What's the Best Time to Book a Hotel?


What's the Best Time to Book a Hotel?

The best time to book and how to get the best deals on hotels

Best Time to Book a Hotel

The best time to book a hotel room is within a month of your desired stay. Prices tend to be around 15% lower when you wait to book a month out as hotels become more desperate to fill their vacancies. While there's no magic date when you'll find the cheapest price, you can maximize your savings by booking ahead and following the tips outlined below so you never pay more for a hotel than necessary.

Traveling on a budget can be difficult to manage and time-consuming if you check multiple websites for every aspect of your travel. We've highlighted the top strategies for securing an inexpensive hotel stay to save you the hassle of researching individual hotel rates and patterns. You'll learn when to book hotels and how to book at the cheapest rate.

Read through our guide below for helpful tips on travel planning for your next budgeted adventure.


When's the Best Time to Book a Hotel?

There's no set-in-stone date for booking the cheapest hotel room. TripAdvisor researched millions of bookings and found guests who booked within a month of their desired stay saved up to 15% on the total cost. 

The worst time to book a hotel room is much easier to identify. Trying to book a hotel room on the day of your desired stay is risky. There are stories of those who have booked day-of and paid only the operating cost for a room, but these cases are few and far between. Hotels will lose money on vacant rooms so there is a desire to fill them, but they also need to protect their advertised rates. Hotels could not turn a profit if word got out that $300 rooms were selling for $75 if you booked same day so many hotels will not dip below their standard rates. You're more likely to face price-gauging because the hotel will know you are desperate to find a room.

Hotels also use booking sites to sell rooms and are sent frequent reports on how many rooms have been filled. There hasn't been significant data to suggest prices will be lower near these reports, but if a hotel is not filling rooms, they might lower the rates around 30, 15, and 7 days (standard times when reports are filed) before the desired date.

How Should You Book A Hotel?

There are a few options to procuring the best price for a hotel room.

  1. Book Over the Phone. If you call a hotel directly (the specific location, not the 1-800 number), you might be able to acquire a lower rate. Do some research on a third-party site before you call. Ask about deals that the hotel could offer from booking directly over the phone instead of the third-party site. Third-party sites will take a percentage of a sale away from the hotel, so you should be able to negotiate into a number that saves both sides money.
  2. Compare Prices. Open a private browsing window and investigate different sites to find the best deal for you. Third-party sites are the easiest place to find hotels that match your needs and price range. Starting with sites like Booking.com and Orbitz will give you the lay of the land. From there, compare prices against price aggregators like Kayak and the hotel's website to find the lowest price.
  3. Look for Packaged Deals. Many hotels have deals with airlines and rental car services to promote travel packages. If you're making a simple round-trip, this option could save you thousands and save time searching for cheaper hotels and other travel necessities.

How Should You Book A Hotel?

Other Tips?

  1. Try Suprise Deals. Some websites like Priceline and Hotwire won't tell you the name of the hotel you'll be staying at until you book your room. You'll save money with these "opaque deals" and worry less about where you'll be staying. You see a star rating for an assortment of hotels along with a severely slashed price, so all you have to do is pick the deal that's best for you.
  2. Book Business Hotels. If you're looking for a weekend room, try staying at a business hotel. These hotels are normally filled with business travelers but are generally less occupied on the weekends. You can save big by booking one of these rooms outside of peak business windows.
  3. Consider When You Are Staying. Holidays and big events will limit availability in hotels and raise rates. If you know you will be staying in a hotel around a busy time, book ahead as far as you can to ensure you have a room and don't get price-gouged.
  4. Check the Listing Periodically (Even After Booking). After you've booked a room, continue to check the prices of the hotel at which you'll be staying and area hotels. If a significantly cheaper rate arises, ask to lower your rate to match the new rate or cancel your reservation and re-book under the lower price. Make sure the new price is significantly lowered before cancelling because you might be hit with a cancellation fee that will be more than what you will save.

How do you save money on booking hotel rooms? Tell us in the comments below!

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