Saturday, 7 December 2013

To Book Now or To Wait...that is the question

So often we as travel agents are asked "when is the best time to book my sunny beach vacation?"  The truth of the matter is that there is no one answer to this as so much depends on the travelers expectations and flexibility. 

If you have to request your holiday schedule well in advance, maybe even looking a whole year ahead as some do, then you're best to book as early as possible.  Take advantage of the early booking discounts that are typically offered through the summer months and into the fall.  It may require full payment several months before you even intend to travel but the savings is worth it!

If you have several options as to when you can go (ie: say a 5 or 6 day window to departure) and you're not set on any one destination or resort then you're a prime candidate to wait it out for the last minute sell offs.  Deep discounts are often available when tour operators have not been able to sell all the air seats or fill the hotel rooms.  With this option you need to be ever mindful that there is never any guarantee that your "first holiday choice" will still be available or that it will be the perfect resort for you.  It's a gamble but if you're so inclined, then why not save!

Now, that said, here is my own personal prediction for how the 2013/14 winter season is going to play out.  The tour operators have secured their contracts with the hoteliers nearly a year in advance and have negotiated prices based on the US dollar.  This is very advantageous with our current strong Canadian dollar.  All of the banking experts have been long suggesting that our Canadian dollar will weaken and if that happens the tour operators will be forced to add a currency surcharge to recoup their costs.  Add to that the ever increasing price of fuel and it's the perfect storm!  I anticipate seeing prices taking a sharp turn upward to cover the increased fuel costs and the stronger US dollar. 

So, what does all this mean?  Simply put, the sooner you book, the more likely you are to get a better price.  If there is an early booking discount, take it!  If you have the option to secure your vacation well in advance, seize the opportunity because my best guess is that prices will continue to soar once we hit the peak of the winter selling season.