On my most recent trip to MA, I started using Hotwire.com to book my hotel rooms. For those of you who are not familiar with Hotwire, it is a "clearinghouse" for Airline Flights, Hotels, Rental Cars, etc. Basically, you can get clearance pricing for travel related needs. In the case of a hotel, if they have extra rooms that are not sold on a particular night, then they use Hotwire to find folks who are looking for last-minute reservations at a reduced rate.
Early in the week, I stayed at a Holiday Inn Hotel in Holyoke that was NOT booked on Hotwire and I paid $150.00 PER NIGHT for those rooms. Later in the week, I booked my rooms on Hotwire in other parts of MA, and I ended up staying in a Holiday Inn one night for $65.00 and in a Holiday Inn Express the next night for $50.00 for the night. In these cases, the rooms were IDENTICAL to the one that I paid $150.00 for, but the cost was obviously MUCH less!!!
The downfall in using Hotwire is you don't know what Airline or rental car company or hotel you will be staying in until after you book. This is obviously because the rates are FAR below the advertised rate on the corporate website, and they want this low-cost option to be a bit of a "last resort" instead of the "first resort" to book the rooms. In the case of hotels, you tell the website which city you are looking to stay in, tell when you will check in and out and it will give you options for price and "star level" of the hotel. The two Holiday Inns that I stayed in were in the Three Star Level, which means that they are a respected hotel with basic business amenities and a continental breakfast. Hotels in this star range are Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Ramada, etc. The Super 8 Hotels are usually in the "2-star" range and Motel 6 and Red Roof are in the "1-star" level. I have found that the star rating doesn't really mean that a hotel is going to be "ickier" or "less icky" than another hotel...just that the level of amenities will be different.
Try Hotwire...it can be a little cumbersome at first, but it is truly worth the try for the savings you get! Not just for hotels, but for airfare and cars, too!
Mike in La Crosse, WI