Your accommodation is the most expensive component of your travelling expenses. If you can get a good deal it means your trip costs you less or you can stay away for longer.
There are lots of accommodation establishments with low occupancies at the moment. That means lots of deals for you the traveller.
Timing of course is everything. If you want accommodation near a sports stadium when there is a sell out match on, then your chances of getting a special price are non existent. You will be lucky to get a room at any price. The same applies to a large extent over the high season.
When is high season? Well traditionally from 16th December to 5th January is high holiday season in South Africa.
If you want to get good rates for your holiday then, if you are able to, take your holiday out of the main peak season.
It also depends where you choose to go. Inland areas are not nearly as over booked over the December peak season as the coastal areas.
No matter when you are booking for, always contact establishments directly so that they do not have to pay commission to any third party. If it is for accommodation in the same week, ask for a last minute discount. If you are booking long in advance and you are sure your arrangements won’t change ask for a discount. If you are booking for more than 4 nights ask for a discount.
As an AA Member you can find good deals that we have already negotiated for you on the Bonsela Discount pages of www.aaholidays.co.za. Note that when you book or send an email enquiry through www.aaholidays.co.za there is no commission and you communicate directly with the establishment.
You may have watched Carte Blanche recently and seen the feature on how low occupancies are, especially in the Western Cape. This is not uniformly so across the whole country. Many hotel chains have high occupancies and while they might not be quite as full as they were in previous years they are certainly not doing as badly as the media portrayed. The same applies to guest houses, B&Bs and self-catering particularly those catering for the local market and business travellers.
So it is important to ask for a discount with an open mind. The answer may be ‘no’. But in general if it is 5pm and you want accommodation for that night and the establishment you are speaking to has a lot of rooms open for the night, if you receive a quote of say R800 for the night and you offer R500 then there is a good chance you will get that room for somewhere between R500 and R700.
It is always worth asking.