How to Negotiate the Best Vacation Deal Using These 5 Tips
With all of the modern technology making holiday planning easier than ever, it might seem that negotiating or finding the best travel deals is not a possibility…and yet it is! This is true even with luxury villas in the Caribbean. If you are hoping to enjoy a good deal on your winter vacation, and worry that you’ll pay premium prices, you can use the five tips below, and create the best vacation deals possible.
Yes, that says, “create,” and by that, we mean negotiate. You can do this because most luxury villas are privately owned and each owner may have varying degrees of flexibility. Working with a villa specialist company such as St Martin Blue that has considerable expertise on St Martin, will help identify flexible owners and unique opportunities to capitalize on such as a new villa offering with an anxious owner to book up his property or dates that fit perfectly between two reservations. Your villa specialist can help identify these opportunities and provide guidance on the best approach to get the best deal possible.
Take the five steps below, and use the resources suggested and you should have great luck:
1. Travel within 30 Days
Wait ‘til the last minute…Few times in life allow you to intentionally procrastinate and delay taking action. However, if you decide that you want to head somewhere on holiday, such as booking a luxury villa in the Caribbean, you may find that the window of time within 30 days of departure opens the door to a deal. Why? Many villa or vacation homeowners think exactly as business owners, and when their properties (even their most luxurious villas) are sitting “un-booked” they consider them “expiring inventory,” that poses a serious loss. Because of that, they’ll be open to any reasonable offers. Be advised that you won’t get tremendous discounts, such as a deep 50% discount, but it is entirely likely that you might negotiate from 15 to 25%, and with that in mind…
2. Be Realistic
As noted, you are highly unlikely to find any owners willing to deeply discount their stock at the detriment of cheapening their brand, but most are happy to open negotiations with potential guests offering reasonable prices. They may have financial means, the owners of luxury villas, but that does not mean they are not eager to see a profit on their investment! Just submitting a fair and reasonable offer typically invites consideration. At Isle Blue, villa experts can also advocate for a client and help them to structure a successful bidding strategy for a period of time when that “inventory,” is at risk for expiring. Be aware too that most owners are more than well aware of reasonable amounts and sums that are simply insulting. Try to be realistic, reasonable, and as accurate and honest as possible because once the door is closed due to an unreasonable offer, it rarely reopens.
3. Submit Binding Offers
Be committed…A “binding offer,” is one in which you, as the bidder, have made a true financial commitment rather than just tossing out a few figures. Instead of inquiring about the options for a discount, you have made a binding reservation (one guaranteed by a down payment), should the owner accept the deal. Think of it this way, how much more likely are they to consider your offer (even at the lower end of the spectrum) if you are committed financially and obliged to follow through should that offer be accepted? They are highly likely to give it far more consideration.
4. Stay longer
One of the ways that most travelers get a discount is to stay a bit longer. As an example, typical discounts look like this: Stay free for every seventh night of your booking. This encourages a week or more. When making a negotiated offer to the owner of a luxury villa, you can often make the deal a bit sweeter if you arrange for a stay of ten nights or more. Perhaps ask for a 10% discount off the price for every night past the tenth or 10% of the deal OR ask for that seventh night free on every seven nights, i.e. one weekend free for a two-week commitment.
5. Target slower periods
There are high or peak seasons, and off seasons and in between are shoulder seasons. In the Caribbean, the offseason is usually the hurricane season (September-October), and the peak seasons are those during colder weather in Europe and North America (December to mid April). That means that there are many parts of the year in which great conditions prevail and yet fewer travelers are showing an interest in heading to the region. Take a look at your schedule, look at the “inventory,” available in your islands of choice, and find shoulder seasons that work with both. You can also just avoid the highest demand periods, including holidays at any time of the year, periods when an island is experiencing a special event such as a carnival season or a yachting event or a food festival. Whenever there is higher demand and lower supply, your negotiations for lower rates are going to be ignored – unless you wait until the very absolute last minute, such as less than seven days before your departure.
Here are a few popular periods to target if you are interested in making a deal.
Ideal Caribbean Travel Dates for Deals
For the Caribbean, slower periods when the weather is still ideal but the tourist travel period is between peak periods are the following
- 1st two weeks in December
- January 7th to 15th
- Second half of May and all of June
Ideal European Travel Dates for Deals
For Europe, July and August are prime weeks and book well in advance. However, the following periods still offer beautiful weather and better pricing
- May and early June
- September and October
Are there other ways to get vacation travel deals? Of course, but none enable you to negotiate directly with someone who owns the property in which you intend to stay. There are “bidding” apps and sites that let you put in your highest price (or the price you want to pay), but you are not negotiating so much as waiting to see if anything is made available at that price, and often it is the farthest thing from a luxury villa.
Using these tips you will be able to find the right property at a reasonable time and get a good price for even the most luxurious of villas. Is there a bit of chance involved? Yes, but if you are ready to work with experts like the advisers at Isle Blue, and do the diligence, you can find yourself enjoying the lap of luxury at a less than luxury price!