First Minute vacation, what does it mean? We already explain:) People going on holiday are divided into those using the last minute opportunity and those booking holidays in the first minute. Who’s better at it, here the views are divided – although the current trend is closer to first minute trips.
Why – you’ll read about this later in our post.
First minute holidays concern not only full holiday offers, but also the purchase of accommodation or flights. However, are such early reservations profitable and what can we expect when choosing holidays in the first minute and for whom are they the best? How to choose such offers, what to pay special attention to and what do the travel agencies have? And finally, why are the first minute holidays crowding out last minute trips?
We will try to answer all these questions in turn … but from the beginning:
What are first minute holidays and why should you be interested in them?
First minute holiday offers are trips available to customers well before the planned vacation. They usually appear just after the end of the current season. The main advantage of first minute holidays is the wide range of accommodation. The most popular hotels are booked well in advance. Rather, there is no chance to get them at the last minute. In addition, if we care about a specific type of room, for example a family room (often two rooms, connected by an internal door, sometimes with a kitchenette or just a larger area), they must also be booked in advance, because they disappear quickly.
In addition, first minute holidays are usually combined with attractive bonuses.
- price stability guarantee (fixed price, regardless of changing transport costs, airport charges or exchange rate)
- high discounts (40%, 50% and even 60% of the starting price)
- discounts for children (sometimes even a free stay for second and further children)
- free parking at the selected airport (ideal for motorists)
- free change of offer (free exchange of holidays for other, if necessary)
- low down payment, reaching even 5% (the rest is payable 40-30 days before departure)
- lowest price guarantee (if the cost of our vacation decreases, then the company will refund this difference to us)
- optional trips included in the price
- free insurance package (unchanging prices, cancellation insurance or free change of location – hotel, direction up to 45 days before departure)
However, it is worth knowing about the lowest price guarantee that the regulations they are subject to are usually structured so that offices would still benefit from such sales. For example, you need to read if sometimes this warranty does not cover only the duration of the first minute sale (i.e. usually until the end of March), after that time any discounts on our holidays will no longer be taken into account.
The organizers’ second step is to reimburse the cost difference if the offer decreases by at least 5%. Another aspect of this promotion is that you can apply for a refund once. Usually, you also have to watch prices yourself, because it is unlikely that an office employee calls with information that the price of our holidays has just dropped. It is worth reading the regulations of the given promotion.
Who is the first minute holiday for?
First minute holidays are a great offer for people who want and above all can plan their holidays well in advance. Not everyone can afford to plan a vacation a few months before leaving. Thanks to this, there is a lot of time to think about what to take on vacation.
The second target group is definitely families with children.
They are usually interested in accommodation facilities located in an attractive area, close to the beach and with swimming pools and slides, as well as often with animations for children. For this family rooms are important for them, which is usually limited in number.
Also those who care about a specific place and hotel will be satisfied with the first minute offer. A group of friends will book several rooms and places on the plane sooner months before departure, not at the last minute.
There are no last minute offers, for example, for 8 people, usually just one or two free places in the last dates.
First minute holidays for the disabled
Older and disabled people should also be interested in first minute holidays.
Their specific requirements (adapted room, bathroom with handles or the entire hotel area on the same level without elevations) are easier to take into account when the offer of accommodation is still full. Usually a given hotel has two or three rooms suitably adapted, but there are plenty of people from different countries. So there is nothing to wait for.
First minute holidays for saving money
First minute holidays are also a good offer for people who try to travel economically. On this type of trips you can really save, if only the office meets the lowest price guarantee, which we mentioned a little higher.
Pros and cons of last and first minute offers
Each vacation, regardless of whether bought out at the last minute or the first minute, has its pros and cons. Nothing is ever white or black.
The main advantage of last minute holidays is the opportunity to catch a really attractive price offer. In this mode, it will be used by people who can afford to travel overnight. The second group are tourists who cannot plan their vacation well enough in advance.
The downside here is probably the poor selection of accommodation facilities, because we are usually doomed to what has simply not sold. Sometimes we don’t even have a choice as to the direction of our vacation – we dreamed of Crete or Corfu, and the office has only last minute trips to Tenerife.
Sometimes there will also be no choice when it comes to food or the place of departure, while leisure bought in the first minute requires us to plan holidays well in advance. In this case, it is known that it is difficult to predict what the situation will look like in a year, because accidents and illnesses happen.
However, you can always insure yourself against such situations or choose an offer with the free option of changing plans. A big plus is their wide range of available destinations and accommodation facilities that will meet the expectations of the most demanding tourists. If you want a specific hotel or even a room with a sea view, it is much easier to book at first than last minute.
You can pick dates, types of rooms or places. At last minute you have to take what is left.
When is the best time to book first minute holidays?
Last minute holidays are rather sought after out of season. However, we reserve first minute holidays when the offer that interests us appears. It is good to know that travel agencies usually start with a reduced first minute version. Even often these are specially selected destinations that are designed to explore the level of interest in them.
So you have to be patient, because in the coming weeks, the next version of holiday offers will definitely be added.
Some travel agencies start with first minute sales around the end of August and the beginning of September. Such a quick offer is caused by market research, which says that after returning from rest, we are beginning to think about the next trip.
The first wave usually offers hotel facilities with which contracts are signed for the largest number of rooms and those that gave the largest discount for such an early booking. Sometimes travel agencies try to influence sales in a given direction. Especially if last season was not the best for it.
Therefore, first minute holiday offers should be sought from the very beginning of their appearance, but calmly waiting for the most interesting to us.
If we already have a vacation planned and we know its specific date, it is worth booking your vacation as soon as possible. Prices of this type of offer are increasing by a stepped system, which means that if a given number of beds from a given direction is sold, the next part will be a bit more expensive, and so to effect.
Sometimes even the first minute sale stops if, for example, the hotel is selling so well. Then the offices assume that the rest of the seats will sell easily even at a normal price – a month or two before departure.
What to look for when choosing offers for first minute holidays?
When choosing a first minute vacation, you need to know the date of our vacation. Then you can start looking for the right hotel in the direction of your interest. Before choosing a specific object, it’s always a good idea to read reviews about it. That is enough time to choose our accommodation wisely.
There is no such comfortable situation when buying last minute offers.
It is worth betting on first-minute holidays covered by a guarantee of unchanging prices. Few people are aware of the fact that the organizer of the trip has the right to stipulate in the contract that the price may be increased to 21 days before the date of departure. The reasons may be higher airport charges, an increase in aviation fuel prices or even a higher exchange rate. On the other hand, the price stability guarantee excludes such unpleasant surprises.
It is usually free at first minute, then you have to pay extra for such a guarantee.
We have already written about the lowest price guarantee.
If it is treated fairly (which will be described in the regulations), it is definitely worth choosing the holidays covered by this assurance. However, an equally important point is the ability to change reservations. The more that we buy first minute offers long before their implementation. Then, in the event of random accidents, we can change the date, participants, hotel or direction. And usually for free, then such a guarantee is additionally payable.
If, on the other hand, you purchase a free insurance package when you buy a first-minute holiday, it is also worth checking whether it includes protection against the costs of cancellation. This applies when there is no change of dates or direction at all. Some policies even cover the full reimbursement of expenses incurred if the situation arises because of, e.g. someone’s death, illness or accident. Sometimes this insurance also covers pregnancy and related complications, or loss of documents needed for travel.
Also check how the cheap flight search engine works.
What made first minute trips more popular?
The greater interest in first minute offers was mainly due to two factors – above all disappointment with the poor or rather limited availability of last minute holidays, which does not knock down from year to year, and greater confidence in the system of protecting tourists from falling travel agencies. Simply people who are afraid that they may lose their savings if the company is in trouble (and it can happen to everyone, even the largest like Thomas Cook), boldly buy this type of offer.