During the pandemic, many travelers are reserving hotels last minute. But while that may work fine with budget hotels, it pays to book a luxury hotel early. Why? Here are four reasons to book luxury hotels as early as possible:
1. There May Be No Availability if You Wait
If you think that this can't possibly happen during 2021, you're wrong. I've already had clients who are disappointed that they can't book during Easter 2021, because the hotel is closed to new check-ins for certain dates. The hotel may not be entirely sold out on every single day, but because those dates have such high demand, guests who don't already hold a confirmed reservation will have to book starting before or after the high demand period.
2. Rates May Go Up (Yes, Even in 2021)
There's a misconception that hotel rooms will become cheaper if you wait, since many luxury hotels aren't operating at full capacity. But that's not always the case; I've seen rates at hotels such as the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea increase 50% for some spring 2021 dates. Hotels often adjust rates as occupancy increases or decreases, and for busier periods such as spring break, summer, and holidays, rates can easily increase as you get closer in.
But even if that's true, it doesn't hurt to reserve now and then, if rates do go down, simply call and ask for your rate to be adjusted. Just don't book a non-refundable rate, make sure you reserve a flexible rate.
Think of it this way: by reserving a flexible rate well in advance, you have an option for a hotel room or suite at a price. That long time horizon can only benefit you, since if rates go up, you're protected, and if rates go down, you can adjust your rate to the prevailing rate (or book a higher category than you originally booked, for a similar investment).
3. Book Early for Confirmed Upgrade at Time of Booking
Most upgrades are based on availability at time of check-in, but there are some Virtuoso hotels that confirm an upgrade at time of booking in 2021, and certain preferred partner programs such as Hyatt Prive and Shangri-La Luxury Circle also confirm some upgrades at time of booking. Just today, I confirmed with a Park Hyatt that it would upgrade our client from a $1445 per night suite to a $2195 per night suite, a savings of $750 per night. There are also some Four Seasons Preferred Partner exclusive upgrades at time of booking. Four Seasons Maui at Wailea will Guarantee an Upgrade at Booking in 2021 for TravelSort guests for select room types, as will Four Seasons Hualalai, for select room types.
4. Top Priority for Room and Suite Preferences
Most hotels won't guarantee a specific room or suite in advance (although a few, such as the Park Hotel Vitznau in Switzerland do, as the rooms and suites are so unique). That said, hotels, particularly when we reserve them for clients through a preferred partner program, do take into account guest preferences, and typically guests who book earlier receive priority in terms of their specific room or suite preferences, such as a particular room layout, better view, or higher floor.
Have you ever wished you reserved a hotel earlier?
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