Is there a “golden window” to getting the best price on a hotel room? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get from our friends and from our customers. So we did the research by looking at 2,572 cities in the U.S. and more than 2.2 million hotel-room bookings travelers have made during the past 18 months. And, here’s what we learned.
Sometimes it pays to procrastinate. Here’s our guide and a few tips and tricks to finding the best rates on hotel rooms, especially if you’re looking for a last-minute deal.
Save by Booking Last-Minute
Of the hundreds of thousands of travelers studied, 24.7 percent plan ahead and make sure they have a hotel reservation well in advance—30 days or more before they want to check-in. A larger group, 39.7 percent, makes reservations within the four to 29 day window of checking in. But, a surprisingly large percent, 35.6 percent, book their hotel reservation within three days of checking in. And, these last-minute travelers are the ones who save the most money—an average of $39 compared to those who book further in advance. Savings can especially come in certain cities.
Use your Phone to Book or Call for a Reservation
Where and how you make your hotel reservation also makes a difference when booking. Whether you are a planner or procrastinator, if you book on a mobile device you can save more than those who book on their desktop.
Booking on your phone gives you access to 'mobile only rates,' which are discounted from standard rates used on desktop websites. In our study, those who booked on their mobile device within three days of checking in saved $17.45 compared to those who used their desktop.
In addition, calling hotel booking sites is another way to find the lowest rates. Often you can get access to “member” pricing and deeply discounted prices over the phone.
Different Cities, Different Savings
You can score big savings in some cities. Make a note the next time you’re traveling to one of these destinations.
Below are the findings from our study, including more tips on how to save when making a hotel reservation, especially when booking last minute. For a pdf version, view A Procrastinators Paradise--Booking Last Minute
Brought to you by: