When IS the best time to book a hotel?
In this blog, we pull back the covers and reveal ALL the secrets that could save you POUNDS!
We may all be aware of the four seasons; even if the good old British weather doesn’t always comply! But what about the three hospitality ones!?
Perhaps not all of us are so aware of the cost saving travel we could unearth if we got to know a little more about the habits of hospitality!
There’s a lot to be said for UK travel; we live in the most amazing country. We may not get all the vitamin D we need from sun exposure, but even on grey days, the UK is still pretty amazing.
Here at the New Continental Hotel, we may be biased; but we think that Devon (in particular Plymouth!) is truly breathtaking. To ensure as many people regardless of their budget get to experience a little sea, city and moor in their life; we are sharing our Industry Secrets!
Seasons in hospitality are depicted in three main terms;
Peak, Shoulder and Off
Peak Season (or High Season) is basically when the destination that you have chosen is at its most popular – it boils down to simple supply and demand! However, this can sometimes change! You see Peak Season can be set by many factors; weather, events, activities and more. More often than not it’s also set by the school term-times too. As an independent hotel we NEVER set our prices by school holidays; by graduation, Firework Championships and Ocean City Sounds yes, but school holidays, no!
Here in Plymouth, the New Continental Hotels Peak Season is predominantly May – September.
TOP TIP #1 |
If you are choosing Plymouth as your holiday destination, a really great place to start your planning is on the Visit Plymouth website. Look at the events that are scheduled; they do advance scheduling so all the way to a big year for Plymouth which is 2020. Make sure you also like destination pages on social media. You then get instant updates and news without sharing your data and receiving too many unwanted emails!
Shoulder Season (or Mid Season) is the time between the Peak and Low Seasons. Prices here are literally an average between Peak and Low. Normally this season is when you can negotiate great rates. It’s always best to contact the hotel directly.
Here in Plymouth, the New Continental Hotels Shoulder months are predominantly March (depending on Easter), April and October.
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By booking directly, a hotel will not pay any commission, so you will often find a direct booking the cheapest place to book a hotel room. Hotels may not be able to discount the rate given, but they can add value. Hotel currency is a great place to start, most hotels like to give you this as it means that your spend will stay in their hotel. Hotel currency is often a voucher to spend in their restaurant or bar or on treatments if they have a spa.
Upgrades in the Shoulder months are also more tangible as occupancy is lower, so they have more flexibility with their availability. Perhaps an upgrade to a Superior Room from a standard or Parking included in your rate. Bare in mind that hotels tend to only do this for longer stays, over three nights, but well worth a conversation!
Off Season (or Low Season) is when the prices are the very lowest you will find. It’s when hotels are predominantly running at a low occupancy, so have less staff working which is reflected in the pricing structure. This is when you can really grab yourself a bargain!
Here in Plymouth, the New Continental Hotels Off Season is predominantly November – February.
Top Tip #3 |
Besides paying less, visitors who come to a tourist spot like Plymouth during the off-season will enjoy less crowding, and a more laid-back atmosphere. But there are things you need to keep in mind and plan around. Whilst off-season travel is great for the purse-strings, it’s really important to remember that this could mean a change in opening hours, menus and transport links such as ferry’s. If there is a certain attraction or museum that you want to visit, call them first before booking your accommodation and check when (or if) they are open.
Also be mindful that heavily populated tourist areas, like Plymouth, use the off-season months for renovations, so could be closed or planning to change their opening hours to accommodate any facelifts or nip and tucks!
During the off-seasons, you will find the most amazing bargains; three nights for two, free breakfasts and overall just crazy low prices. But hotels that are in holiday destinations will be running on fewer staff. With this in mind, it’s important to remember you may have to wait a little for a Porter or waiting staff. Hotels sometimes will only offer their non-refundable rates during this time too, these can save you around £10-£15 per night, but it does mean that there is no chance of a refund should you not be able to make your booking.
So, a quick recap…
Off Season discounts on beds, food and more WILL save you pounds!
No matter what the season, booking your accommodation directly will give you the best rate.
Destinations in the UK are not really governed by the weather. What that means is most UK destinations will have plenty to do and see even if the heavens open! Planning is essential though, so you don’t get disappointed during your stay with a change in opening times.
Travelling in the shoulder and off seasons means that you do not have to have everything booked in advance. There are always hotel rooms available almost anywhere in the country. So if you just fell in love with a place or meet awesome like-minded travellers, you can go with the flow and your plans can be flexible. Or if you simply choose to stay an extra night – all that’s stopping you is you!
Travelling in the off season months gives you a real chance of getting tickets or reservations that might otherwise prove impossible during peak season without pre-booking months in advance.
Plymouth celebrates its winter seasons with a bunch of pretty awesome small festivals and events and community markets – and there is a lot going on in spring and autumn as well. So if the “lack of major Plymouth events” was a bother to you, be reassured, you won’t get bored in the shoulder and off season months in Plymouth!
If you are looking at staying in Britain’s Ocean City at any time, call us, we would love to welcome you to our beautiful city.
New Continental Hotel | Millbay Road | Plymouth | PL1 3LD