I have obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to saving on hotels. When I travel for work, I book 95 percent of the hotels I stay in through Priceline.com or Hotwire.com and save anywhere from 35 to 60 percent off the usual price.
Though before I ever place a bid on either site, I have a complicated system that involves checking related message boards to get a feel for what other people are bidding. Then I have a set process I go through when bidding that's very methodical and boring to some. As I've tried to explain it over the years, I just seem to create more confusion among people!
Now there's a new free website called BiddingTraveler.com that has automated the process that I do manually. With BiddingTraveler.com, you pick the town where you want to stay and your dates of travel. Then you set the minimum you're willing to bid and the maximum you're willing to bid, plus you identify any neighborhoods in the area you're not willing to occupy.
BiddingTraveler.com can do in 3 minutes or less what takes me 15 or 20 minutes (for select cities). It is far superior to the way I have always booked my own rooms.
Meanwhile, a lot of people travel for business and there's a particular site that I really like called QuikBook.com for that purpose. With this discount hotel reservation site, you get access to the equivalent of corporate negotiated hotel rates at a lower price than you would normally an individual.
Now QuikBook.com is even experimenting with a Hotwire-like model, where they have mystery rooms where you don't find out which hotel you're getting until after you pay non-refundable money. But again, you can get these at a price that's a fraction of what it would sell for otherwise. Give it a try!
For more money-saving tips, visit ClarkHoward.com. Money in Your Pocket. Advice You Can Trust.