When to Book a Hotel Room to Really Get the Best Rates
It turns out there is a good option for cheap hotel bookings. Contrary to what you might expect, a recent study by Nerdwallet concluded that it is cheaper to book a hotel 15 days before your arrival , rather than a few months before, as is commonly believed. However, there are trade-offs to consider, not least ensuring that the hotel room is still available when attempting to book.
Rooms booked 15 days in advance are about 13% cheaper.
Nerdwallet looked at global hotel rates between 2019 and 2021 and found that the average price for a room reservation four months in advance was $ 233. This was higher than the average rate of $ 203 when the room was booked 15 days in advance, a 13% difference.
The study looked at other variables as well. In terms of luxury, the average savings were much higher for high-end hotels, as rooms were 21.6% cheaper when booked 15 days in advance. However, this effect was weakened for mid-range and low-end hotels, as they were only 9.4% and 5.5% cheaper, respectively (which makes sense since they offer less frills).
In terms of international and local hotels, there was not much difference between hotels in North America (savings 12.7%) compared to all other countries (savings 13.5%).
Then is it worth booking all the hotels 15 days in advance?
Not necessary. You can get a cheaper rate by booking 15 days late, but this carries an increased risk of the hotel being unavailable when you need it, especially during peak travel periods (for example, hotels can fill up quickly when a city is hosting a convention ). … In addition, you will likely have other reservations that need to be changed or canceled if your hotel is out of service, such as for flights, car rentals, or vacation days. And considering all the planned and unknown moments associated with international travel, you may be happy to pay for a room that was booked in advance.
On the other hand, if you have maximum flexibility as to when you travel, then booking 15 days in advance to get a cheaper rate makes more sense. As Nerdvallet points out, many hotels also offer free cancellation 48 or 72 hours in advance, which means you can book in advance, cancel 15 days before the end (if the advertised rate is actually lower), and then book that hotel again. (although, again, there is a small risk that the hotel room will not be available) – especially for luxury hotels. However, 13% off is average, so actual savings are likely to differ and may not be worth the effort.