When it comes to the best time to book a hotel, it can seem like you’re running the gauntlet between competing suppliers, deals and locations. Hundreds of sites clamour for your attention and, depending on where and when you want to go, the process can be laborious and frustrating.
While booking aggregators tend to advertise themselves as a gateway to low-cost holidays, in most cases a savvy mix of timing, research and booking directly with the hotel or resort will result in getting what you want, when you want it.
Be flexible with travel times (if you can)
Depending on your life stage, flexibility around travel dates can be a challenge. After all, there are only certain times of year for school holidays and leave. Increasingly, the changing nature of work means more of us than ever have the opportunity to travel on a varying schedule.
The best time to book a hotel is during shoulder and low seasons, yet these change from destination to destination, so it pays to research ahead of time. Likewise, if you’re feeling footloose and fancy-free take advantage of last minute deals or loyalty rewards offers – though it means you’ll need to be ready to travel on short notice.
If you have to holiday at peak times, travel planning site TripAdvisor released their “Best Time to Book” Summer report back in April, and it offers savvy travellers insight by location and timings.
According to the report, hotels in Asia, the U.S, Central and South America offer the best rates within three months of a trip, while between five to nine months is the sweet spot for a stay in Europe.
Experience the changing seasons
A change of season usually means a change in price for rooms and offers one of the best times to book a hotel. It’s also an excellent way to experience a different facet of a place that other travellers may not see. For example, not many people would think to travel to southern India during the monsoon, yet some of the country’s most exciting and colourful festivals occur during the rainy months. It’s also fairly certain you’re in for a low-cost holiday, as many restaurants and tourist activities lower their prices to lure off-season business.
Join a loyalty program
It takes almost no time at all but the benefits – and savings – that come with joining a loyalty program can be impressive. Hospitality groups are keen to book repeat business, and the layered nature of travel means they can offer real value to consumers who are willing to jump on board with them.
Karma’s membership benefits program, Karma Club, offers members 25% off all accommodation, food, drinks and even spa treatments, plus money can’t buy experiences across the globe.
Look out for package deals
Bundled offers that include more than just a room tend to deliver better value than paying for different elements of your trip separately. Watch out for inclusions like free airport transfers to and from your accommodation, discounted or free in-resort dining, wellness and spa treatments, or day tours to tourist sites – it’ll save you money while also adding to your holiday experience.