Trying to get a room in a sold-out hotel? Here’s a strategy that I’ve used for years, and it still works: Call the hotel directly (not the 800 number) and ask on what date cancellation penalties kick in for the date you want to arrive. (Three weeks before? Three days?) Note the date, then call that morning to see if rooms have opened up as people cancel at the last minute to avoid being charged. Even if you’re not first on the waiting list, you may be the first to call and can possibly scoop up rooms made available by people who’ve just cancelled.