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Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

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Vancouver, BC
posts: 7
reviews: 3
Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

I heard a rumour that if you don't book a hotel in advance and just show up at the front desk looking for a room right then and there you get much better rates than booking in advance. Can someone who may have done this or a local confirm this? and if so how much cheaper? And which kind of hotels?

posts: 5,265
reviews: 9
1. Re: Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

I don't know why this rumor gets started again and again. You are going to pay a premium for last minute hotel rooms 99% of the time. And that's if you can even FIND one at somewhere you would want to stay in Vegas.

Vegas has a hotel room occupancy rate that is very high (I forget the exact number, I want to say 97%).

So imagine coming all the way to Vegas and then dragging yourself and your luggage up and down the strip trying to find hotels that are not full. If you think you can walk up to the front desk of the Bellagio and ask for reservations that night and have them say "Oh, sure, it'll be $99." you are wrong. Most likely they will say, "Sorry we are full".

Best way to get good rates is shop around, book early and keep looking for better deals, sign up for the email lists of the hotels you'd like to stay at and hoping for offers.

Danville, California
posts: 1,674
reviews: 113
2. Re: Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

I have been going to VEgas since I was 21, and I can assure you that it is almost always cheaper to book in advance. Vegas hotels tend to sell out, particularly on the weekends, so you will not be able to find a room on the strip if you don't have a reservation, and the off strip properties will cost you more in taxi fares, etc. for worse rooms.

The ONLY exception is that you will occasionally see specials offered during slow season, particularly for weeknights. So make a "cancellable" backup reservation and keep your eyes pealed for specials.

Also you can sometimes find last minute deals on priceline, but these are very hit-or-miss. And again, almost non-existant on weekends.

posts: 7,322
reviews: 10
3. Re: Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

The last time I came as a visitor and didn't have a reservation I ended up staying at the Royal Casino on Convention Center Drive. Needless to say I always had a reservation after that.

Burbank Ca
posts: 2,853
reviews: 1
4. Re: Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

Some friends of ours..did this a few years ago...Ended up at a place called the Rainbow hotel downtown...barely escaped with their lives..is the story...

posts: 31,592
5. Re: Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

If you book with the hotel directly it won't matter if you find a cheaper rate later. You can always call within the cancellation period and rebook at the cheaper rate or cancel and go to another hotel with a cheaper rate. Showing up without any reservation anywhere is going to cost you big- either in dollars or inconvenience! Don't do it!

Austin, TX.
posts: 4,815
reviews: 21
6. Re: Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

The "rumor" is WRONG. Walking up to the front desk with your bags and asking "how much" will ALWAYS get you the HIGHEST rate they charge for any particular room.

Austin, Texas
Destination Expert
for Austin
posts: 4,044
reviews: 166
7. Re: Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

Doing a walk up will most likely get you the hotel's rack rate, which is the highest rate they can legally charge for the room and which is almost always outrageous. (Do some reasearch next time your at a hotel and check out the posting on the door in the closet to find out what the rack rate is.) The best rates tend to be in advance through the hotel's web site unless you're brave enough to do a priceline thing and hope for the best.

New Jersey
posts: 147
reviews: 7
8. Re: Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

i need an experienced opinion. coming to vegas in May. want to stay at MGM. room rates right now are $209 a night. THinking i should put a hold on the room now to guarentee the rate and then if cheaper, Great! I am not familiar with how the rates work....will they get more expensive as the months go on??? Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!

Park Forest...
posts: 11,391
reviews: 76
9. Re: Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

The rates will probably come down in the winter and start going back up once the hotel is closer to fully booked. The exception is if there is a big convention coming through.

Austin, TX.
posts: 4,815
reviews: 21
10. Re: Cheaper to book hotels in advance or not?

MGM is NEVER worth $209 a night unless its a suite.