It’s well-known at this point that last year’s tourism downturn has hit hotels pretty hard. Hilton Hotels and Resorts, one of the most famous chains in the world, reported a massive 56% decline in revenue per room – just one statistic amongst many that have forced hoteliers to adapt to changing times.
Fortunately, as Covid norms open up across the world, hotels are now picking up traction once again – and have resorted to new and unique ways to handle bookings.
Let’s take a spotlight on one of them in this article – the increasingly popular ‘book now, pay later hotels’ method.
What is a ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ Hotel Booking?
As the name suggests, this refers to hotel bookings that, either through the hotelier or a booking company, offer an option where you can simply select your booking dates, and lock them down before actually transferring the booking cost.
Depending on the exact terms and conditions, you will be expected to pay only when actually checking into the hotel.
Why Are Pay Later Options So Popular?
Unlike traditional bookings where guests are expected to pay before booking, this exciting new option opens up a lot of benefits and freedoms for hotel clientele. Here’s a couple of good ones to keep in mind:
It Saves You From Last-Minute Mishaps
Even the most hardened travelers run into snags every once in a while – everything from personal emergencies to rough weather and even last-moment flight rerouting can throw your travel plans to the wind.
With pay later bookings, you get to easily cancel or modify your bookings – without having to chase refunds or get hit with extra charges.
Save Costs, Plan Early
If you’ve been traveling for a while, chances are that you’re aware of how beneficial planning in advance can be. Not only will you enjoy discounted prices – you’ll also snag the best rooms before anyone else.
Pay Later options allow you to lock down an early-bird price without having to pay for cancellations or reschedules – at least at most hotels.
Do Hotels Offer Installment Options?
In a nutshell… yes!
Many hotel booking providers have now shifted towards allowing customers to pay for hotels in installments – making vacationing much more accessible to those of us who want to plan grand vacations, but have monthly budgets to wrestle with. Installments help spread this cost out over longer periods of time, making it much easier to go on a well-deserved vacation without leaving customers too broke.
These options come in a variety of setups, however. Expedia, for example, uses fintech solution Affirm to set up installments for bookings that cost over $200 on the US Expedia website. Similarly, United Airlines’ United Vacations allows customers to pay $200-$300 deposits, while giving them a 45-day leeway period to finish payments, using fintech partner Uplift.
Altogether, they help spread out the overall cost of vacationing a great deal – helping travelers plan more ambitious and fun trips.
How Can I Find Pay Later Hotels?
Fortunately, a huge number of hotel booking companies have caught up to the pay later model – aiming to grab the attention of travelers looking to explore after a long year spent confined to their homes.
These are all major, established companies with several years of history in handling online bookings for flights or hotels.
Here’s a comprehensive list of a few industry-leading companies that offer pay later bookings:
The super-popular all-in-one option, Expedia allows you to arrange for pay later bookings, no strings attached. All you need to do is swipe your card after checking into your hotel. They also offer consistently competitive prices, and discount coupons too!
Expedia also offers to fund the difference + $50 if you get a better deal on any other website.
The world’s #1 travel aggregator allows you to book everything from charming bed n’ breakfasts to uber-luxe destination resorts, all on one website.
Pair this with currency-flexible pay later models and zero booking charges, Booking.com offers a pretty sweet deal. Like Expedia, they too offer to make up the difference if you find a better deal elsewhere.
The simply-named Hotels.com offers great deals all around, backed by their pay later options.
They also have a reward system that offers you a complimentary 11th night, every time you finish a booking for a total of 10 nights.
Agoda offers great discounts of up to 80% and gives you pay later options to snag those deals while they’re hot.
They also offer a very flexible points system through PointsMAX, which allows you to choose the loyalty program of your choice for gaining credits through hotel or flight bookings.
5. IHG (Intercontinental Hotel Group)
One of the few pay later options backed directly by a hotel chain, IHG offers pay later bookings with free cancellations – you can only be charged for a cancellation if you ask for one within 24 hours of your booking.
Along with this, you can find great deals and loyalty benefits with IHG.
Popular Pay Later Destinations
1. Las Vegas
Las Vegas is a city that never sleeps. If you’re looking for the ultimate party town, this is where it’s at. With over 150 hotels on the strip and countless more off the strip, there are no shortage of places to stay in Las Vegas.
Miami is a vibrant city with a lot of things to do for everyone. Whether you are just visiting or want to live the Miami lifestyle, your options are endless. One way you can enjoy this great city is by staying in one of these hotels! Miami has some of the most luxurious and beautiful hotel rooms that will make you fall in love with it all over again.
3. New York
New York is one of the most popular destinations for tourists, travelers and couples alike. The city has a vibrant culture with so many things to do that it can be hard to pick out which places you want to go first.
Tennessee has been a popular place to visit for decades. The state is home to many historical sites, beautiful parks and gorgeous mountains. Whether you are looking for a serene retreat or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, Tennessee offers something for everyone! So what are you waiting for? Book your trip today and spend some time in the Volunteer State!
5. Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is a great destination for those looking to get away. It’s known as “The World’s Playground” and it lives up to its name with over 100 amusement parks, waterparks, golf courses, fishing charters and more! With so many things to do in Myrtle Beach you’ll have trouble deciding what you want to do first.
6. Virginia beach
Virginia Beach has something for everyone. If you’re looking for a place to relax, Virginia Beach is the perfect destination. The beach and boardwalk are great places to take in the sights with your significant other or best friend. Families will enjoy spending time at some of our amusement parks like Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA For those who want to be active, there’s plenty of opportunities for adventure from parasailing and jet skiing to kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, golfing…the list goes on!
Atlanta is a city of many faces: the southern charm, bustling business districts and a lot to do for visitors. From tackling the Georgia Aquarium, visiting Centennial Olympic Park or cheering on your favorite team at Turner Field, there’s something for everyone.
8. New Orleans
New Orleans is one of the most iconic cities in America. It has a rich history, amazing food scene, and an abundance of culture to explore. The city has an eclectic mix of hotels catering to everyone’s needs including luxury hotels with plenty of amenities like pools and fitness facilities as well as boutique style accommodations with fewer frills but better prices.
Dallas is the perfect destination for couples looking to have a great time on vacation. From shopping at some of the most well known malls in America, to visiting one of the best zoos or aquariums in the world; Dallas has it all!
From boosting sales for hotels to making travel much more accessible, introducing the book now, pay later model to hotels was a great development, and one that continues to trend as more people choose to travel post-pandemic.
Feeling the itch to go on an adventure? Thankfully, these buy now, pay later solutions have made it that much easier for us to indulge in our wanderlust!