Last Minute Hotel Deals from Marriott Website?

Marriott is one of my favorite hotel chains.  I like the space available in the Residence Inn brand, and the business setup of the Courtyard brand.  Sometimes I need a last minute hotel deal, this can come about because of a last minute business meeting, or sometimes a last minute switch in vacation plans with the family.  In a situation like this, I’ve often wondered when I should book the hotel room. Should I book as soon as I know I need something (4 or 5 days in advance), should I wait until the day before, or should I wait to book on the actual day I need the hotel? I assume that every hotel brand must have their own strategy on how to set and adjust prices in the last week before a stay.  Because I like Marriott hotels, I decided to do some research on last minute hotels deals at Marriott.  For my mini study I decided to study some hotels in a very busy area, for this I selected the San Francisco Airport area, and a relatively quiet area, the Syracuse New York area.

I was in the San Francisco area for a meeting in March 2018, and I needed a hotel the evening of March 20, so I started checking the Marriott web site prices the day before on March 19. I then checked them at 10am on March 20, and then checked them again at 7:00 pm on March 20.  Here are the Marriott last minute hotel deal results:

March 19 March 20 @10am March 20 @7pm
Fairfield Inn Milbrae $332 $322 Showing as no hotel rooms available
San Fran Airport Marriott $381 $381 $283
Courtyard San Fran Airport  $352 $352 $342
Residence Inn San Fran Airport  $371 $322 $322

Examining these numbers it looks like Marriott does not do any significant discounting on their web site until the day of the stay.  This is for a very busy area like the San Francisco airport.  There is high demand, but there is also a significant audience of people looking for last minute hotel deals.

Here are the Marriott last minute prices for the Syracuse area for the evening of April 17, 2018, taken on the 16th and 17th.

March 16@9:30am March 17 @10am March 17 @8:30pm
Courtyard Syracuse Carrier Circle $107 $107 $107
Fairfield Inn and Suites Geneva Finger Lakes $97 $97 $97

It’s obvious with these numbers that Marriott does not discount their price in areas of relatively low demand. I assume they know the price they want to offer and they stick with it, because there is not a large audience of potential last minute travellers in this area.

Here is another example based on downtown San Francisco prices, taken for a stay of April 16, 2018.  Again we can see that prices start higher the day before and fall on the date of the stay. But in this case the prices actually fell to near lowest point the evening of the night before for all the hotels except the Ritz Carlton.

April 15@6am April 15@5:15pm April 16 @6:15am April 16@3:15pm
Ritz Carlton San Francisco $1049 $1136 $1049 $979
San Fran Marquis Marriott $705 $646 $626 $646
San Francisco Marriott Union Square $705 $597 $597 $597

So it appears that if you have waited to try to get a last minute hotel deal from Marriott,  you might be best to wait until the very last minute,  the afternoon or evening of the stay.

Does this mean that the best Marriott prices are available on the day of the stay? Likely not.  The Hopper app has started to predict hotel prices similar to what it does for airline flights.  Based on what Hopper has said in a recent Bloomberg article called “Why you should book your hotel a month before your flight” Hopper founder Frederic Lalonde states that approximately two months in advance is the right time to book your hotel to get the best price.  He bases this statement on the analysis of millions of historical and future hotel prices they have examined.  For example, Hopper currently has 100 million data points for New York City alone, covering prices at 600 hotels that span 12 months into the past and six months into the future.

Let us know what kind of prices you see for last minute hotel deals at Marriott.

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