Does it pay to book a hotel several months prior to a trip to London? I'm going the end of May, 2018.
YES! That is not high season but pretty good shoulder season. Figure out what you want and book it soon.
What do you mean by "does it pay"? Will it be cheaper to book now? Only if you want a prepaid, non-refundable rate, which is discounted. And even then, any savings could be wiped out by currency fluctuations (or could be increased).
If you book at the regular (refundable) rates there is still an advantage to booking now as you may have more choices. I checked a few popular London hotels (popular with this forum) and the Lime Tree, for example, has only a few rooms left over the weekend at the end of May.
My short answer is yes. Get it over with. Less to have to plan. May is a popular travel month.
Yes, I’m going at the end of May and I’m already booked. I’m staying at Cherry Court Hotel by Victoria Station. It’s my first time staying there and their prices can’t be beat. It has great reviews from RS, the forum and Tripadvisor. Do you have a specific area in mind?
If you want to use places recommended by Steves' guidebooks then book as soon as possible. Many are small and quickly filled with blue and gold book holders. But there are other great hotels where you can book later.
The places most people want to stay book up quickly. Why? Good location, great price/value, clean. Wait until the last minute and you'll get whatever the other people didn't want. Not saying that the leftovers are bad, but there's a reason they're not snatched up already...
I try to reserve ahead of time for very popular locations, if we’re staying in one place for the entire trip, or for the first and last nights of a trip. I seldom worry about places n the trip’s middle because we don’t always know where we’ll be.
London is one of the toughest places in Europe to find a really good-value hotel. I'm a wing-it sort of person, but I wouldn't use that strategy for London, because I might end up with an unattractive choice between good price and good locations/features. Unless you're extremely non-picky (more than me, which would be difficult), waiting may end up costing you quite a lot of money.
thanks for the responses. booked a place with a good cancellation policy.
What hotel did you book? Love London, have a great time.