Avoiding early-mover’s curse in hotel bookings – How to catch the last-minute deals

Relax, You can save on hotel bookings

Book early, save more. 90/60/30 day advance booking rates. Most of us are familiar with such offers to sweeten our hotel and resort bookings.

Strange are the ways of dynamic pricing + occupancy rate targets + unknown factors, one could be a victim of early-mover’s curse i.e a well-planned booking made in advance turns expensive against a last-minute deal. These could be flash sale or pay for 2, stay 3 night type deals.

A couple of years back, we booked a vacation to Langkawi, Malaysia 9 months in advance when AirAsia launched its India service with a now-unseen zero base fare sale. (Rs 12,000 for 3, Bangalore – Kuala Lumpur – Langkawi return!). About 6 months before the vacation, we short listed some exotic beach resorts. Unwilling to commit, I called the resort instead of booking on the website that almost always involves advance payment. To our pleasant surprise, we were booked without any advance or even credit card details for security.

I continued to keep a tab on the other properties. We realized the sweet spot we had put our self in, when Berjaya opened a pay for 2 stay 4 nights deal a month before our dates. Again I attempted booking on the phone and that helped to add free breakfast. We got luckier with an upgrade to a sea-view room during check-in by the same guy who took the phone booking. In effect, we paid about 24k for 4 nights for a breakfast inclusive sea-view room!

In conclusion:
– Book early but keep options open.
– Find ways to book without advance or with free cancellations. For an upcoming Scandinavia trip, booking.comĀ is working well
– Technology is changing the way we live, yet a phone call can make a difference

Do you have any inputs?

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