1. You can get the best rate by calling the hotel's local number, not the 800 number. Ask to speak to the Manager on Duty, Director of Sales or the GM, they have the authority to negotiate room rates.
2. Rooms are more expensive in the morning. The best time of day to make a reservation by phone is right after 6 pm. This is when hotels wipe out all the no-show reservations that were unsecured by a credit card. They can offer those rooms at bargain rates.
3. Everything is negotiable. Think parking is overpriced? If the lot looks half empty, offer less than the daily rate. Planning to make a lot of local calls? Some hotels offer a per-day flat fee for long distance in the US and local calling (usually $9.95) but you may ask for it.
4. Rooms are available even when a hotel has no vacancies. In any large hotel, a few rooms are usually listed as "out of order" at any given time. The problems might be something as simple as a stain on the carpet or a chair that has been sent out for repairs. If you're desperate for a last-minute room in a hotel that claims to have non available, tell the manager you are willing to take an out-of-order room with a minor problem.
5. It pays to tip the housekeeper everyday. Exchange a few pleasant words with the housekeeper if you see him/her and leave a $2 or $3 tip each day. You'll get better service. Housekeepers are overworked, underpaid and underappreciated in hotels. Knowing the housekeeper also reduces the chances that your room will be burglarized. Dishonest housekeepers are less likely to target guests they have met. (more tips at www.NewTravelAdventures.com)