Is Booking Hotels After 4pm for Same-Day Stays a Good Idea?

Our research team recently conducted a study to see if booking US hotels last minute was beneficial compared to booking several months out.

The results showed that booking three months out was on average better than booking the day before or even nine months out.

There were several properties that did lower the price for last minute bookings but they tended to be in the minority.

However, one tip that we ran across was to wait to book until after 4 PM for a last-minute booking because the prices may drop.

We were curious to see if this would actually be the case so we decided to do a mini-study and test out 80 hotels to see if their prices would indeed drop after 4 PM for same-day bookings.

Do you save money when booking after 4 PM for same-day bookings?

Our research showed that on average prices decreased by 2% when making a booking after 4 PM for a same day stay. However, several hotels dropped their prices much more than 2% allowing customers to save up to 25% at specific properties.

Keep reading below to check out the full results.

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Methodology

Because we were dealing with extremely last minute bookings we were not able to use the usual standard room for our data points (too many of the rooms were sold out).

So these data points represent prices for standard rooms, suites, deluxe rooms, etc. The key is that we always used the exact same type of room and rate when we checked the price later on in the day.

We also chose major chains (Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott) in some of the most populated cities of the US.

And finally we chose a diverse selection of brands so that we have data from expensive luxury properties and also mid-tier and lower tier brands.

The data

Overall, the data shows that the prices decreased by an average of 2%.

But that does not tell the whole story.

For one, several properties did have the prices go up after 4 PM so it is definitely not a guarantee that your price will go down.

The worst price increase we saw was a 46% jump at the Hyatt Place Austin Downtown, so it is definitely possible to get burned when booking after 4 PM.

As expected, there were several properties that simply had the same price after 4 PM so not every hotel is so dynamic with last-minute prices.

And then there were those properties that ran out of inventory and sold out by the time that we checked back with them in the evening which is always a risk when trying to take advantage of last minute deals.

When prices did decrease, the average decrease was about 12%. Sometimes the decrease resulted in some pretty substantial savings like at the W Austin where the rate went down by around $100.

The biggest percentage decrease we saw was at the The Adolphus, Autograph Collection, where the price decreased by 26%.

Property NameBefore 2PMAfter 4PM
Conrad New York Midtown$695$714
The Hilton Club – New York$547$468
Hyatt Centric Times Square New York$329$329
Hyatt Union Square New York$479$479
InterContinental New York Times Square$284$284
Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York$389$303
The St. Regis New York$1,269$1,318
The Westin New York Grand Central$429$429
The Beverly Hilton$441$441
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown$229$225
The Shay$299$319
Thompson Hollywood$279$279
InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown$273$273
Kimpton Everly Hotel$284$275
The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles$616$616
W Hollywood$303$303
Waldorf Astoria Chicago$528$539
LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton$242$241
Hyatt Regency Chicago$339$279
Chicago Athletic Association$259$259
InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile$205$205
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago$231$231
The Westin Chicago River North$322$322
Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel$313$313
Hilton Americas-Houston$221$224
C. Baldwin, Curio Collection by Hilton$215
Hyatt Regency Houston$199$209
Hyatt Place Houston/Galleria$149$149
InterContinental Houston – Medical Center$199$199
Holiday Inn Houston Downtown$175$175
The St. Regis Houston$450$460
Marriott Marquis Houston$254$254
Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort$636$636
Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Glendale-Westgate$137$120
Hyatt Regency Phoenix$279$279
Hyatt House Scottsdale/Old Town$229$229
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Scottsdale – Old Town$132$132
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tempe$137$137
W Scottsdale$450$450
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown$342$342
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City$198$182
The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton$230$234
The Bellevue Hotel$279$279
Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia$249$249
Holiday Inn & Suites Philadelphia W – Drexel Hill$199$189
Holiday Inn Philadelphia-Cherry Hill$218$246
W Philadelphia$293$293
Renaissance Philadelphia Downtown Hotel$234$234
Canopy by Hilton San Antonio Riverwalk$222$226
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Antonio Riverwalk Downtown$163$161
Thompson San Antonio – Riverwalk$279$279
Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk$249$249
Hotel Indigo San Antonio-Riverwalk$151$132
Holiday Inn San Antonio-Riverwalk$146$146
The Westin Riverwalk, San Antonio$264$224
The St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Antonio$323$254
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown$251$242
Hilton San Diego Bayfront$273$228
Andaz San Diego$299$239
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego$239$239
InterContinental San Diego$362$342
Hotel Indigo San Diego-Gaslamp Quarter$215$215
Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, San Diego$297$264
The Westin San Diego Downtown$247$195
Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Dallas$238$238
The Statler Dallas, Curio Collection by Hilton$273$273
Thompson Dallas$389$469
Hyatt Regency Dallas$229$249
Hotel Indigo Dallas Downtown$203$203
Crowne Plaza Dallas Downtown$132$132
The Adolphus, Autograph Collection$381$283
The Westin Dallas Downtown$340$303
Hilton Austin$277$277
Canopy by Hilton Austin Downtown$382$333
The Driskill$379
Hyatt Place Austin Downtown$249$365
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt$617$617
Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown – University$189$189
W Austin$698$597
Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol$210
$311$305

Final word

This study supports a couple of findings.

First, just as reported in other articles we’ve done, prices at hotels can be very dynamic and change throughout the day and not just day-to-day.

Second, waiting until after 4 PM can result in savings for a last-minute, same-day booking. And in some cases the savings can be pretty substantial allowing you to snag a price for $100 less.

You still need to be careful with last minute bookings because as shown by the data above sometimes those rooms may not be available later on or you could get burned by a price hike close to 50%!

But overall if you need to book a room for a same day stay you might be better off waiting until the late afternoon to make a booking.

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