don't put off making your travel decisions

beach at Four Seasons Maui (c) 2019 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

What should you do when you just can't decide which hotel to book? Procrastination can hurt you in two different ways: (1) prices can go up the longer you wait and (2) your preferred choice may no longer be available by the time you make your decision. I've seen this happen to two clients in the past few days.

True story # 1: A family was planning a Festive Season trip to Europe. They wanted to spend three nights in one European capital and another three nights in a second, still-to-be-decided city. They needed connecting rooms and hoped for a Family Plan (a promotion with the kids' room at half-price).

I reached out to my partner hotels and presented them with four different proposals in one city... but they held off on making a decision. They kept researching, checking out as many alternatives as they could find, looking for for an even better deal. As they procrastinated, their options began disappearing as scarce connecting rooms kept selling out.

True story # 2: A second client contacted me 15 days ago wanting connecting rooms in London over a busy period. I sent him rates for six different hotels. 10 days later, he finally wrote back, noting that the quotes were rather high and wondering whether prices had perhaps come down. I checked... and the answer, sadly, was "no." Some of the hotels had now sold out, others had only expensive Suites left, and rates had gone up, not down.

When he finally made a decision 5 days later, and rates were higher still. In just 15 days, the price had gone up £150 per night.

So what should you do when you're having trouble making a decision? My best advice: don't let the "perfect" be the enemy of the "good." If you have a good choice, grab it. Make the booking first, then keep looking to see if you can improve on it.

Is it "kosher" to make a reservation before 100% making up your mind? My two-part answer — (a) it's definitely not kosher to tie up multiple hotel rooms; that's unfair to our hotel partners. But (b) it's perfectly OK to go with one best option as long as you're outside the cancellation deadline. This will put a ceiling on your rate. If rates go up, you've locked in a lower rate, and if rates go down, we can always get them revised outside of cancellation. This advice would have saved client # 2 a rather significant amount of money, £1050.

Don't put off your travel decisions while you seek perfection. That strategy will often turn out quite badly.

copyright (c) 2019 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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