If you plan on staying anywhere near Weirs Beach, don't wait until the last minute! We'll give you a few tips that might help make it a little easier.
It's you against many thousands of other bikers, all of which want to be staying in an area about one square mile in size. The decade-long trend for family owned motel and cottage complexes to convert to condos has made a relatively small number of rooms even tighter.
If you have never stayed in Laconia during the rally before, then you're already facing an uphill battle. Many of the smaller establishments will offer their previous years guests the option to return, and a vast majority of them will. This saves both parties time and effort and many of the family owned properties look forward to seeing familiar faces each year. On the bright side, once you get a room, you may be able to keep it with minimal effort for years to come.
You may be surprised to discover that many hotels will not accept reservations made way out in advance, such as 8 months, a year, or longer. That's a long time out, and you don't know what's going to happen during that period. You could get a new job and have to relocate, you could lose all your money in a poker game. Plans change and the cancellation percentage makes it not worth it for the hotel.
Don't rely on traditional hotel searches. Very few properties will list their rooms on sites like Expedia and pay a steep commission for dates they can easily sell out themselves. Although every property is different, your best chance at getting a room would be to call around starting in January or February through April. The Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce may have a list of properties that still have availability. Failing that, there is no easy way to find an opening, just sit down with a big list of phone numbers or email addresses and make your way through it. Note that many businesses are seasonal and may not have someone consistently answering the phone outside of normal business hours.
Your other options entail finding a place outside of Laconia, or the Lakes Region. Head out 20-30 miles or so, and things will start to open up down by Concord or up in North Conway.
Openings due to last minute cancellations do happen. If you're interested in a particular property, find out what their cancellation policy is. If you know they require 14 days notice, you are more likely to score an opening roughly that many days before bike week, since anyone who is going to cancel is likely to do so at that time in order to avoid losing their deposits.
As a sidenote, when making your reservation, be sure to mention if you're bringing a trailer for your bike. Every place has adequate parking under normal circumstances, but it can get tight when someone needs three spaces for their truck, trailer and bike.