Booking into a hotel, especially a hotel in a big city like Toronto, is a big expense - one that often prevents people from taking the vacations they want to take. But there is an option besides never going on vacation and ending up in camping in your back yard: do your homework and find out about special rates the hotel may be able to offer you so you can better afford your stay. It never hurts to ask. Here are some common situations where hotels might grant special rates.

Group Rates

If you're booking a stay at a hotel for a group of people, you may be able to get a discounted rate. Most hotels have special rates for groups, but the requirements for the size of the group and the number of rooms vary. A conference attendee could certainly get a discounted rate, but a family reunion group might be a bit iffy. The thing to remember about group rates is that you must always ask for them, and sometimes you can even wrangle special concessions and services out of the hotel too.

Member Rates

If you're a retail supplier who frequently travels in order to visit the stores you do business with, you're probably a member of an organization such as the CAA. CAA members usually qualify for discounts on hotel rates. Some hotels also offer their own members programs that you can look into. Other types of organizations who can get discounts from certain hotels include unions, governments, military, companies who have business relationships with the hotel, and travel agencies, both online and offline. Always ask.

Off-Season Rates

If you can't afford to travel in the summertime, which is when most tourists and visitors come to Toronto, you may want to consider taking your shopping or pleasure trip at a different time of year. The decor and clothes you're after at the mall will be the same price in October or March, but the hotel rates will be significantly cheaper. Some hotels quote their high season rate on the website, so ask when you call what their off season rates are.

Last-Minute Rates

An empty hotel room actually costs a hotel money instead of earning them money, so often hotels are eager to be as full as they can. If you're coming into town for a last minute meeting, and you arrive at the hotel later at night, you can often negotiate a discount from the hotel or book online through a site like HotWire.

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