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Booking early vs last minute?

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by Lady Fortuna, Dec 5, 2012.

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  1. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    My holiday is still a long time away (May 2013), but I'm already looking at prices for flights and rooms, and package deals etc. Now I'm wondering, is it smart to book something already when I see a good offer (which in most cases I cannot cancel anymore afterwards)? Or do I better wait until later, keep an eye on the prices and hope to find a better deal when closer to the actual time of travel?

    In other words: Do prizes always drop the closer it is to the actual date? Or is it more the opposite, the cheaper options will already be taken and you are stuck with the more expensive airplane seats and hotel rooms? Or is it neither and just the risk of the game?

    PS: I have already checked the convention calendar and it doesn't look like May is the time for conventions (the biggest one in the period of my holiday is a 3-day convention with 30.000 attendees).
     
  2. dgr1973

    dgr1973 Low-Roller

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    This is the million dollar question isnt it? I wish I knew and I always wonder the same thing! We are going in March and I am on the hunt for good airfare but I always go with the mind set that when I see a price I can live with I book it! If it goes down well then thats life but more times then not it goes up! Good luck to ya in your search!:thumbsup:
     
  3. Turtleman

    Turtleman VIP Whale

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    Couldn't agree more! Just like predicting interest rates, stock prices, the next card, dice, or where the ball lands, nobody knows. Sometime prices go up and sometimes then go down as departure date approaches and I haven't been able to uncover a pattern I can rely on. If there's a method to the madness, I'd sure love to know what it is. So, if you KNOW your dates and see a price that strikes you as good to decent, then go for it.

    We're toying with going back in late January, but haven't even begun looking at air or rooms. If prices are good once we figure out dates and offers we'll book, otherwise not.

    Good luck!
     
  4. jhpa

    jhpa High-Roller

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    As far as rooms are concerned, I rarely see a room that can not be cancelled. Then again, I do not book on sites like priceline or expedia etc., only with the hotels directly. So I will book a room and watch the prices for a cheaper one later and then cancel the previous booking if a better deal comes along.

    As for airfare, I will book when I see a fare I am willing to pay. I will also keep an eye on how full a flight is getting. If the flight I want is starting to run out of aisle seats, I will book my flight. I do not want to get stuck in a center seat or having to take a flight with earlier, later a with a layover when I can go non-stop. And once I book a non-cancellable flight, I don't look at the prices any more. Why torture myself?
     
  5. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    Thanks all! That answers my question. Good that I like gambling :thumbsup:
     
  6. dgr1973

    dgr1973 Low-Roller

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    I do the same thing looking at the seats available. If theres tons left I feel safe waiting a bit to see if prices drop. And once I book like you I always plan to not keep looking but I cant help it, guess I like to torture myself lol!
     
  7. Turtleman

    Turtleman VIP Whale

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    Yeah, it's tough not to keep looking after booking flights, curiosity and all. Then again, it's sometimes easier to avoid what could be an unpleasant surprise when you can't do anything about it anyway. We usually keep checking, but mainly to "learn" (if there's anything to learn) about when to book and when to wait. We also try to keep tabs on seat availability, but haven't been able to reach definite conclusions. We've often seen seats going at a premium when there are few left, and other times they seem to be priced cheap to fill the plane. It's really tough when there are stiff penalties for changing or cancelling. Let's hope hotel rooms never go the same way.
     
  8. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    Thanks a lot, jhpa, that is very helpful information!

    I do indeed check sites like Expedia etc, because the flight is a lot more expensive when bought on it's own (for example on Expedia the flight alone 700 Euro, but with a room for 1 night included only 694 Euro, it's magic!). But I also check out the websites of the hotels and get offers by email from TR club.

    Those offers from TR are non-refundable. Copied from one of their emails: *Amount does not include room tax. Offer is non-refundable. Subject to availability. Available dates are subject to change. Rates may vary. Not valid for groups or conventions. Minimum 1 night stay, maximum 5 nights. Additional nights can be booked at prevailing rates. Full deposit and credit card required. 72 hour cancellation policy. Must be booked on this offer. Package is non-transferable and cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. Must be 21. Additional restrictions apply. Management reserves all rights.

    But with your tips I decided to do the following: I will book the flight - when I see a good price - together with the 1st hotel night via a site like Expedia. And then I will book the other hotel nights directly with the hotel(s) on their website. That way I can cancel those when a better deal comes along, like you said. I like that!

    (I guess you don't have to pay a deposit when booking a room? Or do you get that back when you cancel it? And did you never get any trouble when trying to cancel an earlier booking?)
     
  9. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    interesting to me because I reserved my May 2013 trip months ago, in fact the first day my room was available on the reservation system. I often do this and end up cancelling and changing bookings a half dozen times as the offers roll in.

    For my upcoming trip next week the initial rez was 9/1 and final change was cyber Monday, lol.

    Flights usually book SWA initially and adjust if a better AA deal comes up.
     
  10. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    For airfare its probably relevant that you should mention or remind people that you would be flying from central Europe as that situation is a lot different than somebody in central or eastern United States looking at airfare...

    As for hotels, May is one of the busier months for Las Vegas: the weather is pretty much at its best, there is a quite a few conventions that month (not just big ones but lots of small ones too) and both Canada and the USA have long weekends that month. My wife and I used to go to Las Vegas every May but its getting to where its hard to find lower room rates so we just end up putting the trip off until end of June or early July when prices come back down again.
     
  11. thenuke1

    thenuke1 High-Roller

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    all of my trips (11 including the one coming up)

    prices have always dropped the closer i get to the trip.

    heres an example.... i booked El Cortez Cabana Super Suite yesterday came out to $150 Dec 21-24. Had i booked on saturday like i almost did it would have come out to $163. same thing happen with Circus Circus a few trips ago ...

    i almost always book 1 1/5 months in advance .. never and more
     
  12. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    Found a site where they have even better airfare than when buying flight + 1st night hotel in a package! So now I will monitor that site like a hawk and book the flight when I see the best price. And the hotel room(s) / dates I will book directly via the website or TR offers.

    Tnx again for your advice, really helpful!

    :beer:
     
  13. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

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    I have found that you just never know. I have kicked myself for not buying package deals early, and being sorry when last minute deals show up ad you are locked in. A lot depends on how flexible you are. I much prefer booking airfare and hotels separately; I think it gives you better flexibility and usually better terms. If you book directly with the hotel, many will match what you can find through a broker, and they usually allow you to cancel up to 48 or 72 hours of your reservation. I have used brokers as well, mostly with Booking.com, which is european and in the Priceline family. I have actually cancelled and rebooked with them without any hassles. They are right up front with cancellation policy, and usually it is the same as the hotel's policy.

    That being said. when you book separately, you can change one part of your travel plans without affecting the other parts. Keep in mind that it is a lot easier for us in the states, since there are so many choices for carriers and so many flights to LV. Also cancellation policies may be quite different where you are compared to the US. With the distance that you need to travel, I would feel better booking when I thought a deal was decent, to have the securuty that I have a good seat, a definite flight at a time that I am happy with. I think the hotel is secondary. I usually book my flight to suit my schedule and have some flexibility as to dates. I fly Southwest which allows you to cancel and rebook without a fee so i often rebook if the prices drop.Once I have a firm date I start looking for a room. My last several trips, I have used a discounter; this year by calling the hotel diredtly, I haved about 45%. The one thing that I have learned for certain if you want a good deal is to check EVERYWHERE, check often (several times a day) and check every conceivable way. Some deals only last for hours, so the more you chec, the more places you check......the better your chances to save. My nexst trip from the east coast to LV is currently less than $490 to include roundtrip airfare, 9 days, 8 nights downtown, and bus passes, including resort fees and all taxes....one of my cheapest trips so far. Meals and entertainment are my only other expenses now.

    Good luck to you. Actually looking for deals will teach you a lot and actually becomes a lot of fun, and part of the traveling experience. I will start my planning actually during the next trip, making notes on new things, things to see and do,places to eat. etc. Have fun and hope you enjoy your journey.

    Jimbo338
     
  14. Canyonero

    Canyonero Tourist

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    I can offer some general advice for the tourism industry, which seems to apply to Vegas as well in my experience:

    (International) Flights: It is almost always better to book early. Most airlines offer a certain number of reduced fare seats (applies to any cabin). Most have worse cancelling conditions. Once these are booked, only the regular more expensive fares are available. There are hardly any price flucutations in the fare itself, but fees may change frequently. If you look at the fares on the website of the airline in question, these will seldom change, but availability of the reduced ones will.
    Promotions are a different story and will usually appear 1-3 months before the dates of the applicable flights. Mostly these will be extra mile or package deals not really worth it.

    Hotels: Book early in busy periods / high season, book late in slow periods / off season. Will not always work though.

    Big hotels operate on a fixed rate calendar, depending on the season. Based on this however, the will change the rate depending on (current) availability and (past) experience.
    If they are usually fully booked during a certain period of time, they will up the price in their rate calendar for this period (or event). In Vegas, the big conventions should have a significant impact on that. For slow periods, they will offer extra deals to bring people in. And for these times you may get great deals online.
    The last few remaining rooms in a hotel almost fully booked may be extremely expensive, no matter the size or category. In a hotel that is almost empty they may practically give the rooms away about 1 week or less before your intended stay.

    And finally, something which I doubt is true for Vegas: With many rooms still available, check-in may have an enormous discretion for walk-in rates (either direction). A good idea is to check the regular price online and ask check-in something like: "Do you offer any rooms for (x amount)?" Where x amount is about 50% of the rate you found online. Create the impression that you are ready to walk right out again if you hear a qualified no. (You may have to negotiate and should go for 60-80% of the regular price. Or - if you want a suite - start the same way give check-in a chance to upsell.) Any experiences with this in Vegas?
     
  15. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    Thank you, Jimbo!

    I have also considered to stay Downtown in order to save money (and I really like Downtown as well!), but decided that the only thing I won't bargain on is the location of the hotel. I like to have my "base-camp" around the center of the Strip, as that is where I'll spend most of my time/evenings. I like to be able to go back to the room (fairly) quickly to get something or put something away. And it just feels more save, that I can walk "home" alone late at night and not have to worry about how to get there. Because I have such a long way to travel (+/- 15 hours), I wouldn't go for just a short holiday. So 12 nights (Sun-Fri to avoid the weekens) on the center of the Strip is quite a challence to get a good deal for!

    For me also, looking for deals is a big part of the traveling experience! The downside is that I start to look way too early and then have to wait 6 months or more before I will actually go, torture! But I love choosing which hotel to stay at and searching for shows and bargains etc! On previous trips I have always stayed at just one hotel. Mainly to avoid the hassle of booking more hotels and checking in and out etc. But since this time I will book the room directly with the hotel, ánd cause I'm going to make a short trip to Laughlin in between anyway, I'm thinking of staying at more than one hotel this time. Even more fun looking for deals!

    I'm currently at 650€ for the flight (not booked yet, waiting for better) and average of 45$ p/n for the rooms (that would then be Flamingo and Ballys, and including 1 weekend). But I have not booked anything yet, cause the Ballys offer cannot be cancelled and I'm not sure yet when I will go to Laughlin (depending on my friend), so I don't want anything set yet.

    When is your own next trip?

    :beer:
     
  16. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    TNX Canyonero, that makes sence! Although I probably won't try the walk-in trick, cause 1st I'm too cowered and 2nd I don't want the chance of not being able to get a room, since I will be quite far from home lol.

    :beer:
     
  17. marktaylor

    marktaylor Low-Roller

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    have you thought about getting a flight to the uk on maybe easyjet to london then doing a flight from gatwick to vegas

    just checked sun 12th may for 12 nights at Monte Carlo ( just chose that as its on the strip ) on lowcostusa.co.uk and the direct flight and 12 nights came up at £1115 all in (and thats INCLUDING resort fee which would be £300 on its own )

    so if you added £ 65 for flight from the dam to gatwick on top the whole thing would be about £1200 or about 1440 euros all in
     
  18. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

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    I will fly out of Manchester, NH on Monday 1-28-13 and return on Tuesday 2-5-13. It is getting exciting now as January gets closer.

    Jimbo338
     
  19. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    Lol, two minds think alike! I did actually check the expedia.co.uk to compare prices with the Dutch one (but wasn't cheaper incl flight to UK). And was also seriously considering the Monte Carlo offer with every 4th night free (so for 12 nights I only pay 9 nights). I would usually avoid resort fees, but I have already stayed at the MC (on my first trip to Vegas, when I was still clueless about resort fees etc) and really enjoyed it. And the resort fees include internet connection in the room (which I would really appreciate for some lonely moments back in the room), so together with the 4th night free offer, I still think it's a great deal.

    That offer is actually the reason I started this thread. Cause it only runs until 10th December (that's tomorrow already, wow time goes fast!). And you cannot cancel your booking with Expedia, so I was really doubting. Now the deal is already 100 Euro more than when I first saw it: first 1135 Euro and now 1227 Euro (+ resort fees 12x20$=240$ is about 190 Euro).

    But if I book flight and hotel seperate (hotel directly via their site), then it comes out cheaper anyway, for example now: flight 650 Euro + hotel (12x45$=540$) 420Euro + no resort fees = 1070 Euro.

    So, after the advice from the board, I decided to take the risk and wait and look further. Ones it is more clear which days I will go to Laughlin, I can also start booking the rooms and if a better offer comes along, cancel and rebook. (I'm even kinda looking forward to that now lol, although still scary for an amateur).

    But thank you so much for thinking along, Mark, really appreciated!! :nworthy:
     
  20. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    Yea, I can imagine!
    In case I don't see you anymore on the board (although I doubt it); have a really nice trip to Vegas in January! And lots of more trips afterwards as well!
    :beer:
     
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