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Last minute deals

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi

I know it's a little early to be thinking last minute. My partner and I are looking to do a ski week mid January. We are looking at prices (DIY) and have come up with one or two reasonable options but as always wonder if we can potentially get a better deal.

Does anyone know if last minute deals actually exist, I've always said that I'd try it but bottle out and plan well in advance. Anyone any advice on what timeframe to start looking and booking, sources to use for last minute (packages/DIY) or with the current climate is it not worth the risk and should I go with a safe early booked trip?

Thanks in advance...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
syk21 FWIW.......

If I were you, and had a degree of flexibilty (destination/accom/airport), I would be looking at booking something from the first day of 2011, up until you plan leave. You will know where the snow is, and probably get a very good TO deal as well. The nearer to departure point, the cheaper (on average) it will be. Mid Jan is slack most places, and people looking to book first week of new year even slacker. Just being a couple is the clincher.

As regards sources, there are dozens, Google "last minute ski deal" or similar phrase.

But like you ask. Have you got the bottle?

Others will disagree. Good luck.
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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?
syk21, if you are looking for last minute deals, then yes plenty exist and if you are willing to be flexible and it is just the two of you you can make some real savings (hundreds of pounds in some cases).

Take a look at a company like Alpine Answers (there are several others, I just mention Alpine Answers as I have always been impressed with their service when I have used them in the past).

I'd suggest you should really wait till about a month possibly three weeks out to get the balance between discount and choice. Mid January is a good time to be aiming to head out in any case as it is fairly low season.
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Real savings are availble - but you you have to have strong nerves and be a little lucky - they also vary due to quantities of snow and currency fluctuation. Havinfg said that you chase the snow if it is a poor snow year.

I usually book late for mid january. The best deal was £118 for HB in Austria with regional flights, last year was £280 for chalet board in Montgenevre for £280.

Bear in mind when looking that when you get within 2 weeks most TOs will add on a ticket on departure charge of circa £10 pp which has to be weighed against any discount.

Good luck
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
syk21,
Have booked mainly late/last minute deals for ski hols; would be surprised if you cant beat a DiY price if going mid Jan. As well as the usual sites advertising deals sometimes the main operators have very good reductions on the web sites but dont advertise them as such; you just go and look and notice that the price is way down on what it previously was. Have seen this with Crystal & Neilson.
Lastminute.com is also worth a look. last Jan 'we' got 1/2 board to Livigno in mid Jan at less than 50% of brochure price ( and there were other deals available ).Would start 'watching' from late November onwards, have a price in mind your happy to pay & if you find something you like at the price, take it.
Found best time personally to be 2 to 3 weeks before departure but dont push your luck or you may end up with nothing.
Good luck
Mitch
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syk21,
The other end of the scale is that we stop taking bookings - regardless of availability - for the following season in mid December each year.
Why?
A] Simple, it would "really" ( Evil or Very Mad ) irritate our clients who have paid normal price to see someone else paying much less.
B] We have cut the sale cost down to the minimum anyway. I understand that many snowHead's would prefer if we didn't, but we really need to achieve a sensible profit margin, anything less and we end up paying for clients to go on holiday.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
syk21, certainly several months too early to think of last minute! We did a couple of last minute TO deals, both excellent. One didn't have the flights, so we went by train. The other was a catered chalet and we wanted to drive anyway so weren't looking for flights. We got a big reduction on a super chalet, beside the piste in Courchevel 1650 with Le Ski, at a much reduced cost. Booked 5 days before departure. If you're going low season from somewhere with plenty of flights (Manchester?) and are flexible, there are always last minute deals but that means last minute - not 6 weeks before.

I spend the season in a French resort and I can tell you that there are big numbers of empty apartments throughout January after new year, with people v keen to rent them at a v reasonable cost. There is just no question of there being "no deals available"; there are loads of empty beds. If you want a really cheap, good value, holiday book a cheap apartment for two weeks and travel out on Monday or Tuesday, back Thursday or Friday with a cheap airline. Avoid Saturdays (and Sundays) for the cheapest flights.

If you want a package with flights, be flexible and maybe ready to travel to another departure airport.
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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!
Thanks all for your replies; it gives me hope that I can hold out for a short period until I know exam dates/work scheduale and still be able to either get a good price or will be able to get a last minute somewhere.

Thanks to Wayne, I can appreciate your side from a professional point of view and agree with that as a business practice for your customers.

Only thing is now, where will we end up?!?

Thanks again
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
i always book fairly last minute, usually about 2 weeks before i go (except last year which was 6 months early lol) you wont have any problems in january, go midweek as the flights will be cheaper, the hire car desks will be empty, and there wont be as much traffic on the roads. Also, on the saturday you will be skiing when most are either leaving or arriving, so basically not on the slopes, they are deserted!!!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quote:

go midweek as the flights will be cheaper

"last minute deals" are generally about TO holidays, and they don't tend to go midweek. Many people come unstuck thinking they're cleverly booking £10 return flights, only to find that all the accommodation goes Sat/Sat. I would strongly advise against booking mid-week flights till after you've found accommodation (it does exist, but it takes work to find it).
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
We have gone last minute through lastminute.com, Inghams and crystal. We have done really well. Normally we went first or second week in jan but one season it was the first week in April (their last week). If you want to diy though I round it cheape to book flights early BA do a few cheap seat as more get sold the price goes up.
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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.
Being in NI where the flights are scarce we decide on a week and then get the flights in the bag - there will always be somewhere for a small group. You probably have more flexibility out of Manchester so I would definitely hold out. Only issue might be with transfers if your flight times don't fit in with a small operator who may only provide transfers within a restricted window.
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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
Normally book a couple of late deals each season - typically a few days to a week before departure. Never had a problem getting a really good deal with 2 to 4 people. Doing a late deal for 8 people one year was rather tricky tho Confused
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

Only issue might be with transfers

good point. It would help if you were prepared to hire a car at the airport and drive to resort. Also you can find great accommodation deals, but with no flights. We did that one year, in Plagne 1800, so we travelled by train and got a (very cheap) local bus up from Aime and two extra days skiing. Or at least, I got two extra days skiing - my OH had to go home on the Monday to deal with the aftermath of a freak tornado which took half our roof off, but I stayed on and had a great time, joining an ESF group which others in the chalet were in.

Flexibility is the key - and don't book till the last minute. A week max. wink
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I was checking last minute prices a lot this year as my ski holiday which was originally going to be in January ended up in April!

We ended up booking via Igluski with Ski France and got a catered chalet in Plagne 1800 for £320pp which I thought was a bargain price.

Igluski have a last minute section, one part for holidays for the weekend approaching and the other for the following weekend. What I noticed this year is that a lot of the best deals that were available (in terms of price and choice) were in the following weekend category and if you waited until the very last minute choice and price was very limited. So, I'd look at booking 1-2 weeks out rather than very last minute.

As there are only 2 of you it will be best to look for a hotel or chalet. Many of the great looking offers are for apartments where the price is based on 4 - 6 sharing and the underoccupancy supplement is very high.

From memory the cheapest and most widely available holidays this year were in January so I don't think you will have any problem at all getting a decent deal.

I'm going DIY this year but would have no hesitation in booking a last minute deal again. I am quite open as to where I'd be prepared to go, you may not be and that may be a deciding factor.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
syk21. As an aside the question of "bottle" was made in ignorance, as reading your other thread makes it clear you have it in abundance. Barrowsful even.

Good luck.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

Flexibility is the key - and don't book till the last minute. A week max.


I disagree. Having booked late for every single holiday I have ever taken (except one Christmas when we went to Canada with some friends) I have noticed that the best period for booking cheap deals in terms of choice and price has changed from 1 week ahead to about 2-3 weeks ahead.

BTW - I notice that nice man from Crystal responding to customer service issues elsewhere hasn't joined this thread telling us which days they update their web prices etc Toofy Grin I did hear from one rep that most of the companies did this on a Monday since that gave them the weekend to sell the holidays at the higher price before the further discount.
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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?
They also up the prices last minute too. We had guests staying in our chalet the first Winter season I did (Crystal..), and they booked a week before. The night after they'd booked there was a large snowfall and the prices rose.
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Can def testify that Le Ski were offering great discounts last January in La Tania. We had booked very early so paid the (early booking) full price but the chalet ended up being full of (brilliant company) retired people who had basically left it until the last minute and paid around £300 for their holiday. If we didn't have childcare to factor in we would def do that. And it gave the other half and I something to aspire to: we still want to be skiing when we are in our 70s!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
You might enjoy looking at this, from last year...

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=1475275&highlight=half+term#1475275
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
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Chamcham, Fantastic story. Do you still get stick from friends or has it dwindled. If I'd done that, it would be a life sentence of p-ss taking by mates.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Still getting stick, mainly from 16 yr old son, but also from best friends, as in, "I'll see you next week, oops, forgot, next week has already been three weeks ago." Oh, how we laugh... Confused
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