By Sarah Waffle Gavin, on November 2, 2016

Checking in on 2016 hotel trends

Here’s some big news from the hotel industry: It’s a good time (of human history) to book hotel rooms, especially when you book them over the Internet.

That’s the gist of a study we released today about hotel trends from the first half of 2016—an exhaustive survey of all sorts of statistics to determine when to book, where to book, and the impact of the Brexit vote.

The study is titled, “Checking in: Hotels trends and what they say about the first half of 2016,” and you can find a link to the PDF right here.

Specifically, at least according to proprietary data from Expedia, hotel room nights stayed rose 33 percent for the 12 months ending June 2016. That’s an increase of one-third! Our data also indicates that travelers are booking a wider variety of hotels than ever before—another development that speaks to the current glory days of hotel booking. Put simply, more and more people are booking more and more hotels online. Which, of course, is good for both us and you.

Of course there were a handful of other headlines in our findings. Among them:

  • Sundays are the best days to get deals and save on hotels, especially if you’re booking same-day travel.
  • Booking hotels anywhere from 3-4 weeks ahead of the time of travel usually yields the best rates.
  • The most popular hotels on Expedia’s websites are those with a three-star rating.
  • International travelers have been looking to spend more nights in UK hotels after the Brexit vote.

Our research also concluded that staying at hotels in alternate neighborhoods when visiting big cities around the world can often yield higher savings in comparison to staying in more well-traveled neighborhoods. Some of the neighborhoods we’ve identified as bargains: the Financial District in New York City; Shoreditch in London; and Adlershof in Berlin.

Without question, though, the most useful portion of this study pertained to the timing of hotel bookings.

After we determined Sundays are the best days for deals, we mined our data to determine which months are best to book hotels. On the surface, the numbers showed the lowest Average Daily Rates (ADRs) in November and January, and the highest ADRs in July, August, and March (respectively). Of course this varies by region.

What’s more, our data revealed an interesting fact:  Travelers in North America are more likely to book last-minute hotels than travelers in Europe and the Middle East, who generally take longer to book and usually book farther in advance. This means that, as a nation, we prefer to fly by the seat of our pants! I know I do; my husband and I love taking impromptu weekend getaways.

Perhaps the most compelling takeaway of the study: Expedia offers the kind of choice that few other travel providers can even dream.

We conducted a super-duper, top-secret trial on a branded hotel chain website for a long weekend trip to Paris yielded hotel rooms at six different properties. A similar search on yielded rooms at 1,800 different properties—most of which were at a lower price-point than the alternatives. Oh, and about 1,000 of those 1,800 were top-quality rooms.

If nothing else, results from this study proved what I and my colleagues have asserted for years: Now is the glory days of selling online travel. Let’s not mess this up.

What kinds of hotels do you like to stay in when you travel?