Out of Season
Rather than finagle discount prices—or in addition to finagling—many
hotels, motels, and resorts establish a variety of peak and off-peak prices.
You'll find these prices on their Web sites. Some variations are seasonal:
You pay much less to stay in Aspen or the Caribbean in the summer than
in the winter and much less in Bar Harbor, Maine in the fall or the spring
than in the summer. Big-city hotels that cater to business travelers cut rates
on weekends, resorts cut rates midweek, and motels along highways often
cut rates in the winter. Rates are also higher when a local festival or pro-
gram is going on than when stages are dark.
Some hotels don't offer much in the way of promotions other than
off-peak deals. Hotels in Las Vegas and Reno seldom offer senior and similar
discounts, for example, but they're big on attracting seniors with low
advertised rates at off-peak times. The widest peak/off-peak swings are at
expensive hotels and resorts, where there's a lot of padding in the peak
prices. But even midpriced and budget hotels often vary their prices sea-
sonally by at least a little bit.
Hotels and resorts sometimes label their off-peak rates as "dis-
counted," but that's not quite accurate. Accommodations are really a
different product off-peak than at peak times. A room in a resort on Jamaica
in September, when it's hurricane season in the Caribbean and the weather
is nice in New York, is different than that same room in February, when
the Jamaican temperatures are mild and New Yorkers are shoveling snow.
If you are willing to accept significant product differences, off-season rates
that are often less than half of the peak-season rates might be a good deal