How to Find Last-Minute Hotel Deals When Plans Suddenly Change
You may have asked the question before: is it cheaper to book last-minute hotels?
While it’s true that the flexible traveler can sometimes benefit from last-minute hotel booking deals, it’s usually a better option for a personal getaway than for business trips.
Here’s one reason why.
Even if you’re able to plan a business trip meticulously, grabbing up a low-cost last-minute hotel reservation, you could run into unexpected changes.
Remember the Southwest fiasco in December of 2022? Or how the FAA grounded all U.S. flights on January 11, 2023? That accounted for more than 5,000 flight changes in December and another 2,900 on January 11th alone!
That’s 7900 travelers with sudden changes to manage. That’s a lot of stranded travelers, missed events, rescheduled meetings, and work postponed.
More than that, those changes represent a lot of time and effort scrambling for new hotel options.
But that doesn’t have to be you.
We’ll show you how you can get lower rates with the peace of mind that the travelers you manage will have lodging should unexpected travel hiccups arise.
Read on to discover how to find last-minute hotel deals for both solo travelers and groups with Hotel Engine — and how you’ll save time doing it.
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How to Find Last-Minute Hotel Deals — By Using Hotel Engine
The easiest way to find last- minute hotel bookings is to use Hotel Engine.
With our trip management platform, you’ll have:
- A huge network of properties worldwide
- Exclusive hotel rates negotiated for you
- Extra rewards for your bookings — redeemable for hotel discounts or free nights
- Extra flexibility — making some last-minute hotel changes effortless
A Huge Network of Properties Worldwide
Hotel Engine has over 700,000 lodging partners worldwide, so you’ll have ample opportunity for last-minute hotel booking deals wherever you need one. With so many options available (and our simple platform), you can easily browse and compare different hotels to find the best price with the right amenities for each last-minute stay, even in rural areas.
When every second matters, you can use our various filters to find exactly what you need, whether you need a pet-friendly room, a kitchenette, big rig truck parking, etc.
Exclusive Rates Negotiated for You
You’ll also have access to exclusive rates on all your bookings, including last minute ones. Unlike standard online travel agencies, we negotiate rates directly with hotel chains and locations, so you can save up to 60% without calling hotels to negotiate last-minute deals.
Enjoy the convenience of booking your hotel room at a discounted rate without having to spend time searching for deals from multiple providers or negotiating prices directly with hotel chains. The savings can add up quickly, especially if you’re booking multiple nights or traveling with a group.
Extra Rewards Means Extra Savings
When you book with Hotel Engine, you can earn double the rewards you would earn from other platforms. Not only will you earn HE Rewards on every booking, you can also earn points for loyalty points with 15+ top hotel loyalty programs, including Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors on some rooms — an option usually only available by when you book directly via phone or on a hotel’s website.
That means you can earn double the rewards on your bookings — which could come in handy when you need a last-minute hotel booking.
Redeem your rewards for rate discounts or even free nights!
When you book hotels with Hotel Engine, last-minute hotel changes are effortless.
Before check-in, you can make modifications to your reservation, adding or removing guests, changing your dates, etc. Our Member Support team will take your request to the hotel on your behalf to find you a solution.
Flight delayed, and you won’t make check-in? Request a late check-in directly from the platform to let the hotel know you’re still coming and avoid late check-in fees or losing your room altogether.
Flight cancelled and you won’t make check-in at all? When you book with Flex, you can easily cancel your hotel up until noon on the day of check-in and get credited for the cost regardless of the hotel’s cancellation policy.
Or do you need to stay an extra day or more? Extend stays directly through the Hotel Engine platform without contacting Member Support or the hotel in question. Simply navigate to the trip in question, view your itinerary, and select Book More Nights. You’ll see the rates (and savings) for the additional nights you need.
No matter what your trip throws at you, we have you covered.
Learn more about our Flex program here.
Save Valuable Time Managing Each Last-Minute Stay
As the Southwest fiasco reminded us, unpredictable changes can be chaotic. Making changes for even one traveler can be complicated, let alone several.
But with Hotel Engine, changes for any size group are simple.
Our free-to-use platform was built with business travelers in mind, so it’s built to handle stressful or emergency situations — whether you’re traveling for business or for pleasure.
You’ll save valuable time on every booking with:
- Simplified booking and trip management
- White-glove support booking stays for groups
- Simplified billing and smoother check-ins
Simplified Booking and Trip Management
With Hotel Engine’s easy-to-use platform, your bookings will never be the same.
Save valuable time with tools like saved Favorites (so you can easily re-book favorite hotels and ensure consistent duty of care) and saved Guests (so you don’t have to waste time finding their contact information, loyalty numbers, etc.).
If you manage travel for a team, you can also empower travelers to book their own stays by setting up tiered travel policies. With these policies, you can make sure your travelers can only book hotels within your budget — which means you can encourage them to book stays themselves.
Finally, no matter how many employees you have traveling, you’ll be able to see all their trips in the same place — for easy tracking, budgeting and later reconciliations.
More: 9 Business Travel Services You Didn’t Know You Needed
White Glove Support Booking Group Stays
Last-minute hotel arrangements are particularly complicated when you need to find accommodations for an entire group.
No one knows this better than our emergency relief clients, who volunteer their time and energy to support disaster relief efforts worldwide. They always face last-minute travel needs, almost always needing last-minute hotels for large groups — often in areas with limited availability or unpredictable conditions.
At Hotel Engine, we’re proud to take on those bookings for them.
In fact, we’re proud to take on group bookings for our customers, whether they are last minute or not.
If you find yourself in need of more than eight rooms, you’ll be assigned a (complimentary) dedicated Project Manager to take over the legwork for you.
With their help, you’ll be able to:
- Choose a property easily — with hotel recommendations based on your group’s unique needs
- Get a great rate — negotiated based on your group with the hotel
- Access every trip and every folio on-demand while enjoying consolidated billing
- Count on support every step of the way — from the expert Groups team, your Project Manager and our 24/7 Member Support team
Get the support disaster relief organizations trust — and enjoy great savings, simplified billing tools and smoother check-ins.
Simplified Billing and Smoother Check-Ins
Hotel Engine simplifies the billing and check-in processes for all hotel stays, but truly excels at last-minute bookings.
For instance, our best-in-class customer service means that we verify every reservation before check-in — even the last minute ones. We’ll contact the property within 30 minutes from booking to confirm everything is ready for check-in, so you can rest easier.
But that’s not the only way Hotel Engine makes a last-minute check-in easier. With Hotel Engine, businesses can book rooms without having to complete credit card authorization forms every time or spend time figuring out how to get a copy in time for check-in. That kind of time savings is critical when you’re searching for an immediate stay.
In fact, when you book business travel with Hotel Engine, you have the option to remove credit cards from check-in entirely: if you elect to add incidentals coverage, we’ll cover your travelers’ incidental deposits for them and verify any incidental charges from the hotel to make sure they’re accurate before billing you.
You’ll have on-demand access to all your hotel folios with the ability to consolidate all the hotel charges from the same period into one Direct Bill for easy payment on a monthly or weekly basis. It’s a game changer when you’re booking last-minute business travel.
Finally, you’ll have access to on-demand spending and trend tracking, so you can easily reconcile hotel charges and stay on budget — even when unexpected changes come up.
Related: Best Corporate Travel Discounts [Car Rentals, Airfare, and more]
Hotel Engine Makes Last-Minute Bookings Easy
While you can’t avoid unexpected changes, you can prepare for them.
Start by creating an account with Hotel Engine. Our free-to-use platform was built to take the stress out of all kinds of hotel bookings, providing 24/7 support and saving valuable time in the process.
Remember that with Hotel Engine, you’ll be able to:
Find a last-minute stay nearby with more than 700,000 properties worldwide
- Book a business stay without needing a credit card authorization form at check-in
- Get exclusive rates negotiated for you and save up to 60% without that extra time
- Hand off last-minute group bookings and long-term stays to a dedicated Project Manager (at no additional charge)
- Modify a reservation easily through our website or app
- Get credited for any cancellations or unused nights when you book with Flex
- Double up on rewards or redeem them to save — earning HE Rewards with every booking, and points from 15+ loyalty programs (including Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and more) on some rooms too
- Leverage best-in-class billing efficiency and reporting for your reconciliations later
- Count on 24/7 US-based support
- And much more!
Create a free account today to get access to exclusive savings and simplified stays — whenever and wherever you need them.
Sara Kern is a Copywriter at Hotel Engine. She worked as a writer in the tech and apparel industries for almost a decade before joining the HE family, but also has experience coordinating business travel for fast-moving nonprofits, so she knows firsthand how hard it can be. She joined Hotel Engine in 2022 and is excited to be a part of the movement to radically simplify trip management for everyone.