All things Siesta Key. Stories, news, and event information about Sarasota, Florida's beautiful beach.
How to Book Like a Pro
Booking a hotel for your vacation seems like an easy enough task, but paying attention to the details can be the difference between paying a lot and saving a lot. Lodging is often the biggest single expense when traveling, so taking a few extra steps to find the best deals at the right time just makes sense. Here, the experts at The Best Western Siesta Key offer some basic hotel booking tips as well as some specific insight about our area. Take a look then give us a call when you’re ready!
Pros and Cons of Last-Minute Booking
While the booking protocol for airlines tends to be counter-intuitive (prices tend to go up last-minute), hotels definitely operate on a supply and demand basis. They want to fill rooms, even at a discount. So waiting until the last 24-48 hours to book your room is a great plan…if you’re willing to take the risk of not finding anything. Most hotels require a cancellation fee if the reservation is cancelled within 24-48 hours, so guests will often cancel just before this cutoff to avoid extra fees. That being said, it’s important to watch for large events in the area that might attract enough people that hotels could be booked solid. Being flexible and willing to explore several options is the best way to find a last-minute deal on a room.
Best Time to Book
If you’re a planner and want to get your accommodations nailed down well in advance, you may find yourself paying far more than necessary. Booking more than two or three months ahead will be costly, when rooms are available and hotels can charge the going rate. Within a month of your travel date, rates will start to drop as rooms that are still vacant need to be reserved. Most experts will say that booking your hotel near the end of the week, on a Friday or Saturday, is the best time to make a selection. Travelers are already checking in, not making their selections (which are typically done on Mondays). However, the very cheapest day of the week to book domestic hotel rooms is Sunday afternoon. Weekenders are checking out and business travelers won’t be arriving until Monday at the earliest for their work week. If you can swing a Sunday night getaway, you’ll save big on lodging.
Booking “On the Shoulder”
Just like Sunday afternoons are a great in-between time to book a room, finding the sweet spot between seasons, the “shoulder,” can be just as economical. Learn enough about the area to discover what trends will jack up prices and avoid those times if possible. For example, travel to large cities or exotic locations tends to be higher during holidays (think Hawaii for Christmas). Travel in general is lowest in January and early February, as most people have just returned from taking time off work and school during holiday breaks. So hotels in big cities are at their least expensive during these months. Here in Florida, September and October are ideal. Families are finished with summer travel and back in school, while our northern “snowbirds” haven’t started migrating south for warmer weather just yet. The beaches are still warm, the water very swimmable, but crowds have died down enough to make for a fantastic vacation.
Whenever you choose to travel, it’s smart to do a little research ahead of time to find the best deals. The joy of vacationing will continue long after your trip if you’re not riddled with guilt over your vacation spending. To learn more about our amazing deals, talk to the professionals at The Best Western Siesta Key. We’ll be happy to help you find the best travel dates, the best season, and of course, the best price on the island. We know you want to travel smart, and we’re here to help you do just that.