Seeing a lot of different Booking.com deals? Is it better to wait for a flash sale or to book early? Should I wait for that Black Friday campaign? Can I combine a Genius discount with an ongoing sale? If you are confused like me, this guide is for you.
I’ve been a Booking.com customer since 2012 and a loyal member of their Genius program. Even though it is not my only option, it is usually my go-to engine to search for accommodation options and explore places to stay. In recent years, platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo stole a bit of their market share, but now you can even book apartments and rooms through Booking.com too.
One thing I noticed in the past couple of years is the abundance of deals of different kinds: secret, limited-time, early-booker, Genius, etc. But which one is better? Which ones are really saving you money, and which ones are just inflated numbers to make you buy?
I’ve been doing some research and summarized the findings in this post. Hopefully, it will help you understand and differentiate all the different labels and badges you see when you search on Booking.com.
What’s the deal with the deals?
One very powerful thing about Booking.com is that, since they have become an industry giant, they have plenty of data collected from its customer base, and they have spent a significant amount of time understanding market movements and what works best.
Promotions seem to be the number-one factor when spiking sales constantly. You can read their advice to hotel and property owners listing on Booking.com
Our data reveals that 62% of global travellers will be more price-conscious when booking trips, and 55% of them are more likely to search for properties that offer promotions. Finding and running the right promotion puts you in the best position to capture this demand.Booking.com
Booking.com Deals Guide (2023)
What are all the different types of deals on Booking.com, and what do they mean? Here’s what you need to know.
1. Free-nights Deal (NEW)
This is a new deal type by Booking.com, where guests can get one or more free nights when they book a specific number of nights. Some examples are “Buy 2, Get 3”, and “Book 5, Stay 7 nights” offers. These deals are rare to find, but they are more typical on all-inclusive packages during off-peak seasons.
2. Seasonal deals
Booking.com seasonal deals are usually offered during specific times of the year or during low-demand periods to encourage bookings. These can include discounts, freebies, or special packages.
Some examples of these deals that we’ve covered in the blog are:
- Booking.com Getaway Deals 2023: Get 15% OFF Until September!
- Booking.com Late Escape Deals (Get 15% OFF!)
3. Deep Deals
Deep deals on Booking.com are short-term reactive promotions offering guests high discounts, thus encouraging spikes in demand. These tend to last from 48hs to 72hs, and the discounts can be very aggressive! The only caveat is that deep deals are never stackable with other pricing offers, such as Genius discounts.
Some examples of Deep deals are:
- Black Friday Deal. You’ll see a special “Black Friday” badge.
- Limited-time Deal. Valid for 48 hours; see the badge in the image below.
- Flash Deals. A promotion that’s available every two weeks and gives the hotel high visibility for 36 hours.
4. Early Booker deals
Early-bird deals provide discounts or special offers to customers who book their accommodations well in advance. This can be a good option for travelers who want to secure their stay at a lower price.
Some examples of Early-booker deals that we have covered:
4. Package deals
Package deals typically bundle accommodations with other services, such as flights, car rentals, or activities, often at a discounted rate compared to booking each component separately.
PRO TIP: To know if package deals are worth it, compare the total price on Booking.com versus booking each thing separately on the official website. Get the official price directly from the airline, car rental, or activity provider.
5. Secret Deals
Secret deals: Booking.com occasionally offers secret deals, where the name of the hotel or property is revealed only after the reservation is made. These deals can offer significant discounts for customers willing to take a chance on an unknown property.
6. Member-only deals
If you sign up for a Booking.com account and its newsletter, you may have access to exclusive deals and discounts not available to the general public. Similar to what Kayak does with their private deals (only for members).
7. Promotional codes
Sometimes you may see promotional codes or coupons that you can apply during the booking process to receive a discount. In my recent experience, most often, these promotional codes are linked to an ongoing promotion, so it is rare that you don’t find these deals in one of the other categories.
8. Genius Discounts (Loyalty Program)
Booking.com has a loyalty program called Genius. It’s not the best since you don’t get so many perks compared to other hotel programs like Marriot. However, you can get additional discounts for frequent travelers. As members progress through the program levels, they unlock more benefits, such as complimentary room upgrades, breakfast, or late check-out.
Genius discounts are special rates of 5%, 10%, and 15% off the usual rate. You can also see that sometimes these deals give you cashback (credit) directly to your account. This money usually posts to your account one or two weeks after your checkout date.
Here’s an example of a Genius discount that also gives you credit back to your account.
You can test a search below on the latest deals page to see what you find.
The system and labels on Booking.com have gotten more confusing, and now it is hard to tell when a deal is a good deal. If you are a usual customer, getting to know their labels is useful to make more accurate decisions when you are planning accommodation and comparing rates.
I hope this quick guide has shed some light on the different terms and you find it useful. If you have suggestions on how to improve it, just let me know! Feel free to drop a comment anytime or reach out to me via Instagram.