If you’re ever considered taking a trip, you’ve probably asked yourself, “What is the best time to book a hotel?”. This is a common question, and most people have no idea when to book for maximum savings.
While hotel reservations should be made at least a month in advance, it’s always a good idea to call the hotel directly (not the 800 number) and find out which times of the year are their busiest. If they inform you that they book up two months in advance prior to summer, then you’ll need to adjust your booking plans accordingly.
But if you’re like most people, you probably wait until the last minute to book a trip. According to studies, 64 percent of vacations are planned two weeks prior to departure, and 26 percent are scheduled at the very last minute.
Waiting until the last minute doesn’t mean you can’t save money with various hotel discounts, but the law of supply and demand will often govern your chances. Hotels with many rooms to fill will often be willing to make a deal, while those almost booked to capacity are far less likely. When in doubt, call the hotel directly; you have nothing to lose.
Booking Far In Advance
So what is the best time to book a hotel? Well, you can never go wrong by booking far in advance. If you decide to go this route, try to allow enough time to shop around. Call hotels and check online hotel finder sites for the best prices.
These prices may change from week-to-week based on a number of factors, so a certain amount of persistence can pay off in the long run. If possible, try checking back 90, 60 and 30 days before your travel date. While prices could rise during this period, there’s also a good chance that they may drop significantly.
Last Minute Reservations
While booking at the last minute isn’t preferred, you might still end up with some good deals on a hotel room. If a hotel doesn’t rent a room, it’s losing money. That means that an underbooked hotel might be willing to cut you a nice deal just to make a little bit of a profit.
On the other hand, some hotels will never dip below a certain price. They’re afraid that word could get out, and suddenly everyone is opting to wait until the last minute instead of pre-booking.
If you’re going to try and get a last minute deal, always speak to the manager or supervisor. The employee at the front desk probably doesn’t have the authority to override the regular price and grant you a last-minute bargain.
Best Time To Book Specific Vacations
Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is the best time to book a hotel?”, let’s look at the best time to book certain types of vacations. While the following information isn’t guaranteed, it can be a helpful guide when planning your upcoming vacation.
- Ski Trip – If you’re looking for a late-season ski trip, you should try booking a hotel in April or May. Check sites like newenglandinnsandresorts and VailOnSale.com for special deals.
- Bahamas and Gulf of Mexico – By booking during the summer months, you can save up to 50 percent.
- Hawaii – From September to December, hotels in Hawaii usually knock 20 percent of their room rates.
- Other U.S. Cities – During the harsh winter months, many U.S. hotels offer discounts up to 50 percent.
- European Vacations – Getting a European hotel room in January or February can save you lots of money. Just be prepared to deal with some rainy and cold weather.
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