Since my last post on this I have been tracking a couple of hotels in Sydney. These are the Shangri La
and Sofitel Sydney Wentworth.
I realise this is a small sample. I have focused it even more by checking only on the American Express Travel site and the hotel’s own websites.
Even with this limited data it has been interesting, and confusing.
As expected there is no simple answer.
The prices vary almost day by day and one hotel’s prices will go done whilst the other one’s increase. Room availability is also variable. I realise this is, to some, stating the absolutely obvious.
Of course there will be huge variation. The hotels use a very dynamic pricing model depending on the apparent bookings, and hence remaining availability they have. In parallel to this many people, companies and travel agents and websites will be holding, booking and cancelling rooms as peoples’ plans or minds change. As availability drives cost and this is changing minute to minute then the cost will change dynamically.
I also presume the hotels add special offers and in the internet world flash sales lasting a few hours or a day only will impact on the pricing levels.
What is happening now?
As I write this I see that the price for the Shangri La hotel has increased whilst Sofitel has dropped quite a lot. This trend has continued for the last week or so. I also note that in both hotels the rooms available are becoming more restricted. Yes, of course this is obvious. As you get closer to arrival, plans are firmed up and more rooms and booked. in other words the hotel has less room availability to offer. Perhaps Shangri La is more full at the moment or Sofitel have simply decided to discount further their current available rooms.
So what am I going to do?
Well, I made my booking about 2 weeks ago. This seems to have been the right time for the hotel I chose and so I am sticking with it. However, as the hotel seems to be pretty full as evidenced by the small list of rooms types showing as available I bet I will not get the upgrade as part of the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts service I used. This raises the question if it is worth paying more for the potential of these perks; but that is another post!
And my conclusion?
It is a mug’s game and a lottery.
You need to make a decision at some point that you are happy with the price and the type of room and simply go for it. Yes, it will change. Sometimes up and sometimes down. The type of room availability, especially the premium rooms, will become less available or much more costly.
So my game plan is to book as soon as I confirm my holiday but on terms that can be cancelled and track intermittently for a while. I will not wait until too close to my arrival to make a final decision. At that point stop tracking.