Here is a question I get a lot, “Why plan ahead? Can’t I get a better deal if I wait until the last minute?” Apparently a lot of people think this, or at least hope it’s true. Why else would they keep asking me if it is true right? Well let me give you the top 5 reasons why it isn’t a great saving strategy to wait until the last minut
1. Location, location, location. It’s the same story as in real estate. It’s all about location whether you are picking a resort in Mexico, Jamaica or St Lucia or a stateroom on a cruise ship.
The best locations get all the early bookings. If you wait you get the leftover. Even if it’s cheaper, do you really want leftovers…of anything? No, you don’t
Most resorts and definitely on cruise ships, room location can make a huge difference in enjoying your vacation. Having to truck it to where you want to spend your time all day can be exhausting, frustrating and a waste of time.
2. Rising airfare cost. I learned this the hard way recently. I was able to get awesome sale pricing on my Southwest flight to Fort Lauderdale last week a few months ago but the return flight looked a little high to me. I decided to “watch” it. I did just that, I watched it. I watched it climb! Waiting on booking the cruise or resort portion of your trip puts you at risk for offsetting any savings (if there are any) with increased airfare cost. You could always book the airfare earlier but then you are at risk for having to pay change fees if you have to shift dates to take advantage of some “deal” for the vacation itself.
3. Reliance on the last minute deals of the past. Major cruise lines are no longer slashing prices to fill ships. They have been very vocal about this, publicly announcing that they will NOT offer last minute booking sales because it makes it harder for them to forecast sales, staff their ships and because it builds bad will and customer service issues with clients who did book early only to see this sale offered after their final payment. The nicest land resorts don’t discount to fill up either. They have steady bookings and clientele at a price they can profit on while providing excellent customer service.
4. Booking early allows you to pay over more time. Vacations are always sweeter when you don’t have to plop down a big chunk of change at once. Book early and make payments between booking and the final payment date and experience how much better it feels.
5. Don’t be fooled by the price. Warren Buffett is amazingly wise. Ok, that’s a HUGE understatement. The best advice of his that I remember is, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get”. I find that my most satisfied clients are not those who got the cheapest price, but instead the ones that paid for the vacation that provided the best overall value. What is value you might ask? Based on my experience booking travel for clients, it’s seemless travel arrangements made on cruise ships, at resorts and on tours with high quality facilities, excellent food, attentive service and with experiences that appeal to them personally. Rarely does a “deal” offer you more than just a lower price. Decide on your budget and seek a good value that fits it.
If you are a deal hunter, I am not the agent for you. Not because I want you to spend too much on your vacation, but because I want to book your vacations now and until we are both old and grey. I see my job as building a relationship with my clients that will last a long time. These relationships work because the traveler feels like they got exactly what they wanted at a price they were willing to pay at different price levels. It’s not about the total dollars spent, it’s about the satisfaction of the client after it’s all said an done.
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