Have you ever travelled somewhere and, whilst at your destination, you realised your accommodation would have cost much less, had you gone at a different time? If you’re planning to visit the British capital this year, I’ve prepared this calendar with best times to get hotel offers in London, based on my many years of experience in the London hotel industry. Since not everything is honky dory, you’ll also see when rates tend to be higher than normal.
As most people know, hotel rates fluctuate considerably, depending on the time of the year and the events that are taking place in town. Major international conferences will attract a large number of attendees, increasing demand as a result. So the higher the demand, the less likely there will be any offers available. The same, of course, applies to the contrary: during quieter periods, your chances of finding a room at your dream hotel at knock down prices are much higher.
This calendar is based on trends seen in my 12 years of experience working with hotel reservations and strategy. It works for London as a whole. However, it is important to remember that some of these trends may not affect some hotels, due to their own distinctive day-to-day reality.
In order to make it easier to understand periods, I have classified some dates/periods as follows:
Low: When prices are considerably discounted, sometimes up to 50% of the normal tariff.higher and high.
Higher: Hotel rates are higher than normally, but still reasonable.
High: High demand increases rates considerably and it’s almost impossible to get any discount.
BEST TIMES TO GET HOTEL OFFERS IN LONDON IN 2017
14th, Valentine’s Day
High: As a rule of thumb, you can get very attractive rates on Friday nights, which tend to be quieter than midweek and Saturday nights. This year, however, Valentine’s Day – always a busy night – falls on Sunday and are pushing prices up that entire weekend. Hotel restaurants are also busy with lovebirds enjoying one-off menus prepared specially for the occasion.
17th-21st, London Fashion Week
Higher: The February edition of London’s most important fashion event starts a week Valentine’s Day. With fashionistas and press from all over the world in the capital, demand increases and hotels will not have their best rates available. Those located near Somerset House, where the event takes place, are more likely to have already achieved high occupancy and, as a result, higher rates.
Business as usual, no major events taking place.
Low: Easter in the UK is celebrated from Friday to Monday, which is also a public holiday. During this period, when there are no business guests around, London hotels rely solely on leisure guests and, as a result, rates are slashed and you can get some very attractive offers. Some hotels may have lower rates from Thursday 13th onwards, when business slows down. This is a great opportunity to bag that incredible offer at a highly rated hotel.
Important: Remember that the effect on budget hotels tends to be the opposite, so their rates may be higher, due to high demand.
22nd-23rd, Virgin Money London Marathon
High: The marathon itself takes place on Sunday 23rd, but with runners and their families coming to London from all over the country, it is on Saturday night that you will feel the most significant rate increase.
Note: If you are running the marathon, do let your hotel staff know, since many hotels like to make a small donation to their guests’ charity of choice.
01st, May Bank Holiday
Low: Even though this public holiday falls on a Monday, the number of guests decreases from the Friday night onwards and the whole weekend is affected. Your best chance of getting an unusually low rate is on Sunday and Monday nights.
23rd-27th, Chelsea Flower Show
Higher: No one can deny Brits love their gardens. Living proof of it is the famous Chelsea Flower Show, which brings flocks of tourists from all over the United Kingdom. With the higher demand, rates will increase – especially closer to the event dates – and hotels may put restrictions in place, such as two or three nights minimum stay. In other words, there is little chance of getting any promotional rates, at least on the first days of the event.
27th-29th, Spring Holiday
Low: Another bank (public) holiday that falls on Monday. It is important to remember Chelsea Flower Show ends on Saturday, so you are more likely to find bargain rates on Sunday and Monday 30th.
June is a critical month. With higher temperatures, sunshine (hopefully), major events in and around the capital, and business people in the process of finalising deals ahead of their summer holidays, this is typically high season month. The leisure traveller looking for a promotional rate will be disappointed and should especially avoid the following events, when rates are at premium:
21st-24th, Royal Ascot
High: This event in neighbouring Ascot will not only bring the best racehorses and the wackiest of ladies’ hats: it will also bring many high paying guests to hotels, adding to the already high business demand during the whole month. Chances of any deals are remote.
High: This year the famous tennis tournament attracts fans from all over the world, starts in July. Wimbledon Tennis Tournament generates such a demand for hotel rooms, that you may find the year’s highest rates.
Note: The end of Wimbledon also marks the beginning of the low season in London. With school holidays in the UK, Europe and across the Atlantic, most hotels don’t have the business guests that fill their rooms throughout the year.
Low: Great month for bargain offers at four and five star hotels. Just remember to book in advance to take advantage of the best offers. As always, once the occupancy is good, most hotels will increase their rates.
15th-19th, London Fashion Week
Higher: Following the same trend as the February event, with even higher demand.
No major events, but business is good and rates tend to increase dramatically. Follow the general rule of booking in advance to get good offers.
06th-08th, World Travel Market
High: London will stage one of the travel industry’s largest fairs and rates will follow the demand brought by attendees and delegations from all over the world. Hotels in the Canary Wharf and Excel areas are normally the first to complete their occupancy.
Continental Europe and the UK tend to invade London the first three weekends of the month. During the week, it is business as usual, but if you book in advance, you can get lower rates. Later in the month, be aware of the following dates:
22nd-29th, Christmas Holidays
Low: By this point, everyone is home with their families and hotels go through the quietest period of the year. 24th and 25th are the very best nights to get a room at that plush hotel you always wanted, paying a fraction of the usual rate!
31st, New Year’s Eve
High: London hotels experience very high demand the last night of the year and restrictions for one night stays may be put in place. If this is when you want to stay in London, book far in advance!
First Week of the Year
Low: The first week of the year is always a quiet one, with low rates, and some hotels may lower their rates, trying to fill as many rooms as they can. Again, it is a great opportunity to stay at that expensive hotel you always wanted at very attractive rates.
REMEMBER: These are guidelines for the best and worst times to find good hotel offers in London. But remember that some hotels may use a different strategy based on their own targets and business demand