SOURCE: Hipmunk

Hipmunk

May 22, 2015 08:00 ET

Hipmunk Releases First Annual Seasonal Hotel Price Index

Index Includes the Most Expensive and Least Expensive Places in America to Book a Hotel This Summer

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - May 22, 2015) - In many American cities, the winters are bitterly cold, but the summers are oh so gorgeous. Since the supply of hotels is the same no matter what season it is, prices go up to meet the increased demand. So, which American cities are going to be the most expensive to book hotels in this summer? In which cities do hotel prices skyrocket during the summer and plummet in the winter? Hipmunk reviewed its historical hotel data to figure it out.

The Most Expensive U.S. Cities for Hotels this Summer

This summer, the most expensive city in America to book a hotel in is Sonoma, California, where the average booking is $417. In close proximity to some 400 wineries, and perennially hot in the summer, Sonoma is an immensely popular vacation destination. The Northern California hotspot has a limited number of hotels, so in the summer, prices accordingly skyrocket.

Napa Valley, California ($338 per night) and Santa Barbara, California ($311 per night) -- both of which also are peppered with some of America's finest wineries -- round out the top three most expensive cities to book a hotel in during the summer months.

The Least Expensive U.S. Cities for Hotels this Summer

In some cities, this dynamic is completely reversed: the hotels are actually much cheaper in the summer than they are in the winter. Typically, these are either ski destinations that have no snow in the summer, or vacation destinations that have nice weather in the winter and are uncomfortably hot during the summer.

Topping the list of cities with the biggest summer hotel savings is Scottsdale, Arizona (64 percent less that winter rates) and Miami (58 percent less than winter rates), but their average summer highs are 103 and 89 degrees, respectively. Rounding out the top three is the popular winter ski destination of Breckenridge, Colorado, which boasts a mild summer high of 70 degrees (56 percent less than winter rates).

Cities with the Most Seasonal Price Fluctuation

Many popular summer vacation destinations are known for their beaches, water parks, and other aquatic activities. When the weather cools down many summer attractions close for the winter causing hotels to lower their prices due to an expected decrease in demand. If you book a hotel in these cities in the wintertime, you'll get a great price, but will have a smaller selection of activities to choose from. By summer, the prices will be much higher, but the full selection of attractions will be back in full swing.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is the city with the highest premium: $95 during the winter, and $228 during the summer, for a premium of 139 percent. Ocean City, Maryland and Newport, Rhode Island -- both coastal towns with a huge tourist influx in the summer, but not much demand in the winter -- complete the top three, with premiums of 130 percent and 101 percent respectively.

Off-Peak Deal Destinations

So, how does a traveler get the best deal on a hotel? One of the best ways to save money on a trip is to visit a vacation destination in a slightly off-peak season. That might mean visiting a ski resort in early spring, a winery in late fall, or a beach town just before the summer rush starts. To help determine when certain cities post their cheapest hotel prices, Hipmunk assembled a cheat sheet of costs by season.

 
 
Cheat Sheet: Hotel Prices by Season
 
Average hotel rates from Hipmunk by season
                    
Popular Cities  Winter  Spring  Summer  Fall  Popular Cities  Winter  Spring  Summer  Fall
 
                              
Anchorage, AK  $101  $110  $184  $96  New York, NY  $185  $343  $295  $309
 
Ann Arbor, MI  $100  $104  $145  $148  Orlando, FL  $122  $104  $99  $101
 
Berkeley, CA  $174  $183  $179  $190  Palm Springs, CA  $281  $220  $133  $159
 
Boston, MA  $185  $289  $297  $338  Palo Alto, CA  $282  $256  $259  $318
 
Cambridge, MA  $187  $272  $255  $310  Philadelphia, PA  $170  $225  $185  $205
 
Charleston, SC  $221  $292  $194  $207  Phoenix, AZ  $149  $106  $80  $102
 
Chicago, IL  $138  $206  $260  $268  Pittsburgh, PA  $159  $193  $177  $209
 
Dallas, TX  $165  $148  $136  $175  Portland, OR  $148  $151  $187  $168
 
Denver, CO  $148  $133  $175  $178  Providence, RI  $157  $172  $210  $200
 
Detroit, MI  $180  $169  $192  $183  Salt Lake City, UT  $134  $107  $112  $106
 
Hilton Head Island, SC  $123  $242  $245  $171  San Antonio, TX  $147  $148  $134  $121
 
Hollywood, CA  $204  $191  $199  $199  San Diego, CA  $136  $151  $192  $145
 
Honolulu, HI  $231  $193  $220  $203  San Francisco, CA  $216  $230  $274  $242
 
Houston, TX  $152  $160  $140  $139  San Jose, CA  $169  $146  $199  $158
 
Key West, FL  $397  $357  $305  $258  Santa Barbara, CA  $225  $300  $311  $271
 
Las Vegas, NV  $164  $241  $131  $135  Santa Fe, NM  $203  $158  $195  $164
 
Memphis, TN  $156  $160  $149  $151  Savannah, GA  $165  $293  $211  $157
 
Miami, FL  $321  $196  $136  $149  Scottsdale, AZ  $267  $161  $97  $133
 
Milwaukee, WI  $121  $136  $173  $136  Seattle, WA  $179  $183  $302  $235
 
Minneapolis, MN  $121  $150  $187  $177  Sedona, AZ  $238  $272  $249  $191
 
Monterey, CA  $175  $195  $216  $174  Sonoma, CA  $276  $329  $417  $352
 
Myrtle Beach, SC  $95  $183  $228  $84  South Lake Tahoe, CA  $130  $125  $192  $121
 
Napa, CA  $264  $329  $338  $283  Tampa, FL  $137  $136  $93  $107
 
Nashville, TN  $155  $189  $177  $187  Taos, NM  $114  $77  $120  $97
 
New Orleans, LA  $221  $228  $164  $204  Virginia Beach, VA  $97  $135  $185  $106
 
                            
                    

For the complete Hipmunk seasonal Hotel Price Index, visit the Hipmunk blog. To book your next trip, visit the Hipmunk homepage or download the Hipmunk Flight and Hotel App for free from the App Store and Google Play.

Methodology

On behalf of Hipmunk, Priceonomics analyzed the average hotel prices on same-month bookings by Hipmunk users between January 1 and December 31, 2014.

About Hipmunk
Hipmunk is the fastest, easiest way to plan travel. The site and mobile apps help save time and money by comparing top travel sites to show the perfect flight or hotel at the cheapest price. Hipmunk offers the most comprehensive travel search, from commercial flights, trains, and charter flights to hotels and vacation rentals through Airbnb and HomeAway. The unique display makes it easy to visually compare results to choose the best option.

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