If you are looking for a short getaway the weekend is often the go-to time. But of course, because that is when everyone wants to travel it can be more expensive. So if you can at all make it work, getting away on a weekday can potentially be a much more affordable option. However, it can very much depend on where you are going and when.
I have had the luxury to be able to travel during the week for most of the short trips in the past few years. There is definitely some truth to the idea that it does cost less. One place I stayed and the weekend nights of Friday and Saturday were $17 per night more expensive. When the weeknight rate is $113 that is a 15% premium.
That, of course, is just one example, but there are many others that I have come across at times. More so when I have been travelling for longer periods. If you are on the road for multiple weeks sometimes you just do not have the luxury of picking and choosing. But for these short trips, there can be a few ways that you can avoid paying more than you need to.
When Your Travelling
The factors that play into the pricing of a hotel room are quite extensive. The more common ones include peak or off-peak times, school breaks, long weekends, seasons and major events in the locality.
At the same time though the hotel industry is heavily driven by supply and demand. Which means at times the price may be high with no obvious reason. But the hotel might have good bookings and as such don’t want to discount the few rooms they have left. There could be any number of reasons why and sometimes you just never know.
So let’s explore a few of the reasons that may lead to higher prices during the week, so you can also try to avoid these as well.
Peak Vs. Off-Peak
Every area is going to have some form of peak and off-peak season. Most commonly these might be defined by the seasons of summer and winter. However, there can be other factors that are not so local that will affect these as well.
In many cases, the peak or off-peak dates are something a hotel might be able to tell you and it never hurts to ask. The difference in price can be rather dramatic in some areas. But just because it is a peak time does not always mean higher prices. Again it comes back to actual demand and if a hotel is having trouble booking rooms they may offer some discount rates.
It was a few years ago that this sort of pricing very much came to mind for me. I was going to visit New Zealand and book a camper van for the time I was staying. I was playing around and shifted the date I would be leaving by just one day and was shocked when the price doubled for the campervan rental. A little research and I soon found out that by going that one day into the summer peak period the whole rental was going to be charged at the peak price.
School Holidays or breaks can be a difficult one and you might need to do your research to find out the local dates for these. Since I rarely have a need to, I generally do not travel in these periods. My experience has been that the prices in some areas may be unaffected, while in other areas they can as much as double.
The most common areas that can be impacted will be beach areas in summer. There are hotels that I have stayed at and paid as little as $120 per night in off-peak time. Only to check the same room in the school holidays and find it available for over $300 per night. So it is worth the research and adjusting your travel if you can in this sort of case.
With an extra day off for the workers on a weekend, that often means higher rates on the hotels. Although this is not an absolute guarantee. It will depend on a variety of factors and mostly come back to supply and demand. If it is a weekend that a lot of people like to travel, such as long weekends in summer, there will often be higher prices. On the other hand, depending on the area you are visiting a long weekend in winter may not affect prices as much.
There is an endless list of one-off events that can impact pricing in a city. You might find a concert, carnival, sports event, or the like can draw a lot of people to an area. A great example of this is when I was looking to stay in an area at a time that should have been not busy. There was next to no availability and everything that was available was quite expensive. Eventually, through some research, I found out that one of the nights I was booking there was a big concert on. It seemed to attract a lot of non-locals and as such the hotels were booked out. Needless to say, I happily rearranged the dates around this.
A Little Research
If you are looking to make the most of your money when travelling a little research can go a long way. If you have flexibility try and shuffle your dates around and see how the pricing changes.
Sometimes it might only be a few dollars that you might save. But other times it could easily be in the hundreds of dollars. So that little bit of research might be the difference between staying 2 or 3 nights. Get the right timing and that extra night might not cost you any more.