Planning a vacation is exciting, thinking about all the things you'll do and eat. But pick the wrong week and you might find yourself spending more than you anticipated on accommodations. If there is a big event in town, you can expect higher hotel costs. Here are some ValuePenguin strategies to avoid just that.
Check the Calendar
Before you take time off from work and start booking airline tickets and hotel rooms, check around to find out if there is a big event in town at the same time you plan to be there. A big football game, a convention or a festival, all of these things can drive up hotel prices.
Most of us are aware of the really big stuff like the Super Bowl, a political convention or a major holiday, but if you thought you'd be safe going to Boston for the first official weekend of summer, you may have been in for a surprise.
Harvard graduation typically takes place on Memorial Day weekend. You are now competing with thousands of parents and family members for a hotel room. It takes some digging to find these kinds of events that can affect hotel rates.
You can check out a local events page like Time Out, the local chamber of commerce site, or even just call the hotel you want to book and ask them if there is anything big going on at the time you want to visit. Rooms for big events are booked months ahead so the hotel should be able to tell you.
Don't Get Gouged
TravelSkills.com did some digging into price gouging in the Bay Area during the 2016 Super Bowl and found hotels not only jacking up the rates but requiring several-night stays as well!
The Orchard Garden Hotel was charging $1,800 a night that weekend and requiring a four-night stay. Their rates the previous August? Just $281 per night with no minimum length of stay. That was an increase of 540%
San Francisco hotels aren’t alone in this practice. Many hotels raise rates when there is a big event in town.
Depends on the City
Some cities are better able to handle a big influx of tourists. Places like New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Orlando have a lot of infrastructure built around tourism and particularly convention-based tourism. People visiting for a convention are more contained than people visiting for a big event like a concert.
They tend to stay near where ever the convention is being held, so the hotels in other areas of the city don't have as much incentive to raise their rates.
Cities like San Francisco don't have as much infrastructure to handle this influx. This has demonstrated during Dreamforce, Sales Force's convention, which draws 150,000-plus people. In 2015, the city sold out of hotel rooms and organizers had to charter a ship for attendees to stay on.
Visitors who thought AirBnB would be a good alternative found out the rates weren't much better. A two-bedroom apartment was renting on the site for $1,200 a night.
It Might Not Occur to You...
Maybe the Super Bowl is being hosted in your city and you want to escape the madness. Vegas might be fun. Why not? Well, because the Super Bowl is one of the busiest weekends in Vegas no matter where the Super Bowl is being held because of all the sports betting. The same is true for weekends during March Madness, the Kentucky Derby and other big sporting events.
You might not think of your destination being busy because a big event is being held somewhere else, but it can be and the hotel rates escalate accordingly. Again, this is a time when you want to call the hotel you want to book and ask if it's a busy time.
If you've already booked air tickets and you can't move the date of your trip, you can still stay affordably. If the city has good public transit from outlying areas, or even Uber, you can stay outside of the city center and commute into your destination.
A room on a weeknight at the Double Tree Hotel in New York City's Times Square might set you back $440. At the Z NYC, a trendy hotel in Long Island City, Queens, which is just a 25-minute subway ride ($2.75 each way), cost $320, and a LIC Best Western would be even lower, at just $219.
Even if you skip the subway in favor of a cab or Uber even with a tip, you will still come out ahead.
The article Big Event in Town: When and Where to Expect Higher Hotel Costs originally appeared on ValuePenguin.