The Varsity Hotel (Cambridge UK) has pretty standard rates for the next 3 months (£275 apart from Saturday night and the odd day when some event must be happening), but searching ahead into the new year, all the rooms are £720 on every day for the months January and February of next year.

For what reasons would a hotel inflate its prices massively at such a low-season time of the year?

  • 7
    It could just be an error or laziness. Maybe they only think carefully about their rates for three months ahead, and leave the rest at a default value. – Nate Eldredge Sep 22 '18 at 14:28
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    If they're changing rates, the start of the year is as good a time as any other. – Mike Harris May 16 '19 at 15:37
  • Those can actually be the correct cheapest available rates for the new year...


  • Those prices are erroneous...

Without contacting the hotel directly you won't know.

Two possibly scenarios to explain your observations:

  1. There are no ordinary rooms available and the best rate the booking calendar can display is the rate for an expensive suite.
    (The lack of available ordinary rooms in the booking system may or not reflect actual reservations though.)

  2. An erroneous rate has been published in the booking system.
    It may not be unreasonable to assume that room prices could have been inflated due to a New Years event on December 31st. It is also likely that the reservation management systems used by a hotel take the last prices entered as the default template for subsequent periods.
    It can be that the management only entered pricing details until the end of the year and a feature (or bug) in the booking system simply extrapolated and set the 31/12 price as the default for all subsequent nights in the new year.
    Similarly a person could have erroneously accepted the prices suggested by such a template.

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