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Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

It's been a horrible year for hurricanes this year.  Since 2003, when we started in business, we've dealt with storms especially since 2005 which was the most active season during which 28 tropical cyclones formed, of which a record 15 became hurricanes.  Since then, the Weather Channel would scare the bejsus about of everyone by announcing on June 1st that it was officially "Hurricane Season" (which officially ends on November 30th).  This year, however, has been the exception.

Rule #1:  if you're going to travel from August 15th through September 30th, you have to get Travel Insurance.  It might not be your cruise or resort destination that's affected, it might be getting there.  Even driving to a cruise port, can be an issue.  Plus, even if it's not your cruise port or your cruise or during Hurricane season, you can be affected.  I remember getting a call from a group leader after Katrina who was going to cruise in the following January.  She was distraught because their cruise ship had been repositioned to help out housing people in New Orleans.  These storms can affect people who have no idea they're going to get affected.

Rule #2:  Book with a Travel Agent.  A good one.  We're just coming down on DEFCON 4 making sure our clients are informed, taken care of, and properly advised.  Without a Travel Agent, you're travelling alone.  Sometimes it ends really well (although as of today we're not out of the woods yet), sometimes it doesn't because of circumstances out of everyone's control.  But at least, with a TA, you have a person vs. a huge supplier as a go to.

Stay safe, everyone.

Suppliers and Pricing
7/21/2017 11:35:34 AM Link 0 comments | Add comment

Carnival, Disney, Pricing, Suppliers

We get the question all the time:  "When is the best pricing?"  I'd like to spend a little time explaining why, in our opinion, suppliers do what they do.

Everybody thinks suppliers drop their prices down to pretty much "giving it away" at the last second.  That's a myth.  Suppliers have already made their money by the time the last few seats, rooms, etc. are available.  There might be a price drop at the last minute, but that price has gradually risen over the time that it's been on the market.  Lowering it at the last minute might give you the same price as a month or two earlier.

Take a look at the school calendars to figure out the best pricing for cruises, all inclusive and Walt Disney World.  When the kids are all in, the pricing is the lowest.  The first two weeks in December.  The first two weeks in January.  The first two weeks in May.  The 2nd and third weeks in September (although Hurricane season can impact this a little, too).  All times that suppliers will offer incentives to fill their rooms.

Why don't suppliers offer incentives or lower pricing during peak times?  Simple.  They don't have to.  It's supply and demand.  While you might lament that supplier X is charging a lot of money, they're doing so because people are paying it and they don't NEED to reduce their price.

Some suppliers will honor a future lower price to those who book early.  With Carnival Cruise Lines, it's a wonderful deal.  For them, not necessarily you.  With their "Early Saver" rate, they'll guarantee you the lowest price but charge you a penalty if you cancel.  Guess who sets the price?  In the 8 years since the program has come out, I'll bet the ratio is 4 or 5 to 1 the penalties our clients have paid for cancelling vs. those who have cashed in on the lower price guarantee.  So, for every 1 client that they're losing a minimal amount of money, there's 4 to 5 that they're making money because of the non refundable deposit for cancellations or changes.

Disney Travel will honor any specials that come out to those who have booked early, but they have a sticky little sentence in the disclaimer "*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited."  We've had clients very disappointed that they booked early hoping for price reductions or incentives in the future.  When (and if) those reductions or incentives come out, the resort is sold out.  So, instead of being happy that they can at least get into the resort on the days and at the resort they want, they're disappointed that Disney isn't giving them a price break.

Our best advice is always book early.  The price might come down, but the availability will always shrink.

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