Published on Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tips for tackling the hotel tab

Like recent reports from PwC and PKF, a new study from STR predicts rising hotel rates for the next 18 months.

STR predicts average daily rates (ADR) will climb 4.2% percent to $110.61, as occupancy rates rise 1.4%, to 62.2%. Supply will grow just 1.1%, below the long-term average of 1.7%.

So what's a hotel buyer or meeting planner to do to get the best deals?

Bob Diener, president of, told TravelMole that with very little new supply coming into the market, rates surely will rise, especially in major cities.Still, though, there is "a lot of product and a lot of options."

Buyers can consider moving slightly outside the center of the big cities, opting for Palm Beach instead of Miami or Jersey City instead of Manhattan.

Because rising rates also keep travelers from cancelling their reservations because they get a better deal, the closer you get to your arrival date, the higher the price will b, Diener notes.

Booking early - before the 14-day or 21-day windows hotels use to raise rates - can bring big savings.

Now is the best time to book a hotel for the winter season in major cities in the US and Europe, Diener says; with refundable rates, you can always cancel if your plans change.

While is designed to be a consumer site, it also works with many travel agents to find the best rates, and it does pay commissions.

"Our number-one tip for agents and consumers is the earlier you book, the better off you are going to be," Diener says.

"You want to try to be at least 21 days in advance, whether it's for an individual or a small group."

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