Is there such a thing as the cheapest time to book a hotel?

There are many theories about the right time to book a flight: book out-of-season, around mid-week, out of peak times. If you’re looking for the cheapest deal, some suggest booking “as soon as possible”, while at least one statistician we know suggests that the sweet (ie. cheap) spot for booking is in fact on the Tuesday eight weeks prior to your flight. If he’s to be believed, does the same apply for hotel bookings? In reality, it’s a little more complex than that.

How are travel-industry prices determined?

A number of factors affect the price of flights, but when a spike in demand occurs, it can kick off a snowball effect on the price of hotels. This is according to software guru Patrick Bosworth who shares his expertise in an article exploring how room rates are set. Bosworth says that he uses “algorithms based on a variety of data sources to help his roughly 300 hotel clients come up with the optimal room rates.” His company factors in everything from airline ticket sales and TripAdvisor reviews to the weather; for a beach hotel a beautiful season leads to a rise in demand while lousy temperatures result in a slew of cancellations.

The best way to compare hotel prices

With so many factors affecting the price of hotels, how should you compare hotel prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal? We round up the most pertinent things to consider.

- Quality: Different stages of life call for different hotel requirements. Although you might have been happy to settle for a hostel as a 20 year-old backpacker, as you get older and you’re looking for a relaxing escape from work, a little luxury might be what you’re after. Decide what you’re looking for and build space for quality into the price. Remember that like many things in life, you often get what you pay for.

- Boutique vs. hotel chain: It’s possible to snag deals through larger hotel groups so although a boutique may seem like a cooler option, it’s often not the best value for money.

- Location: When you compare hotel prices one of the most important factors to keep in mind is the hotel’s location. If you’re looking for a sunny seaside sojourn, consider the hotel’s proximity to the beach; when out to see a big city’s sites, determine where your potential accommodation sits from the inner city bustle.

- Safety in numbers: Find out how many guests can fit into the room. For those travelling with young kids, the best option is often a double room with a pull-out sofa.

- Self-accommodation perks: It’s useful to compare hotel prices by considering how a stay in a particular hotel might save you money in the long-run. Rooms that provide fridges, microwaves and dining areas allow you to save on eating out but if the point of your holiday is to leave cooking and dirty dishes behind, this particular saving might not be worth it.

- Facilities and additional services: Look at the range and scope of facilities and services that your potential hotel offers. Is there a pool, a spa, a gourmet restaurant on-site? Does the hotel provide shuttle services, babysitters and good local advice?

- Seasonal demand: When you compare hotel prices, you’ll notice a marked difference between seasons. Be open-minded to what off-peak seasons offer. However, it’s wise to thoroughly research the destination out-of-season; a slight drop in temperature in a less crowded place might make for a more pleasant visit but a stay somewhere swamped in monsoon season is unlikely to impress.

- Reviews, awards and certifications: The popularity of a hotel is greatly affected by the shared experiences of previous guests. Although some reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt, if loads of people and certifying bodies commend a place, it’s safe to assume it’s a good choice. If you’re in the market for fantastic Calpe hotels, for example, you’ll be pleased to know that the World Travel Awards recently honoured AR Diamante Beach Spa & Resort with the title of Leading Mediterranean Beach Hotel.

- Should you book directly or through a third-party booking website?: Although third-party sites often claim to offer cheaper rates, booking directly through the hotel allows you to specify exactly what you want, to get a feel of your hotel before you book it and to benefit from hotel specials, loyalty points and other perks.

Some hotel groups make finding a hotel to match your budget a cinch. AR Hotels’ easy-to-use booking form allows you to simply enter your dates and a series of hotel options present themselves. For more information about getting great deals on hotel rooms in beautiful Costa Blanca, contact AR Hotels about our portfolio of luxury Calpe hotels.