Submitted by Priceonomics
Suites are the crown jewel of the hotel experience: generally, they’re more spacious, more meticulously appointed, and well-suited to house larger groups looking to share a space.
There’s only one problem: they’re typically a lot more expensive than standard hotel rooms. But that is that always the case?
We analyzed data from Priceonomics customer Suiteness, a site that lets you book hotel suites. We looked at the price of traditional hotel suites, compared to an interesting hack called the “connecting suite” — suite configurations where more than one bedroom is connected to the living area of a suite — that is typically a lot cheaper. We also looked the price of these suites compared to vacation rentals in top American travel cities.
How much more affordable is a connector suite than a traditional two-bedroom suite? How do these rates compare with a two-bedroom vacation rental? How about two separate hotel rooms?
In this post, we’ll dive deep into our findings — but here’s a quick overview:
Summary of findings
Booking a “hacked” suite with a connector room ($ 1,484), is nearly half the price of a traditional two-bedroom suite ($ 2,665) over two weekend nights. That’s $ 1,181 cheaper.
In New York, you can save an average of $ 5,409 over two weekend nights by booking a suite with a connector room instead of a two-bedroom suite.
Airbnb appears to be marginally cheaper than hotel rooms and suites — though these bookings often come with extra cleaning fees and platform fees that can boost the price up a few hundred dollars over a two-day stay.
A quick note on methodology
Suiteness specializes in accommodations for groups of four or more, so we decided to compare five different two-bedroom options: a suite, a connector suite, two separate hotel rooms, an Airbnb, and a VRBO.
The suite data was sourced from Suiteness, the data for hotel rooms from Expedia, and the data from Airbnb and VRBO from those respective platforms. For each dataset, we gathered rates for high and low seasons and calculated the average between the two for a two weekend nights.
Lastly, for our analysis, we focused on the nine markets for which we had the most data on: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, D.C., Las Vegas, Miami, and Orlando.
What’s the cheapest two-bedroom accommodation?
Let’s start with the overall averages for each of the two-bedroom accommodations we researched. Keep in mind that the prices below reflect the cost for two weekend nights, averages across high and low seasons.
Two-bedroom suites are overwhelmingly pricier than any other option, at $ 2,665 — or $ 1,332 per weekend night across the markets we analyzed. VRBO, which primarily features full-space rentals, places second, at an average of $ 1,718.
At $ 1,312, the two-bedroom Airbnb edged out the cost of two hotel rooms by $ 76. But, it should be noted that the Airbnb price here reflects the average of a wide variety of neighborhoods. Most hotel suites are more centrally located, and also offer a wider range of amenities.
The connector suite, at $ 1,484, is 44% cheaper than the typical two-bedroom suite — a huge value considering that the only real difference between the two is a separate private entrance for the connecting room.
Let’s take a closer look at the price differential between the two, by city.
On average, booking a connector suite instead of a standard suite will save you $ 1,181, but in certain markets, the difference is astronomically higher. In New York (the most expensive suite market), the average two-bed suite runs a whopping $ 6,995 for a weekend. Alternatively, booking a connector suite ($ 1,586) will save you $ 5,409.
In 8 of the 9 cities we analyzed, connector suites are cheaper: in San Diego, a connector suite will save you $ 1,562; in LA, $ 1,547, in Chicago, $ 907; in San Francisco, $ 611, and in Las Vegas, $ 501.
Only Washington, D.C. featured nominally higher-priced connector rooms ($ 167 more than a standard suite).
A city-by-city analysis
Breaking this data down by market, we can see that prices for certain accommodations vary widely by location.
For instance, the average two-bedroom suite across all markets runs $ 2,665 per weekend, but that ranges from as high as $ 6,996 in New York to $ 752 in Orlando. Las Vegas, perhaps most renowned for its suites, runs in the middle of the pack ($ 2,306).
Connector suites average $ 1,484 per weekend. And, while Miami ($ 1,842) and Las Vegas ($ ,1805) run higher here, we see much more affordable rates for New York ($ 1,586), Los Angeles ($ 1,611), and San Diego ($ 1,120).
San Francisco — the most expensive rental market in the U.S. — also tops the list for priciest standard hotel rooms, at an average of $ 2,135 per weekend. For nearly $ 600 less, you can get a connector suite.
In Las Vegas, two hotel rooms can be booked for an average of $ 1,760 per weekend, but a connector suite can be had for just $ 45 more. And in Los Angeles, two hotel rooms run just about the same cost as a connector suite.
Average two-bedroom VRBO rentals range from $ 3,677 in New York to $ 888 in Orlando, and overall, at $ 1,718 per weekend, are pricier than both connector suites and two hotel rooms.
Only Airbnb offers a more affordable alternative than the connector suite — but it typically doesn’t come with the amenities of a hotel suite.
Airbnb appears to be cheaper than hotel rooms and suites — though these bookings often come with extra cleaning fees and platform fees that can boost the price up to a few hundred dollars over a two-day stay.
Lastly, to help navigate all this data, here’s a “cheat sheet” with both high and low season averages for each accommodation type, by city.
So, what does this data ultimately tell us?
It’s easy to think of hotel suites as a ridiculously expensive, intangible booking option for vacations — an accommodation reserved for presidents and celebrities. But suites can actually be a lot more affordable than you might think. Sometimes, they could even be the cheapest possible option for a large group.
By booking a connector suite you can save more than $ 1,100 over a standard suite price. And when you consider the average group size that stays in a connector suite is 5.9 people (compared to 3.5 for a traditional suite), the cost per person is even lower: $ 251 per person for two weekend nights, versus $ 761 per person, on average.
Lastly, while Airbnb does offer a slightly cheaper alternative to a connector suite, one should consider the additional amenities a suite offers. For an average of $ 86 more per night, a suite offers: first-class customer and concierge service, fully-stocked inventory and an on-call maintenance staff; housekeeping at no additional cost; and a huge convenience factor.