Agoda.com, one of Asia's leading hotel booking sites and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), announced today the results of its most recent Travel Smart study: a trip-planning calendar that helps travelers find the best hotel deals all over the world.
Based on booking data from hundreds of thousands of guests who used Agoda.com in 2013, the study analyzed hotel prices at 25 of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The resulting calendar shows the best and worst times to book during the year.
High and low seasons are nothing new, but travelers may be surprised to find just how much they will save or spend by picking travel dates carefully. Travel to New York or Rome in the first week of January, for example, and you'll save as much as 40% off the average room rate. Visit Oslo in May and you could end up paying 50% more. Hotels in Istanbul are about 25% cheaper December through March, but as much as 50% more expensive in the middle of May.
"We know airfares, vacation schedules and the weather are also important factors, but we hope this tool helps our customers save money when they plan their vacations," said Errol Cooke, Vice President, Global Hotels at Agoda.com.
For many destinations across the globe, the cheapest time to book hotels is in the beginning of the year. Average room rates during the first two weeks of January were below average in all 25 markets the study looked at. But travelers can also find bargains at other times of the year. In March there are deals to be found in Barcelona, London or Oslo. June and July, traditionally popular vacation months, are inexpensive times to book hotels in Dubai, Milan and Vienna. The last week in December, considered high season in most destinations, is a great time to travel to Oslo, Stockholm or Riyadh.
Hotel prices in some places, though, tend to be consistent throughout the year. Budget travelers in Asia will be disappointed to hear that there really is no low season for most of that region's popular destinations. The cheapest time to travel to Tokyo is the first week of January, but even then hotel rooms are just 17% cheaper than average. Likewise in Taipei and Seoul seasonal hotel deals are limited. The best hotel deals in Taipei are the first week of July but prices then are only 9% cheaper than average; for Seoul the best week is the first week of January but you'll only score a 10% discount.
The study looked at booking data for 2013, but certain annual holidays, such as Chinese New Year and Ramadan, and events, such as the Milan Furniture Fair, take place on different dates each year and will affect rates.