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How much is possible to save booking last minute?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
What is a reasonable amount of money that can be saved booking last minute compared to say booking 6 months in advance?
Booking last minute will surely be all hotels that cant be filled by TO's, so then they sell them cheaply?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
There's a lot of variables that affect the last minute price of a holiday so it's difficult to say. Amazing conditions early or late season could see TOs maintaining last minute prices as everyone who held off rushes to take advantage of conditions. Peak season will be different to low season etc...
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Dunno, but you save 6 months worrying about if it's actually going to snow, which is probably worth a fair bit.
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A couple of friends of mine a number of years back used to book the time off work in advance and then scour teletext and call them, who in turn kept an eye out for anything with in my friends criteria, which was basically "just find us a holiday" Very Happy

They sometimes just had hours to get to the airport to take up the holiday. I recall one year the two of them ended up in a catered chalet for a few hundred £, upon hearing what others had paid whilst they were having dinner one night the decided it best to keep schtum about the bargain they got Smile Needles to say it was one of the best holidays they had.

I'm sure there's plenty of good late deals/offers all the time. It's just being in a position to take advantage of them, be it time off work at short notice, travel etc.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Seems fine for two but most operators seem to gamble on that and have never found decent late deal for sole occupancy - I think most chalets and operators would rather have an empty room than discount their single person supplements.
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The savings are very variable I think. If you only want one room for 2 people, aren't bothered about where you fly from/resort you go to or what sort of accommodation you have and it is low season you should get good savings. If on the other hand, you want the opposite of that, savings are likely to be slim! I have got reasonable savings by booking last minute but last year for example, I thought I had most of the above factors but there were still no very good deals a few weeks before going because of the poor snow earlier in the season meant more people trying to book trips in the latter half of the season.

It is also important to quantigy "savings," do you mean a percentage off the "brochure" price (which might never be paid...) or a saving off what that holiday costs you when you book further in advance/other years etc?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
philwig wrote:
Dunno, but you save 6 months worrying about if it's actually going to snow, which is probably worth a fair bit.


+1
Priceless IMHO

Book time off.
Look to where the best conditions are
Try to find late deal / source independently
Choos whichever is better value for money
snow conditions     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Depends on a lot of variables. Excellent snow conditions on a certain date sometimes mean that last minute bookings pay more than early bird. A lot of chalet TOs do discount heavily when they have spare capacity, but not all TOs follow the same business model. Club Med for example ALWAYS offer their lowest prices for early bookings (up to 15 months in advance) and agressively market this fact to get as many early bookings as possible.

If you're happy to fill spaces wherever they happen to be and to fly from Gatwick rather than choose a regional flight, then you may well find something brilliant value at the last moment. But if you have your eyes on a specific destination or date then it's not always so straightforward.

Make sure you use an agent like www.ifyouski.com who can give you an overview of all big TOs availability in one single phone call. Agents can sometimes negotiate additional discounts that you simply would never get as a "punter" calling up on the off chance.
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No last minute savings (and very limited availability) for a family trip during peak weeks i.e., school holidays. At least that's my observation.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
@NewSki, my perception is that the TOs are very much savvier about taking allocations than they used to be, so very much less excess capacity means fewer to no last minute discounts.
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Another consideration is all the decent chalets/hotels/apartments are booked-up early or even a year in advance, so the bargain places also tend to be at the rougher end of the scale. My preference is always to secure a decent place early in a high snow sure resort.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@NewSki, there's still over capacity of accommodation many weeks of the season. Obviously not at peak times, eg public and school holidays. As others have said, variables of snow conditions and forecast affect the last minute market significantly.

If travelling outside high season, and reasonably flexible on location, savings of 30-40% compared with 'typical' prices not unusual. Sometimes even better for bookings within a day or two of departure. My experience is of savings across a range of standards of accommodation, not just lower quality left.

Benefiting from late bookings seems to be getting more challenging recently, needing knowledge of market, regular checking and holding nerve. Last season generally had poor snow at Christmas/New Year, so more demand later in the season meant prices held up. The £ drop against the euro could affect next season.

I agree with comments that knowing what snow conditions and weather are likely to be is a big benefit of late booking.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@NewSki, BTW, from earlier conversations, if you're still thinking lower altitude Austrian areas, departing Jan 20 2018, then that's just the sort of week and location I'd be holding on for a late booking.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
In my last few trips, I have found that early booking prices/discounts/incentives have been the way to go.....especially if there are certain areas/accommodation that you have in mind.

As the season got closer, these favorable incentives (free lift passes/hotel credit/free ski hire or ski carriage etc) were often dropped and the prices went up.

If you don't care where you go and are flexible on the date, then good deals usually appear; but sometimes, a bird in the hand...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Being in education I had to ski Christmas / New year half term and Easter. Usually skied with a friend who left all the booking worries to me.

I always booked well ahead for half term usually in Italy and took advantage of any early booking deals but for half term they were not many.

For Easter and Christmas / New year I always booked at the last minute looking for good snow conditions and a good deal. In the 80s companies would often offer very deep discounts, my best being 8 days in Courmayer for 64 quid. But by the year 2000 really deep discounts were rare except for the fictitious ones used by certain unscrupulous companies operating on a 'bait and switch' basis. I was always aware of the risks of waiting until the last moment but developed a feel for the availability of deals. SkiWorld was always a good indicator of availability. Skiline often had deals not available anywhere else. We always got away sometimes to places I would not normally consider early and late but they had had a good dump and were forecast to ski well. But I had to work at it. Madeye-Smiley
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
What they all said Very Happy

Not anywhere near the bargain idea that it used to be, especially if can't access any airport.

I usually book Austria ( sometimes others) mid to late March in about late Jan to early Feb, and keeping an eye on prices find it's about cheapest deals going with the choice that I want (basic accommn, 2 persons).
For Jan I usually book Oct to Nov (Black Friday can be worth it nowadays, sometimes).

Also, keep eye out for TO deals (e.g. bogof) on lift passes, equipment hire, lessons, carriage etc - can save a fair bit.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@NewSki, booking last minute requires a good deal of flexibility in relation to where you fly from, where you go, what type of hotel/accommodation you stay in, if the resort suits your particular requirements in relation to the skiing available, the apres, the restaurants etc., You can only book what is left, not pick from a large range of options. Reading your past posts and questions, I'm not sure that will suit you. You might save some money (and its not always THAT much) but you will forfeit choice to a large extent.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Anniepen wrote:
@NewSki, booking last minute requires a good deal of flexibility in relation to where you fly from, where you go, what type of hotel/accommodation you stay in, if the resort suits your particular requirements in relation to the skiing available, the apres, the restaurants etc., You can only book what is left, not pick from a large range of options. Reading your past posts and questions, I'm not sure that will suit you. You might save some money (and its not always THAT much) but you will forfeit choice to a large extent.


You are missing one of the major plus points for booking at the last minute especially late or early season. You can go where there is good snow.

I don't care about getting my bed turned down and a Belgium choc on my pillow I go skiing to ski, anything else is a bonus
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@TQA, that would be a big plus for booking late for ME and others, but this OP seems to have other concerns which take precedence
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
NewSki wrote:
What is a reasonable amount of money that can be saved booking last minute compared to say booking 6 months in advance?


Nothing, or less.

Either look out for the deals early season or book on the graveyard shift, everything else usually costs more.

I'm a perennial late booker, but took a deal three weeks ago that I haven't seen price comparable in eight years. It was cheap.
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@BCjohnny,
Quote:

took a deal three weeks ago that I haven't seen price comparable in eight years. It was cheap.

Don't keep it secret then Smile
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
In the past, at least when I knew anything about it, operators were not as smart as they are today in terms of sizing allocations with hotels so if there was a room they'd paid for, then anything down to the marginal cost of the room plus contributions towards operational overheads was a benefit. And there was a motivation towards utilising air fleets that were very underused in winter.

Nowadays, I don't think that's the case, not so much. No point offering a late deal if you don't have excess stock to discount.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
intermediate wrote:
Don't keep it secret then Smile


No secret, just check up on the every week or so until you find what you want to pay.

Some might see that as hard work, but that was the first time I looked, and we effectively saved around four thirty apiece, so you have to work out whether it's worth your time ......
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under a new name wrote:
In the past, at least when I knew anything about it, operators were not as smart as they are today in terms of sizing allocations with hotels so if there was a room they'd paid for, then anything down to the marginal cost of the room plus contributions towards operational overheads was a benefit. And there was a motivation towards utilising air fleets that were very underused in winter.

Nowadays, I don't think that's the case, not so much. No point offering a late deal if you don't have excess stock to discount.


Most TOs these days won't be committed to 3rd party hotel beds at all. They will have a set amount of rooms on allocation. If they fill them then great, but if not then the cost to the TO is nothing. Whether the hotels are thrilled by this is another question but it means that hotel prices don't drop so dramatically.

The difference in chalet hotels (TO run) and chalets is that the TO has committed to those beds for the entire season so empty spaces = money lost. Call a TO (or even better an agent) on Friday afternoon to see what they've got unsold for departure the next day and if they have chalet beds then they'll be keen to fill them. However most TOs these days aren't keen to drop to simply "cover costs". They don't want to be seen to be so desperate to fill their last beds that they will let them go at cost price. They'd prefer the odd empty room here and there if it means their average selling price remains higher.
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i remember that about 3-4 years I got a family of 3 in a chalet hotel in Saas Fee at February half term for £900, including flight transfers, and half board. Unfortunately no such deals the following year and the price was much more so if you want busy times be prepared not go go, or too pay more than booking early.
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Themasterpiece wrote:
No last minute savings (and very limited availability) for a family trip during peak weeks i.e., school holidays. At least that's my observation.


This has always been my problem, family holiday needs booking,flights arranging, hire skis, book ski schools get the mutt booked in somewhere. If I was divorced I would just book 2 weeks in the middle of January and be done.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Dr John wrote:
Another consideration is all the decent chalets/hotels/apartments are booked-up early or even a year in advance, so the bargain places also tend to be at the rougher end of the scale. My preference is always to secure a decent place early in a high snow sure resort.


This is excellent advice. I have taken it, and by going at Easter instead of Christmas have saved 2000 Euros on the apartment. That is a good enough deal for me. Just awaiting easy jet flights in September.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@blahblahblah, DIY family trip in school holidays very rarely suits last minute booking. 2k euros saving just on apartment rental impressive. Must be an eye watering price at Christmas!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I don'tbthink I worry about looking desperate if someone calls me on a Friday for arrival the next day. I charge what they'll pay provided it covers my costs (including contributing to fixed costs).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
intermediate wrote:
@blahblahblah, DIY family trip in school holidays very rarely suits last minute booking. 2k euros saving just on apartment rental impressive. Must be an eye watering price at Christmas!

3724 at Christmas
1800 at Easter. With early booking discount.

Worth having, not quite 2000 Euros , but near enough, so flights, passes and hire should net out as free. Hopefully better weather.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@blahblahblah, that looks a great bargain for 3V at Easter.
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