Compare consolidators, such as
Orbitz.com and Travelocity.com, or the guaranteed-low-price New
York hotel search engine www.nycvisit.com
. You may also get a
better rate by calling the hotel directly and asking for the
manager on duty. "They're the ones who can cut you a deal," says
Geenberg. "Call on Sunday, the one day when the people in charge of
yield management aren't in. The guy on the phone just wants to sell
you a room. The only better time is to walk in at 10 p.m. to a
half-full hotel. They'll make you a deal."
Book an apartment.
If you'll be in town for a week or more,
stay in an apartment. You'll save on room rates and on meals
because you'll have a kitchen. In some instances, apartment rentals
require no minimum stay.
SETTING THE SCHEDULE
Time big meetings for the slow season.
Hotels drop their
rates up to 70 percent in December and in early to mid-January. If
you can, plan your annual sales meeting, your yearly strategy
session, or your industry get-together for this time of year.
Skip the overnight.
Pack more into a day by arriving on the
earliest flight, finishing your meetings by midafternoon, then
heading home. You can shave the duration even further by renting
rooms at airport business centers such as Admirals Club Executive
Centers (in Dallas/Fort Worth, New York LaGuardia, San Francisco,
and Chicago O'Hare, call 800-237-7971) or Wayport (www.wayport.com
, rooms around $60 an
hour at Atlanta's Hartsfield).
Use public transit.
Rapid rail can whiz you from airport to
hotel in many large cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, D.C.,
Philadelphia, Cleveland, and St. Louis. "It's a godsend when you're
flying past everyone else as they're stuck in traffic," says Nulty.