Updated on March 15, 2019
Anyone who tries to use widely-available real-time travel booking sites can’t help but come away with the feeling that there’s something going on that they don’t know about.
They always advertise specific “deals” that come and go in a flash, people come by spectacular deals in the strangest places, and worst of all, you never know what determines these rapid price changes. You never get to see prices go up and down anywhere else like this – except maybe in the stock market. And that’s another place you have suspicions about. You’re always aware that there’s something out there that if you only knew about it, could score you that deal of a lifetime. How else do you explain the people who claim to get discount luxury hotel rooms for £99 a night?
Well, as it would happen, your suspicions aren’t far off the mark. When it comes to that discount luxury hotel room, there are websites that cater only to insiders. They call them luxury lodging sites; they offer members huge discounts on rooms that luxury hotels try to offload because aren’t able to sell them (thanks to the recession, presumably).
That doesn’t sound very exclusive, you’re saying. If these are member-only sites, can’t anyone go and sign up? Some of these websites do let anyone in who has an e-mail address; others require that you come in with an invitation. Often, these services are run by the discount luxury clothing websites – places like Gilt.com and Ideeli.com – places that try to give regular people a chance at the high life at a reasonable price.
Membership to most of these sites is free – if the memberships are by invitation only. The invitations usually just arrive in your e-mail if you’re lucky. They then send you deals over e-mail from time to time. But you can usually just request an invitation and you should get one in a week or two. Signing up to follow their Twitter account can be a way to get past the bouncer too. You can also just Google for invitations and find websites that are giving them away.
When you actually have a membership, do you get great discount luxury hotel deals just like that? You certainly do. On average, you get 50% off lots of high-end hotels. Sometimes you can get 75% off –£110 for a great Caribbean resort, £99 for a great hotel in London and Paris, and so on, hotels like The Craighaar Hotel offer great discounts on beautiful rooms. Sometimes, they tell you what your hotel is, and at other times they just describe it without giving you a specific name. In general, there are usually two dozen hotel offers at any time.
These deals come and go quickly – most of them stay for a couple of days only. And you have to be willing to travel on specific dates. If you can live with traveling on their schedule and not yours, you could end up saving hundreds on a vacation.