Thinking about traveling? According to Checking In: Hotel Trends, a recent report from Bellevue-based Expedia, there’s no better time to book a hotel. With hotel brands expanding internationally in cities across the U.S. and the globe, lodging options for travelers are in no short supply, and business and leisure travelers alike are taking advantage of this time of plenty.
According to the Expedia report, overnight hotel stays rose 33 percent from June 2015 to June 2016 — a big boost for the online travel agency industry of which Expedia, of course, is a part. And a recent report from investment research and investment management firm Morningstar notes that half of all U.S. hotel bookings are made online — and those numbers continue to climb.
Expedia itself has more than 307,000 bookable properties in its database and its website features more than 36 million verified post-stay reviews provided by travelers.
With major insight into the industry, Expedia uses the data it collects (around 1,400 terabytes per year), to better inform travelers.
Based on the numbers Expedia collected last year from its branded points of sale, Wotif.com, Lastminute.com.au, and Travelocity, the company has made some helpful predictions that people can use to better plan their travel heading into the new year.
When to Book
As a veteran in the online travel agency industry, Expedia provides a 20-year lens into peoples’ travel-planning patterns. When booking hotels online, the trends suggest that people are most concerned with — no surprise here — price.
While hotel prices fluctuate based on supply and demand, the Expedia report indicates that Sunday is typically the best day to book travel if your goal is to save some moolah. Of course, there are some exceptions. For example, how far in advance you book can influence how much you spend. Expedia found that the best average daily rates are available when you book your hotel three to four weeks before your date of travel.
Time of year and destination also can impact how much you spend, of course. November and January typically boast the lowest average daily rates, while July, August, and March have the highest. However, there are exceptions to this rule, too. For example, if you’re willing to endure 100+ degree weather, you’ll likely save some green if you plan a trip to Las Vegas mid-summer.
Where to Stay
Whether you want to stay in a ritzy five-star property with ample amenities or a bare-boned one-star facility that’s easier on the pocketbook is entirely up to you. The Expedia report found that three-star hotels are the most popular overall, with two-star properties favored among travelers who book same-day. And travelers who book their hotels five weeks or more in advance of their travel dates tend to opt for four-star hotels.
Where to Go
The cost of travel fluctuates significantly depending on where you go. Whether traveling in the U.S. or abroad, it’s good to know how far a dollar will get you. When Great Britain exited the European Union earlier this year, for example, exchange rates on the British pound dropped. For countries like the U.S., Singapore, and Australia, this meant more affordable travel. And, according to the Expedia report, travelers haven’t hesitated to take advantage of the exchange rate.
But you don’t have to travel to Great Britain to get a good deal. Other popular travel destinations like London and New York, for example, can become more affordable when you stay outside the city. Expedia found better rates on hotels in towns just outside these big metropolitan areas. And savings weren’t the only perks these neighboring towns offered. Visitors to these suburbs also gained a strong sense of local culture, which can often be lost when visiting tourism-dense areas.
Locally, the report mentioned Tacoma as a good landing point when traveling to the Seattle area, noting its affordable accommodations and convenient proximity to major cities and other attractions, like scenic Mt. Rainier.