October 1, 2023

Hotels.com Predicts Season-low Hotel Prices This Winter During ‘Cold Shoulder Season’

  Las Vegas, U.S. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino from $139/night …

Hotels.com Predicts Season-low Hotel Prices This Winter During ‘Cold Shoulder Season’

  Las Vegas, U.S. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino from $139/night


Travelers aren’t typically searching for last-minute deals in December, but this year, ’tis the season for holiday travel. According to data from Hotels.com, now is the best time to plan a budget-friendly break for “cold shoulder season,” happening the weekend before Christmas and again after the New Year, with nightly hotel rates expected to dip below $150 a night.1

“In a typical year, travelers can find the best deals between Labor Day and Thanksgiving during fall shoulder season,” said Melanie Fish, spokesperson for Hotels.com. “But travel demand hit an all-time high this summer and never really slowed down, meaning people searching for off-season deals had to do some extra digging to find those price drops. What’s great about this latest Hotels.com intel is that we’ve zeroed in on exactly when to travel for some of the best rates.” 

When to travel for $150 or less

Hotels.com analyzed average hotel rates in the app from July through January to pinpoint the two best times to take advantage of season-low lodging rates below $150 a night. The best time to go this year is the weekend before Christmas, from December 15 – December 20. For those already carefully plotting their PTO next year, the best time for a getaway is after the New Year holiday, January 3- January 8.

  • Best time to travel in 2022: December 15 – December 20
  • Best time to travel in 2023: January 3 – January 8

With the majority of travel concentrated to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, travelers with the flexibility to take a trip between breaks will see fewer crowds and lower prices. During cold shoulder season, hotel rates drop as much as $50-$100 per night from this summer’s highs, which averaged above $200.

According to the travel brand, hotel rates will hit their highest point this winter during New Year’s Eve weekend. Average nightly rates in parts of the Caribbean, including Turks and Caicos and the Caymans, are averaging above $800 per night, and popular ski destinations such as Park City and Vail are more than $600 per night2.

Where to stay this winter

Hotels.com is recommending popular domestic and international destinations where travelers can plan a last-minute cold shoulder season getaway. Based on lodging data, properties in these locales – all of which are 3-star and above – offer nightly rates below $1503.

Where to go in December

  • Las Vegas, U.S. – MGM Grand Hotel & Casino from $139/night
  • Lima, Peru – Sonesta Hotel El Olivar Lima from $95/night
  • Los Angeles, U.S. – citizenM Los Angeles Downtown from $120/night
  • Mexico City, Mexico – Historico Central Mexico City from $141/night
  • Munich, Germany – Schwan Locke from $125/night
  • Puerto Rico, U.S. – Casa Wilson Inn from $141/night

Where to go in January

  • Denver, U.S. – Hyatt Centric Downtown Denver from $125/night
  • Lake Tahoe, U.S. – Station House Inn from $139/night
  • New Orleans, U.S. – Selina Catahoula New Orleans from $124/night
  • New York City, U.S. – Aliz Hotel Times Square from $115/night
  • Santiago, Chile – Solace Hotel Santiago from $112/night
  • Tokyo, Japan – Hotel Musse Ginza Meitetsu from $105/night

Hot hotel tips for Cold Shoulder Season

Hotels.com is sharing tried and true tips on landing the best hotel rate, no matter where you’re going this winter.

  • Search for 3-star superstars. Everyone loves a luxury hotel, but 2- and 3-star hotel gems that don’t skimp on style or traveler experience can be found. Even better: these properties usually offer cost-saving perks like free breakfast and parking. Hotels.com reports demand for 3-star and under hotels grew by 20% this year.4
  • Find memorable amenities in the app. Select your next stay based on the most popular amenities around the world in the Hotels.com app. Use the Popular filters section to find winter-proof perks like hotels with hot tubs in Denver and Lake Tahoe. Or a room with an ocean view in Puerto Rico and Chile.
  • Enroll in a free rewards program. Hotels.com Rewards Members2 save 15% or more on a wide selection of name brand, boutique and luxury hotels. Plus, it’s free to join.
  • Read seasonal property reviews. Reviews from previous guests can provide context on overall traveler experience, but reading reviews from those who have traveled around the same time during previous winters can help shape expectations.
  • Pay attention to refund policies. When possible, select a fully refundable room and the most flexible refund option in case plans change. Travelers can also narrow search results using the “Fully Refundable” app filter.

1 Average nightly hotel rate predictions and trends based on Hotels.com US POSa lodging rate data for the timeframe July 2019 – January 2020. Excludes taxes and fees.
2 Based on Hotels.com current average nightly rates for travel December 2023. Data accessed November 17, 2022. Rates subject to change.
3 Prices listed are the lowest rates as of November 18, 2022. Rates subject to change. Prices exclude taxes and fees.
4 Based on interest for 1–3-star hotels from January 1, 2021 – September 30, 2021 vs January 1, 2022 – September 30, 2022 across US, CA, MX, UK, FR, NO, DK, SE, FI, JP and KR.