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How far in advance to book/dynamic pricing?

How far in advance to book/dynamic pricing?

Old Jan 8, 20, 9:07 am
  #1  
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How far in advance to book/dynamic pricing?

We intend to take 4 trips this year - 2 in August and 2 in September. All N America - Vancouver, LA, New York and Chicago. I'm wondering if it's too early to book now with a Virtuoso agent? How far in advance are people generally booking?

I've seen some decent rates and I'm wary of them going higher because right now they seem fairly good deal. I tend to be an early bird but have over the years been asked if I'm British when I make very early reservations as it's not as common as in the US. We are indeed expats lol! I've also been watching some hotel rates fluctuate wildly as they're using dynamic pricing. An example - Hotel Bel-Air in LA - from November until today I've watched the same room go $795-$695-$995-$1295-$995. Ugh I'm not sure I have the patience and time to be checking rates daily. Are there any agents who check and rebook you at lower rates?

We've been caring for our parents for the past few years and we haven't traveled for leisure since 2014 so I'm a bit rusty.

Thanks.
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Old Jan 8, 20, 9:33 am
  #2  
ABG
 
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Originally Posted by JayEmCee View Post
Ugh I'm not sure I have the patience and time to be checking rates daily. Are there any agents who check and rebook you at lower rates?
Our team checks every hotel booking about every two weeks for rate movements, new promos etc.
Sometimes more sometimes less depending what's going on
Depending on the client we rebook at a lower price or if it is someone I know well I'll just move up their room catagory for the same'ish previously agreed price and put it down as a confirmed upgrade and wait for another upgrade at check-in. Hotels, unlike air, can be book and rebooked many many times without a fee which is why you should always book early and just see what happens. I always appreciate if clients spot a lower rate themselves and let us know.

I believe the people behind AutoSlash, who post in the car rental forums here, are working on a similar product for hotels to monitor prices
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Old Jan 8, 20, 9:35 am
  #3  
 
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For Virtuoso hotels, or any hotels you're booking cancelable rates at, it doesn't hurt to book in advance. You can always rebook at a lower rate if/when price drops.

The only downside is if there requires a deposit, and then you have to weigh the time value of the deposit money against potential price drops. But let me not be a pedantic finance guy.
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Old Jan 8, 20, 1:33 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by ABG View Post
Our team checks every hotel booking about every two weeks for rate movements, new promos etc.
Sometimes more sometimes less depending what's going on
Depending on the client we rebook at a lower price or if it is someone I know well I'll just move up their room catagory for the same'ish previously agreed price and put it down as a confirmed upgrade and wait for another upgrade at check-in. Hotels, unlike air, can be book and rebooked many many times without a fee which is why you should always book early and just see what happens. I always appreciate if clients spot a lower rate themselves and let us know.

I believe the people behind AutoSlash, who post in the car rental forums here, are working on a similar product for hotels to monitor prices
Helpful reply, thank you.
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Old Jan 8, 20, 1:49 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by JayEmCee View Post
We intend to take 4 trips this year - 2 in August and 2 in September. All N America - Vancouver, LA, New York and Chicago. I'm wondering if it's too early to book now with a Virtuoso agent? How far in advance are people generally booking?

I've seen some decent rates and I'm wary of them going higher because right now they seem fairly good deal. I tend to be an early bird but have over the years been asked if I'm British when I make very early reservations as it's not as common as in the US. We are indeed expats lol! I've also been watching some hotel rates fluctuate wildly as they're using dynamic pricing. An example - Hotel Bel-Air in LA - from November until today I've watched the same room go $795-$695-$995-$1295-$995. Ugh I'm not sure I have the patience and time to be checking rates daily. Are there any agents who check and rebook you at lower rates?

We've been caring for our parents for the past few years and we haven't traveled for leisure since 2014 so I'm a bit rusty.

Thanks.
Welcome to Flyertalk, JayEmCee
The Luxury Hotels and Travel Forum is a great place to start planning leisure travel again.
Obscure2k
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Old Jan 8, 20, 3:45 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2019
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Originally Posted by ABG View Post
Our team checks every hotel booking about every two weeks for rate movements, new promos etc.
Sometimes more sometimes less depending what's going on
Depending on the client we rebook at a lower price or if it is someone I know well I'll just move up their room catagory for the same'ish previously agreed price and put it down as a confirmed upgrade and wait for another upgrade at check-in. Hotels, unlike air, can be book and rebooked many many times without a fee which is why you should always book early and just see what happens. I always appreciate if clients spot a lower rate themselves and let us know.

I believe the people behind AutoSlash, who post in the car rental forums here, are working on a similar product for hotels to monitor prices
Thats a great service. OP, it might be worth switching agencies if the agent you were using didnít monitor your reservations (and it sounds like they didnít). I worked with an agent last year who was very hands off. They didnít monitor my reservations, never followed up after our stays, took days to respond. They did what I asked which was to book room X for Y nights and of course at no cost to me so I couldnít complain but I have since learned from lurking here that there are agents who are way more hands on and Iíll be switching agents for this yearís trips.

I have also also noticed that Dorchester properties seem to fluctuate wildly from day to day. They were my first choice for a Thanksgiving stay but when the rate had increased by $400 it one day and then bounced all over the next couple days I considered the booking too much work and went with a competitor.

Also, some properties already have announced their free night deals for summer 2020 but others havenít so you might want to consider if the property is likely to release a deal later in the year.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 3:50 am
  #7  
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Don’t feel bad about booking early. We do it all the time. When I plan a trip, I have a very specific hotel and often a specific room in mind. The only way to guarantee I get what I want is to secure it right away.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 4:08 am
  #8  
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I operate on the rule of waiting until mid to late Jan that year, because many hotels will only have RACK loaded prior. I never book prepaid, and as above, Virtuoso and other programs tend to be flexible anyway. I tend to secure the room or suite I want and check it every now and then until the stay.

Prices can go down because a block of held rooms are released, or they can go up because of decreased availability.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 4:49 am
  #9  
 
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I book a few months in advance if I can. I haven't noticed rates at higher end properties getting materially better by booking even earlier. A few thoughts:
1) Even after booking I'll do a spot check to see if the rate dropped or if there's an offer. A lot of times hotels will offer a third or fourth night free, but don't specifically apply it to your rate unless you use the rate code.
2) Two weeks before the trip, and if the trip is for pleasure, I'll switch the booking to pre-pay nonrefundable to save money. It's only because I'm very certain the trip won't change, so why not? Business travel is far more in flux and the money saved is not worth the potential sacrificed by having to change things around.

If you have a good relationship with the hotel, you might also find that they're more flexible on their strictest offer. I had a personal emergency pop up last year and had already prepaid a few nonrefundable bookings, but because I was already a regular at the hotels they graciously still gave me my money back. I find that hotels are generally a lot more flexible if you are a regular.

Finally, always worth calling to see if they can budge on a rate. I again had a personal emergency last year and had to make a slew of closed-in bookings. The rates were absurdly high, but I called the reservation desk and explained the circumstances. All of them offered me a discount, but also because I'm a regular.

So, again, YMMV. I do find that loyalty and relationship building are the best for saving in the long run. I've already managed to squeeze a good deal with BHH because of my previous stays at the Belair.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 8:47 am
  #10  
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I book very early to get what I want and tend to check rates and cancel/rebook closer to arrival unless I have gotten a special deal with the hotel. Had to book a trip now to leave mid February and found that most of my preferred hotel options was not any more available which was no fun. I love spending time doing research amongst my preferred hotels/find specific rooms etc., but really dislike if I have to go for something else because it was full. Hopefully I will be happy with the 4th best option... Wasn`t even cheap. And had to prepay. Back to normal early booking next time!!
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Old Jan 9, 20, 12:20 pm
  #11  
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Just another DP.
I have never suggested a client to book last minute for hotels if we're considering flexible rates.
In some cases, even have booked flexible rates knowing we're aiming to change to pre-paid rates later on just to buy some time and hold the inventory.
It's very normal to make rate adjustments nowadays due to dynamic pricing.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 3:23 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by bluegatorade View Post
The only downside is if there requires a deposit, and then you have to weigh the time value of the deposit money against potential price drops. But let me not be a pedantic finance guy.
Thatīs a valid point and if someone works with credit it has real value. The whole concept will not work with non-refundable rates which can also be Virtuoso.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 3:42 pm
  #13  
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Often I want to secure an acceptable hotel reservation within the 24 hour cancel period for (most) plane tickets. I always book refundable rates, so ti can be fine tuned later, when I have time. I typically then check prices at irregular intervals depending on the circumstances.

However, I would generally consider it an unethical practice to make Virtuoso etc. reservations and cancel them later, rebooking the same or another Virtuoso property on your own or through another channel. OTOH, if I notice a significant price drop, I would expect a Virtuoso agent to have no problem rebooking the reservation at the lower rate or with additional benefits.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 5:26 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
However, I would generally consider it an unethical practice to make Virtuoso etc. reservations and cancel them later, rebooking the same or another Virtuoso property on your own or through another channel.
I never rebooked through another chanel. Additionally as far as I know an agent can mostly book every rate offered by the hotel itself, in worst cast without amenities.
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Old Mar 2, 20, 3:41 pm
  #15  
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I'm having this problem right now. I am starting a new project at work that will have me very busy through July. We want to do a get away for my sister's birthday in late August and I'd like to get it booked and out of the way and rates are a) ridiculously high right row, the BHH entry level room is twice what I paid for a deluxe patio in August 2018. b) jumping all over. On Saturday I had decided on a suite at the Bel Air as the 100 a day made more sense. I go to book today and it has jumped up $300 a night. I go back to the 2 room option at the BHH and that too has jumped $100 per room. I got a suite at the Pen last summer for only $100 more than they want for the most basic room this summer and service majorly sucked last year so not keen to give them another chance anyway.

I think I will just book something and hopefully my agent will be able to change it for me if/when the rates drop with time. As someone who has to work hard to afford luxury travel and doesn't have an unlimited budget or a lot of time, it feels like it gets more stressful every year. I hate being a 'PIA client' who is bothering them every month to change rates but needs must.
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