If you’re feeling the itch to travel, but haven’t made plans yet, you’re in luck. Last-minute deals abound! You might be surprised how nice the hotels are for the price you’ll pay. We’ve compiled a list of how much you can save, strategies to save you money, and which sites have the best last-minute deals.
How Much Can You Save on a Last-Minute Hotel?
In general, the savings can be anywhere from 20 to 60 percent, reveals RateGain, the data analytics company behind major online travel agencies such as Expedia, Booking.com, HotelTonight, Hotwire, and others. The discount levels available to travelers vary by location, type of hotel, how far out the booking is made, and length of stay.
For example, a New York hotel booked on discount platforms such as HotelTonight and Hotwire.com averages $154 for the summer. The average price across all hotels on Google Hotels is $219 per night.
Best Tactics to Search For Last-Minute Hotels
If you want the absolute best deal on a last-minute hotel, try one of these strategies:
- Book a mystery hotel. Priceline, Hotwire, and others keep the name of the hotel a secret until you book it. You can save A LOT of money booking a secret hotel, but this makes a lot of people nervous when they don’t know what hotel they’re going to get. However, you can often find out what the name of the hotel is by using these strategies.
- Book using an app. Corporations in the travel industry want consumers to use their apps. To encourage use of a company’s app, you’ll often see larger discounts for hotels booked in it. For example, booking the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel online will cost $184 whereas the price on the hotel is listed at $165 in the app, netting you a savings of $20 per night just for booking through the app.
- Try a new hotel. There are a lot of really great hotels that don’t have the name recognition that other brands do. They offer a great product and are eager to please guests! If you’re willing to try something new, you can find deals on these hotels in spades.
- Use Google Hotel Search to compare prices across booking sites. Most people go to their favorite booking engine (like Expedia, Agoda, Priceline, etc.) for a last-minute hotel. However, if you use Google Hotel Search, the search engine will compare prices for you across all booking engines. That’s an easy win.
Related: The 17 Best Sites and Apps for Last-Minute Travel Deals
10 Best Last-Minute Hotel Deals Sites
Our exhaustive research has led us to a handful of winners in the last-minute travel space. Some sites specialize in last-minute travel, while others offer it alongside their regular lineup. Be sure to use Google’s Hotel Search to compare prices amongst all websites and be wary of websites with “last minute travel” in their name that don’t really offer discounts.
HotelTonight is known for its deep discounts on great hotels booked at the last minute. The popular app aims to get customers the best deal on unsold hotel rooms. This deal on the DoubleTree hotel in New York City is nearly $50 cheaper than on other sites.
Priceline’s Express Deals offer savings up to 60 percent. When you book an express deal, the name of the hotel is hidden until you’ve finished booking it.
Priceline also has a new feature called Pricebreakers, where travelers are shown three hotels and a low price. You don’t get to choose, but you have a much better idea of what hotel you’re going to get.
Much like Priceline’s Express Deals, Hotwire’s Hot Rate Hotels are booked without knowing the name of the hotel and offer exceptionally low prices. There are a lot of tricks you can use to determine the name of the hotel, so you can essentially book a low price while still knowing what hotel you’re going to get.
Snaptravel offers deals to consumers via text messaging, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp. Snaptravel is able to offer steeper discounts because they can share these deals privately versus showing them publicly. You can, however, see the discounts offered on a Snaptravel hotel on Google Hotel Search.
Expedia has a section with featured last-minute deals. Beyond these, you can search the full site as you would normally to find deals. Last-minute savings are noted in green above the price displayed.
Travelocity also has a featured deals page for last-minute travel. It’s not uncommon to see hotels listed at 20 percent off.
Travelocity owns a site called Lastminute.com. The site offers up to 40 percent off Top Secret Hotels, which are hotels booked without knowing the name of the hotel. The site has a great presence in Europe, but travelers worldwide can book on the site as well.
Another website that offers some great last-minute deals is trip.com. Based out of Singapore, you’ll see the greatest savings for bookings in Asia, though deals around the world aren’t too shabby, either.
There are some great deals to be had in the last-minute hotel options in Groupon. This link will take you to some fantastic savings offered by Groupon.
Hotels.com’s relationships with hotel chains allow them to offer a lot of discounts, including last-minute discounts.
Whether you’re looking for a quick hotel stay or a lengthy family vacation, see if these booking engines can help you find a discount on your hotel room.