Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: A lesson on 'fluid pricing'
Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Thursday 10 January 2013
Q I booked a holiday with Neilson in November 2012 to ensure I got the skiing holiday I wanted. Today I find the exact same holiday with the same company at £64 cheaper but not being advertised as a last-minute deal or special offer. Neilson says that they cannot give me any reduction because prices can go up or down. I appreciate that it is a matter of supply and demand but without it being advertised as a last-minute deal can they still refuse some discount?
A Yes. “Fluid pricing” is the norm in the travel industry. Travel companies constantly nudge prices up and down in order to fill capacity at the pace they expect. When I got your message, I checked the Neilson ski holiday that I happen to have booked for this winter, and saw it is slightly more expensive. Conversely, the Thomson cruise I booked just before Christmas is now cheaper – had I waited, I would have saved about £100.
For future reference: late January is always good territory for late-notice bargains (indeed we featured a Neilson offer in The Independent last Saturday), and so if you’re not confined to school holidays it’s always worth biding your time and seeing what deals are around.
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