Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: A lesson on 'fluid pricing'

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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?

Sian Atkinson

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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