You get great benefits when booking hotels online by picking the right times. Choose between the best times to book hotels online and avoid the worst ones!
Many travellers prefer booking flights weeks in advance, but do you know that the opposite applies to online hotel booking? When it comes to hotel hunting, there are good and bad times to book a room. Surprisingly, booking weeks in advance is not always good.
According to a 2017 report by SAP Concur UK, booking shortly before the trip gives you better rates than weeks in advance. It is possible to get special deals and affordable rates when you book within a 3 to 14-day window.
Should you book the hotel suddenly without a plan the day before? The answer is no. The SAP Concur report suggests planning to book a good room. The key is understanding the best and worst times for booking hotels online. Use this guide to secure the best rates successfully.
1. Best Time: Booking during Weekend
According to a report by Kayak, browsing for hotels during the weekends will give you more deals and lower prices than on weekdays. About 23 to 30% fewer people are hunting for hotels during the weekend, which gives you more options.
People also tend to feel more satisfied with their booking hotel results during the weekend. Meanwhile, browsing during busy weekdays makes people feel less satisfied because the mind is more stressful.
2. Worst Time: Booking on Tuesday
The previously mentioned Kayak report describes Tuesday as the worst day for booking hotels. Hotel room rates are often the highest during this day. The ever-changing trend of hotel rates helps you to avoid paying extra during weekdays. If you are willing to wait for a few days after Tuesday, you may find lower rates for your favourite hotel.
3. Best Time: Booking for Winter Break
Are you planning to book a hotel for a holiday trip? If possible, choose the “winter break” period to save on room rates. Months between January and March are the best times to book a room. It is after the New Year holiday, but months away from summer vacation period.
Winter break is a great period to visit tropical countries like Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand. The temperature is cooler, and you will feel more comfortable travelling outdoors. Afraid of encountering rain? Don’t worry lah. Popular destinations like Singapore, Bangkok, and Jakarta offer a lot of interesting indoor destinations.
4. Worst Time: Booking for Summer Holiday
Avoid booking a room during the summer holidays. Months between April and August are the worst periods for hotel booking. They are considered peak season, which means the room rates and other services will be more expensive.
Another downside to booking during the summer holidays is the crowd. Popular destinations in Asia and Europe are crowded and packed with tourists during the summer. How do you take good pictures at popular landmarks if people in holiday gear surround you?
5. Best Time: Choosing Check-in Time on Sunday
Calculating the browsing time is not the only thing that gives you cheap hotel booking. The check-in date can determine the rate you get. Checking in on Sunday will give you the best room rate. It is because your staying period covers the weekdays, which have the lowest room occupation rates.
What if you cannot find a room for Sunday check-in? Don’t worry lah! Just choose your check-in dates on the next cheapest days, which are at the beginning of the week. Mondays and Tuesdays are the best, although Tuesday's offers often pale in comparison to what you can get on Sunday.
6. Worst Time: Choosing Check-in time on Friday
If Sunday is the best check-in time, the worst one is Friday. Many people like departing on Friday afternoon or evening for a weekend holiday. The hotel occupation rates are also the highest during weekends. Therefore, Friday check-in will give you the highest rates in the week.
7. Best Time: Choosing a Check-out time on Friday
Check-out time is another important factor that determines the rate you must pay. Friday is the cheapest day for checking out. It is because you depart before the coming of the weekend, which is when the occupation rates are the highest. Getting out before Friday allows your hotel staff to prepare the hotel room.
8. Worst Time: Choosing a Check-out time on Sunday
Sunday check-out causes the hotel booking rate to increase significantly. It reflects the high occupation rate during the weekend. Unless it is a long holiday season, Friday to Sunday is the best time to have a short holiday. Despite the actual check-in date, you will get the more expensive rate if your check-out time is not synchronised.
9. Best Time: Browsing 24 to 48 Hours before Check-in
Even after you book a room in advance, try browsing again within 24 to 48 hours before the check-in time. These hours often hide secret, overnight, or last-minute deals. This suggestion applies best to those who have booked a room but are still trying hard to find surprise offers.
10. Finding Booking Time Based on Destination
Do you know that you can plan the best booking time based on the destination? INSIDER and TripAdvisor have summarised the best times for booking hotels based on regions. Some examples are:
- Two to three months in advance
You can get the best hotel booking rates when booking two to three months in advance. The best destinations to do this are Barcelona, Paris, Budapest, Chicago, and Beijing. You can save up to 33% for Barcelona hotels, 23% for Paris hotels, 17% for Beijing, 35% for Budapest, and 18% for Chicago.
- Four to five months in advance
Some destinations offer the best rates if you book a hotel room four to five months before the trip. Berlin and Cancun are examples of cities that provide the best rates. You can save up to 10% for Berlin, and 11% for Cancun.
- Six to eight months in advance
We just said that booking hotels six months in advance is not good for your budget. However, some destinations can provide the best hotel rates if you book during that time. Bangkok, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Dubai, and Dublin offer great rates for long waiting periods. You can save up to 19% in Bangkok, 18% in Singapore, 16% in Buenos Aires, 24% in Dubai, and 16% in Dublin.
Overall, hotel booking apps can give specific rates based on where you are going. If you go to popular warm destinations like South Pacific countries and the Middle East, you should book two months in advance. North, Central, and South Americas give better odds if you book three months in advance.
11. Tips to Secure the Best Hotel Booking Rate
You have found several hotel recommendations. You have calculated all the possible rates (including the saving percentage). You know when to book a room. Are these enough? No, because there are even more strategies to secure cheaper booking rates than usual. Siao!
Here are several additional tips to get the best booking rates possible:
- Choose a refundable room first
When you book a few months in advance, pick a refundable room. You can easily cancel or change the plan and get your money back when necessary. Bonus point: the refundable room is often cheaper than regular because it is part of a hotel strategy to prevent unoccupied rooms.
Most hotels can refund your payment within a 72-hour period before the check-in date. However, different hotels may have unique policies about refundable rooms and last-minute booking. Make sure to read the fine prints so you don’t lose money.
- Hunt for mystery deals
Don’t depend on hotel booking apps alone to get offers and deals! You may be surprised to learn about “mystery deals,” which are often available shortly before the check-in date. Usually, mystery deals start to come up about a week before your booking date. It is the result of anticipation toward cancellations and other changed plans.
There are various websites dedicated to finding mystery deals. Priceline and Hotwire, for example, offer packages such as “Hot Rates” and “Express Deals” for much cheaper rates. Don’t forget that the mystery deal rooms are usually non-refundable.
- Call the hotel directly
Hotel booking apps are not the only solution to the best accommodation. They do not show all the discounts, offers, and deals on their website or application. Contacting the hotel directly is beneficial for various reasons. A hotel may offer special deals and promos on its official website.
Sometimes, “just asking” can be the best solution. If you have already booked a hotel within the recommended period, ask the hotel politely about any possible deals. Some hotels hide specific promos from customers unless they ask.
- Find the last-minute deals
Last-minute deals are pleasant surprises, but you don’t need to gamble to find them. Last-minute deals are often available on various websites, such as HotelTonight and Priceline Negotiator. They provide surprise deals that you can redeem within the last hours and minutes.
Choosing the right day for booking hotels can save you a lot of money in surprising ways. Pick the right day and time for booking your accommodation and make sure you hunt for mystery deals before deciding to book a hotel.