I really wanted one of those sensationalized headlines for this story. Something along the lines of, "This simple fact about hotel prices will shock you," but CNET doesn't roll that way. (Thank goodness.)
Nevertheless, this simple fact about hotel prices will shock you: There's a 40-percent chance your room rate will drop after you book it. Nearly as shocking, if you chose the free-cancellation option when you booked, you can easily rebook at the lower rate -- provided you know when there is one.
Enter Pruvo, a service I first started using in late 2017 and now rank among my favorites. It's a snap to use, and it has saved me actual money -- well over $200, by my estimate.
It works like this. Book a hotel as usual using your preferred service: Expedia, Hotels.com or whatever you normally use. Then forward the confirmation email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (You can also link Pruvo directly to a Gmail account and it'll automatically detect any hotel confirmations.)
That's pretty much it. If and when the service finds the same room at the same hotel for a lower rate, you'll get a notification. From there Pruvo will help walk you through the rebooking process -- which, I'll admit, can feel stressful if you haven't done it before. Basically, you're going to book the room at the new rate, then cancel the previous booking.
As noted before, if you booked with the free-cancellation option, you won't incur any charges along the way. And Pruvo charges nothing for this service -- it makes money via affiliate revenue when you rebook via its site.
It also just introduced mobile apps [Android|iOS], which you can use to book rooms, track your bookings, receive notifications of price drops and so on. Personally I prefer to stick with a desktop browser, at least for the booking part, because then I can leverage cashback services as well.
Here's a true story. The first time I used Pruvo, it found me a cheaper rate two days after I'd booked the hotel. Net savings: $66. Total time spent on all the hoop-jumping: maybe five minutes. Worth it? Obviously.
Your mileage may vary, of course, but you have nothing to lose by trying Pruvo on your next trip. Remember: The earlier you book your hotel, the greater the chance of securing a lower rate.
CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Questions about the Cheapskate blog?