Hotel prices spiked in 2023, and now, many are wondering, will they drop in 2024? Unfortunately, the answer is a hard no.
Why are hotel prices so high? And, beyond that, what can you do to try and save money?
Food, Fuel and Even Laundry Rates Factor Into High Prices
“There is no question that the cost of hotels and travel has increased dramatically since the world opened up again post pandemic,” said Ryan Walker, CEO at Beyond Academy. “2024 will continue to see these rises, as they factor in the higher costs of food, fuel, laundry rates and labor. The percentage increase isn’t likely to be as high as 2022 or 2023, when rates rocketed, but globally we expect to see nightly stays cost over 2% more and even reach highs of nearly 10% in Europe.”
Behavior Toward Travel Is Shifting
Another reason hotel prices are soaring is because of a dramatic shift in the American (or perhaps global) attitude toward travel. People simply want to do it more since the pandemic, and, thanks to a surge in remote working options, they often can.
“[Prices are rising] due to changes in travel behavior attributable to hybrid and remote working models,” said Yariv Ben-Ari, the chair of the Real Estate Hospitality Group with New York law firm Herrick, Feinstein.
Inflation, Corporate Travel and Even Upcoming Elections Play a Role, Too
“This is despite an expected softening of leisure travel demand forecasted by American Express Global Business Travel,” Ben-Ari said. “The Hotel Monitor 2024 finds that rates could rise by as much as 17.5% in some cities.”
Don’t Forget About the Olympics and ‘PickleBall Mania’
Sporting events also may play a pretty significant role in the uptick in travel and the accompanying rise in hotel prices.
“2024 will also usher in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and we should also be mindful of the growing popularity of sports such as Formula 1, and as crazy as it may sound, ‘Pickleball Mania’ travel,” Ben-Ari said.
‘Surprise Travel’ Is Picking Up Steam
“Some sites, such as Booking.com are expecting to see more ‘Surprise Travel,’” Ben-Ari said. “There is also a large media push advising people to book in advance, which will also drive demand pricing.”
How To Save on Hotel Costs
Given the rather abysmal news about hotel prices continuing to go up, you may be curious about how you can save in this area in 2024.
See If the Same Hotel Is Listed on a Different Site for a Better Price
One move to make is, simply, to shop around.
“Try searching to see if the same hotel is listed on any different sites at more competitive prices,” Walker said. “They may even have their own website that you can make a direct booking through at a cheaper rate.”
Check the Calendar
Similar to airfare, hotel prices usually surge during busy seasons or when many are heading to a specific destination for, say, a Taylor Swift or Beyoncé concert. Try to be flexible with your dates when possible.
“If your dates don’t have to be fixed then avoid those dates and choose a time when there is less demand,” Walker said.
Use Cash-Back Sites
“Many of the larger travel websites offer cash back against hotel bookings,” Walker said. “Although some may only be 1% they are occasionally increased to over 10%. This can be helpful when booking multiple nights.”
Sign Up for Newsletters
You may not want to risk even more emails slamming your inbox, but if you’re planning a hotel stay in the future, it’s smart to sign up for hotel newsletters.
“You may be lucky enough to receive an extra discount as an added booking incentive,” Walker said.
Book a Refundable Hotel Rate and Watch for Price Drops
“You can easily cancel [a refundable] reservation and rebook at a cheap rate,” said Kendyl Grender, owner at Kendyl Travels. “I stayed at an all-inclusive in Mexico and checked the rate every 2-3 weeks and eventually the price dropped over $100 a night! I was able to cancel and rebook, saving over $500 on the overall cost.”
Contact the Hotel Directly and Try To Negotiate
Marina Guastavino, CEO of the free travel extension Directo Extension, recommends directly reaching out to the hotel to see if you can negotiate a better price.
“In cases where you don’t find a lower price on their website, I suggest reaching out via email or phone,” Guastavino said. “More often than not — about eight out of 10 times — I’ve secured a better deal by simply asking. The key is to approach the negotiation with politeness and courtesy. Keep in mind that you’re aiming for a mutually beneficial arrangement, and maintaining a positive attitude can be highly effective. Additionally, mentioning a special occasion or the purpose of your trip might earn you some extra points in the negotiation process.”
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