This sounds pretty boring, and in some sense it is. Boring means uninteresting -- but it also means predictable, well understood, and efficient. When we book a room at a Comfort Inn vs. a Quality Inn, we understand the differences and why Comfort is a little more expensive: do you get more that may save you money in the long run.
Choice also has a frequent stayer program as well as gives discounts for seniors. The frequent stayer program can sometimes be very good -- as in 3 x credits when you travel in the slowest season -- typically the season we travel. This means that get can get up to a 30% discount, but I don't think we have ever managed that.
We rarely make reservations for our hotel rooms -- favoring preserving the spontaneity of our travels by making our reservations when we know where we are going to spend the night. There are some exceptions: like when we are visiting a big city or some place where there are a lot of visitors at the time we are going.
We used to make these reservations by phone, but now the Choice Hotel iPhone app has replaced the phone reservations. It is much easier to understand what is available, how much it will cost, plus you don't have to listen to the up selling efforts of the poor telephone reservation clerk.
One thing we have learned about prices is that supply and demand is alive and well in the hotel business. For example, we left Washington DC the day before the Presidential Inauguration because the price for our room more than doubled if we had stayed there the Sunday night before Monday's Inauguration. The price for our hotel outside Washington was about $80/night versus $180 for that Sunday night.
The other effect is the further South and West you go, the cheaper the hotel. Combine those two effects and you get the $45/night room in a Comfort Inn in Williamsburg VA that Inauguration Sunday night!
Another effect we have noticed is that hotel rooms near airports are less expensive than other rooms. Combine that with or leisurely car trips, a good (yet remarkably inexpensive) GPS navigator, and you can stay in hotels near the airport yet be able to find nearly anything you want with your GPS navigator.
We occasionally stay in something more interesting -- and usually more expensive. But one of the things that makes our long road trips possible is managing the hotel costs by sticking with one organization.
This trip, we are also trying something new: AirBnB. This is a website that matches people who have rooms to rent with travelers looking for places to stay. There are lots of measures taken to insure the safety of both parties involved in the transaction. So, we are splurging a bit and staying in a B and B we found through AirBnB for the two weeks we will be in New Orleans. Here is the place we will be staying while we are in New Orleans. The price varies on how long you will stay. For example, staying a single night at the place we've selected is $175/night versus $125/night when you rent for an entire week.