Booking travel last minute is often considered a great way to bag the best deal but the ‘Best Time to Book’ report, released today by the travel planning and booking site TripAdvisor, reveals that this isn’t always the case.
In fact, the best time to book is completely dependent on where you’re heading and can vary dramatically from destination to destination.
This inaugural report highlights the least expensive times to book hotels for summer travel in popular destinations around the globe, based on TripAdvisor hotel booking and meta click data.
“One of the biggest questions for travellers researching trips are when to book in order to get the best price? Will I save money by booking later?” said James Kay, TripAdvisor spokesperson.
“What is interesting is that those who book either very early or very last minute are rarely getting the best deals.
“For many destinations, hotel prices actually tend to reach a low a few months in advance of the trip.”
A survey of 2,000 British holidaymakers found that consumers’ perception of when the best hotel rates become available does not always match the reality.
A quarter of those surveyed (24 per cent) thought that booking a hotel more than six months in advance would give you the best rates.
In fact, of the 25 major destinations included in the research, this was true of only three – Beijing, Moscow and Barcelona – and even then travellers would still benefit from savings in those destinations even if they waited until four months prior to the trip to make the hotel booking.
The research also showed that there was no hard and fast rule for when the most savings could be made across all of the major global destinations, which means travellers will often be best served changing their booking behaviour depending on where they plan to go.
For example, for British travellers planning a summer holiday in Europe, the best time to book their hotel is between three to five months out, when they can save 23 per cent compared to peak prices.
For Brits heading to Asian destinations, however, booking this far in advance can actually be counter-productive – the top five places with the shortest lead time needed to secure the best rates are all in Asia with one in the Middle East.
Dubai has the shortest lead time with the biggest savings to be made by booking within two months of the trip, followed by Jakarta, Mumbai, Bangkok and Hanoi respectively, which all offer the best deals when booking within three months of your trip.
As well as having the shortest lead time for booking, Asia and Middle East destinations offer the biggest savings potential on average at 23 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.
Of the 25 major destinations included in the research, travellers to Moscow stand to gain the most from booking at the right time – with a potential saving of 55 per cent if booking four to seven months out. Dubai follows at 40 per cent when booking within two months of the trip and Jakarta comes closely behind at 39 per cent when booking within three months.
TripAdvisor analysed hotel booking and interest in nine popular regions around the world for the summer months of June, July and August.
The best time to book was defined as periods when hotel prices were less than the average for the destination.
Below is the breakdown of the best time to book and potential savings for 25 popular world cities when comparing the least expensive to most expensive times to book hotels for summer.