Zurich is the financial center of Switzerland with many hotels catering to this sector. As many of these travelers have an expense account and the cost of living is high in general, the average hotel price is fairly high. Company rates are often much more reasonable.
Accommodation prices skyrocket during the busy winter and summer months, with dips in pricing during autumn and spring.
Look for pensions for lower priced, more individual hotels. These are often set-up within someone's home and usually include breakfast. These can be a great alternative to chain hotels, both in price and experience.
Most hotels have online reservations and accept credit cards. Online travel sites are also great resources and many Swiss hotels are registered through them.
A Bed & Breakfast can be an a refreshingly personal environment to explore a new city. Though a B&B may be more expensive then traditional hotels, occasionally they are cheaper then the surrounding locations given the inclusion of a meal and the luxury of the environment.
B&B Switzerland is an organization of Bed & Breakfast accommodations throughout the country. Consult them to find the B&B for you.