Tammy Weiler knows travel. With more than 32 years in the travel industry and 23 years as the President of Singles Travel International, she has seen a lot of trends and turns in the industry. She sees what works best for singles and what mistakes they make when planning ahead. Simply said, they don’t plan ahead. This can be costly for singles who want the best deals and the best experiences when they travel solo or with one of #STIsingles groups.
We’ve asked Tammy to share some of her knowledge. She has some great tips for booking your next singles vacation. Some of the answers may surprise you. If not, what are you waiting for??
In your 23 years of singles travel experience, what do you see as the biggest mistake singles make when booking a vacation?
Singles tend to be last minute decision makers which makes sense because we never know in advance if we’ll be single a year in advance, if our job will be the same or if we’ll need to take care of aging parents. Unfortunately, a cautious attitude often keeps singles from making decisions in advance and consequently losing out on the best travel rates. Travel accommodations are, like everything else, a product of supply and demand. Booking early (12-18 months in advance) affords you first choice for every element of your trip: seats, cruise cabin location etc. and overall, there is no risk of losing your deposit until much closer to final payment. Travel providers hope to fill ships, hotels and buses as early as possible and typically offer an incentive to the early reservation maker. Yes, it’s true that last minute deals are a factor when a provider is not filling the space. The risk here is that there are lots of elements that play a part; economics, politics, natural disasters, terrorism, all of which are unpredictable. There are just a few who have the flexibility to land a deal every time.2.
When is the best time to book a cruise? The best time to book a cruise is in the Fall. The cruise business is slow and cruise lines hope to get as many cabins filled before year end. After all, they are a business like anything else and want to end the year with strong sales.
Are there special times of the year when the deals are the best? There are several times of the year to travel when rates are low for Caribbean: The first two weeks of January because everyone is broke and partied out, so cabins go begging. Other low times are hurricane season months of August and September (also due to back to school) and then the week after Thanksgiving. Everyone is preparing for holidays and money is tight. For Europe, the low price times are called “shoulder” season, meaning before or after the most popular time, aka “high” season. So for Europe the best deals fall in April and October. These months often surprise us with pleasant weather. Other destinations are typically seasonal and have limited departures, so last minute deals are less frequent. For unique journeys and destinations, it is in your best interest to book early.
What about last minute deals? Does it depend on the destination? If you are completely flexible and don’t mind traveling solo, then there are deals, every month, to somewhere. The trick here is to be ready to go when the deals appear and with no expectations about where you want to go.
What have you seen change in the travel industry regarding single supplements? We have advocated for solo deals since 1995. We are seeing a culture change in the last two years. Providers are building ships with single cabins again (in the old days many ships offered solo cabins) and many are offering no single supplements on their “shoulder” season departures or a limited number of “no single supplement” deals per departure. This makes us happy.
Check out Tammy’s #STIsingles member profile HERE and be sure to check out all 30 departures offered by Singles Travel International. And remember to book EARLY and OFTEN. The small cancellation fee won’t hurt as badly as the last minute prices you will pay when you decide you need to get away.
~ Submitted by Robin Zell
Director of Market Strategy for Singles Travel International