When is the best time to book hotels?
The best time to book hotels is when you are likely to get the best price. This could mean booking in advance or last minute depending on hotel demand. The best prices are also available out of high season, out of school holidays and avoiding any large festivals, concerts or sporting events happening locally.
Read on for more information to help you find the best time to book hotels for the places you are planning on visiting.
1. Best Time to Book Hotels – What Season?
When considering when is the best time to book hotels it can be really helpful to know when it is high season in the place you are planning to visit.
A simple way to get the best deals is to book in the ‘shoulder season’ which is generally just before and just after high season.
For the best deals then book out of season. However, this comes with a word of warning. Depending on what type of hotel you are booking and where you are going some facilities may not be available out of season. For example, if you are booking a hotel which has an outdoor pool this might be closed out of season. Sometimes there is no or less entertainment, fewer restaurants available if at an all-inclusive resort – you get the idea.
That means you are getting a great deal but you have to factor in that perhaps there are fewer facilities as well.
Let’s look at an example for Barcelona;
Using a hotel search for 4 stars and above, with reviews very good and above for Barcelona in June 2023 for 3 nights hotels the Casa Elliott is £575.
The same hotel for 3 nights in April is £430, in March it is £353.
Barcelona in March is still going to be nice and warm. It will also be less crowded so you are likely to be able to see and do more and you will be paying £222 less just for the hotel room.
Lower hotel demand is also likely to mean lower flight prices too, meaning the overall cost will be lower out of season.
Top Hotel Deals in Barcelona
Best Time to Book Hotels
2. Which Season Where?
If you are considering travelling out of season bear in mind that high season can be different times of the year depending on where you are visiting.
For example, the high season in Australia is from December to February so prices will be higher. The low season is June to August which is their winter months.
For areas where there are ski resorts high season starts around the end of November and runs through to the end of April.
For most European destinations high season can run from April through to September, with peak demand often being in July and August.
Best Time to Book Hotels
3. Out of School Holiday Season
Travelling when the schools are not on holiday can be another way to avoid peak demand and the highest hotel and flight costs.
School holidays really do increase demand for travel and prices rise accordingly.
It is worth remembering to check school holiday dates in the place you are travelling from and also the place you are travelling to.
2023 Scotland school summer holiday – 30th June until 11th August
2023 England school summer holiday – 24th July until 31st August
School holiday dates differ between Scotland and England for example. This means there can be some good deals in the period when the holidays don’t cross over. In 2023 this would mean 30th June until 24th July for Scottish families with children, and from 11th August until 31st August for English families with children (although the impact is lower due to the higher population in England).
Also, remember that some countries have different school holidays. In the US they have long summer holidays for example from the 23rd of May until the 4th of August.
4. Best Time to Book Hotels – Not on a Bank Holiday
Bank holidays often mean an increase in travel and therefore higher prices. People often make use of that extra day by perhaps adding it to their holiday allowance or just taking a long weekend for example.
Knowing when the bank holidays are can help you find the best time to book a hotel if you want the lowest prices.
Remember to check bank holidays in the place you are travelling to as well.
|2 January||Monday||New Years Day (substitute day)|
|7 April||Friday||Good Friday|
|10 April||Monday||Easter Monday|
|1 May||Monday||Early May bank holiday|
|8 May||Monday||Bank holiday for the coronation of King Charles III|
|29 May||Monday||Spring bank holiday|
|28 August||Monday||Summer bank holiday|
|25 December||Monday||Christmas Day|
|26 December||Tuesday||Boxing Day|
5. Best Time to Book Hotels – How Far in Advance?
There are lots of theories and suggestions about when the best time to book a hotel is in terms of how far in advance you should book.
Really the best time to book a hotel is when you book your flights generally and then you know you have everything covered.
There are lots of deals available with free cancellation which means if you do find a better deal then you can easily change your booking.
Having wanted to test out the theories about booking early and late I took a look at some hotel prices for popular hotels that I know so here are the results.
|Hotel Jan 13-16 Mar 10-13 June 9-12 Aug|
|Pestana Vila Sol Vilamoura £201 £271 £434 £603|
|Wellton Spa Riga £233 £206 £298 £302|
|Hilton TECA Aberdeen £293 £324 £300 £275|
|Busta House Shetland £438 £394 No rooms £146 |
|Marina Bay Singapore £1579 £1655 No rooms £1687|
|Grace Hotel Sydney £508 £594 £551 £625|
6. Best Time to Book Hotels – Avoiding Large Events
Large events happening locally can significantly push up demand, and therefore prices for hotel rooms. If you want to find the best rates for hotel rooms then it is worth checking, and avoiding any major festivals, sporting events, concerts or other events in the area you plan to visit.
A simple internet search for events in the place you are visiting will help you to find out the information you need.
Here are a couple of examples of hotel pricing showing how it is affected by events;
Edinburgh has a large New Year celebration. It is very popular with visitors and hotel demand is high. Hotel rooms are 98% sold currently (November 2022). They have a Holiday Inn Express with rooms at £450 a night available.
Valencia has a huge festival each Spring. In 2023 the main parade will be on the 19th of March. Valencia is currently 95% sold out (November 2022). They have rooms at the Vincci Palace in the old town for £503 per night.
7. Best Time to Book Hotels FAQs
What is the cheapest day to book a hotel?
Generally, the cheapest night to stay in a hotel is a Sunday night as this is when demand is at its lowest. Leisure travellers have generally returned home and business travellers have not yet left home.
Do hotel prices go down the closer you get?
The answer to this question is it depends! It depends on the demand for hotels. Some hotels do discount rates to fill rooms. Sites such as lastminute.com promote these rates. However, as you can see from the figures above it can often be better to book in advance.
What is the cheapest month to book a hotel?
The cheapest month depends on when it is low season. In the UK for example November, January and February are often the cheapest month because demand is at its lowest. However, in Australia, prices are likely to be lower in July and August when it is winter and their low season.
8. Best Time to Book Hotels – Pros and Cons
- Booking out of season is the biggest saving if you want to get the best hotel prices
- Avoiding events, festivals, concerts and sporting fixtures will mean lower prices
- Avoiding school holidays will mean lower prices for hotels
- Travelling out of season may mean there are reduced facilities available
- Travelling out of season may mean that some attractions are closed
If you have found this article about the best time to book hotels useful then you might also like;
Find more resources on my Travel More and Spend Less page
- Dragon Pass Vs Priority Pass – Side by Side ComaprisonAre you considering what type of airport lounge pass to use? This comparison of Dragon Pass Vs Priority Pass compares both schemes side by side so you can find the right option for you. If you are unsure if an airport lounge pass membership makes sense then check out my guide which gives you the … Read more
- Cawdor Castle Shore Excursion from Invergordon Port 🚢Thinking of taking a Cawdor Castle shore excursion during your Invergordon port call? Here is all the practical information you need to decide if it’s the perfect excursion for you. Cawdor Castle Shore Excursion – Travel Times Cawdor Castle operates timed entry slots for groups. There may be more than 2 coaches from the ship … Read more
- What Is Priority Pass? It’s An Airport Lounge Membership Scheme ✈Have you ever wondered – what is Priority Pass? Priority Pass is an airport lounge membership scheme that gives its members access to a huge network of airport lounges all over the world for a discounted rate. Priority Pass also gives members other benefits such as discounts at airports and on transfer services, hire cars. … Read more
- Gatwick Priority Pass – Find Your Perfect Lounge ✈Planning on visiting Gatwick airport and want to know what your lounge options are? Check out this guide so you can choose the right lounge for you. Gatwick Priority Pass – North and South Terminals Gatwick Airport is divided into two terminals – North and South. They are connected by a regular shuttle that runs … Read more
- How Much Does Priority Pass Cost? Here’s All The Details ✈Priority Pass cost depends on the level of membership you select. The level of membership you select depends on how much you plan to use Priority Pass. Here’s a guide to the levels of membership and the costings to help you decide which level of membership is best for you. Priority Pass Cost – 3 … Read more
- What Are The Benefits of Priority Pass Airport Lounges? ✈Want to know more about the Priority Pass airport lounges? This article covers the membership benefits of the Priority Pass airport lounge membership scheme, plus some tips and questions to help you decide if it’s worth your while to join. What Are Priority Pass Airport Lounges? Priority Pass is a membership scheme that gives buyers … Read more
- Are Airport Lounges Worth It? Here’s a Cost Comparison ✈Thinking of using an airport lounge? Trying to decide if it’s worth paying for or not? Airport lounges can be cheaper than eating and drinking in the public area of the airport, but that depends on how often you plan to use lounges, whether you buy access as you go or through a membership scheme, … Read more
- Loch Ness Cruise Shore Excursion from Invergordon Port 🚢Thinking of Taking a Loch Ness Cruise Shore Excursion from Invergordon Cruise Port? Here is all the information you need about the practicalities of this tour, so you can decide if it’s the perfect trip for you. Loch Ness Cruise Shore Excursion Generally, most Loch Ness Cruise shore excursions operate as a half-day tour from … Read more
- Top Tips When Taking a Shore Excursion from Invergordon 🚢Are you coming to Invergordon cruise port? Thinking of taking a shore excursion from Invergordon? Here are my top tips to have an even better day in the Highlands. Shore Excursion from Invergordon Head the Right Way at the End of the Gangplank If you are taking a ship organised excursion then you need to … Read more