.
While room charges are substantial in hotel expenses during travel, there are other charges. Cutting down on your expenses at the restaurants, spa, business centre, and especially bars, helps in keeping you on budget while on trips.
You cannot go for the expensive champagnes, stay longer in luxury spa, order room services, make international calls with the hotel phone, watch x-rated movies without incurring additional bills. If the restaurant is very expensive, ask the locals working in the hotel where they eat when not at work. You will be surprise to explore a good place with good price, and same for bars.
It is normal for hotels to fill the room bar and mini refrigerator with drinks, leaving the price list on the table. Though the prices are very expensive, you should either avoid the temptation of taking drinks from the fridge if you do not budget for it, or drinking and replacing with cheap ones you bought from nearby shopping mall. But it is risky as most hotels do not allow guests to bring food and drinks to the hotel, apart from the ones they serve. There could be food poisoning, and they would claim it was from the food or drinks you brought from outside.
If you are traveling outside the country, choosing apartments over hotels will save you money because apartments are cheaper abroad. If you are loyal to a brand, sometimes you have to try something new to enable you review services and also take better decisions. It is not always a five-star fiesta; you can go for middle level offerings in your cherished hotel brand chain, after all, nobody knows where you sleep on your trip except you tell them.
If you try some of these tips, you will definitely make the most of your stay, and most importantly save money with the impending economic crunch.