Winter travel: 5 expert tips to save on your hotel stay

The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain

With less than two months left in the year, Canadian travellers are eager to take advantage of a vacation before the end of 2022, but on a budget, making popular Black Friday deals particularly attractive.

A survey of 1,000 Canadian travellers by Marriott Bonvoy revealed that while 68 per cent of Canadians are planning a vacation by the end of the year, more than 75 per cent plan to do so on a budget.

With so many destinations and hotels to choose from, whether you're travelling within Canada or abroad, it can get overwhelming to try to nail down the best deal, particularly if you're on a time crunch.

To help in your vacation search, Laura Pallotta, regional vice president of sales and distribution for Marriott International, has curated a list of five helpful tips and tricks to get the most bang for your buck when booking a stay.

1. Book direct

It might be tempting to use online travel aggregator sites to find the best deal, with multiple brands and properties in one place. Even though it's a great idea to shop around, booking directly with the hotel will get you the best deal, in terms of both pricing and perks.

"You not only save on nightly rates, but can receive value added incentives like complimentary breakfast, parking and Wi-Fi at participating properties," Pallotta's tips state.

2. Consider urban centres and business districts

If you're looking to save money on a hotel stay, sometimes a compromise on location can lead to a great deal.

"While financial and business districts are slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown centres, you’ll get the added benefit of quieter weekends, lower rates, and save on bigger suites than those in the downtown core," Pallotta recommends.

3. Take advantage of loyalty programs

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, several avid travellers were left with an accumulation of loyalty points that weren't used as travel was largely halted globally. Now that travel restrictions have loosened, people are taking advantage of those points, cashing them in for "free" or discounted travel, including flights and hotel.

So don't be the person who leaves money on the table by not taking advantage of loyalty programs.

"Not only will you be able to enjoy exclusive discounted rates, you’ll also be able to earn points in a variety of ways," Pallotta's tips state. "Whether it’s through hotel stays, tours, or activities (concert tickets, anyone?), or booking rental cars, you’ll earn points as you go!"

The Josie Autograph Collection - Rossland
The Josie Autograph Collection - Rossland

4. Consider mid-week travel

While long weekends and holidays are popular travel times, with that popularity generally comes a higher price tag.

If you're looking to save on your vacation, mid-week travel is a great option to take advantage of cheaper rates, including popular resort destinations.

"Consider booking a Monday through Thursday in resort destinations to maximize savings," Pallotta advises.

5. Stay longer

It may sound counterintuitive to recommend paying for a longer hotel stay to save money, but in terms of a per night rate, and perks that come with making a reservation, a longer stay can be better.

Check out the hotel's website for any incentives based on a particular length of stay.

For example, Marriott currently has a winter promotion for savings when travellers stay at a hotel for at least five nights, or seven nights at a resort, for a stays until March 31, 2023.

JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District
JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District

Bonus tip: Black Friday/Cyber Week

When it comes to saving on travel, of course you need to take advantage of sales, including Black Friday.

While technically Black Friday doesn't start until Nov. 25, Marriott has announced that the company's deals will be rolled out on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The "Cyber Week" sale will offer Marriott Bonvoy members 20 per cent savings at participating properties from Nov. 22 to "Travel Tuesday" on Nov. 29. Non-members can take advantage of a 15 per cent discount.

Some of the Canadian hotels part of the global sale include Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain, JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District, The Pearle Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection, Delta Hotels Whistler Village Suites and many more.

The deal is valid for stays between Sunday, Nov. 27 to Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 and can be booked on