Why it pays to book ahead… especially from 2022 onwards.

15th Jun 2022

The dust seems to be settling on the last two years, it was a tumultuous time for sure but since (around) March 2022 ‘normal’ looks a lot more like how ‘normal’ used to. That glorious statement aside there are a few tremors still running through that sense of normalcy. They’re the realities of a post-pandemic life. The aftermath of the different strategies employed from across the world still ripples through society and has an impact.

In some areas, it’s pretty obvious like certain imports from China or trying to get some niche building supplies. In other areas, it’s more hidden and less obvious, for example; securing deals for international surf travel. Which is the crux of this article, all that preamble aside, the smart money is booking 2023 surf travel early.

If you’re planning a 2023 trip – act now.  Here’s why…

Supply and demand – It was a LOOOOOONG two years

It was a tumultuous time for sure and businesses that were dependent on tourism had to make radical decisions. Some kept deposits and promised to honour future bookings, some sought alternative income sources hoping to come back when tourism flourished again and some just bit the bullet and went home to lead other lives – simply packed up the dream and went away from the surf, the reefs and the sunsets, leaving the tropics behind. 

What does this mean for your 2023 trip? Essentially for many operators, 2022 has been a year that they honoured backlog at pre-2020 prices. This would have hit hard. A couple of operators would surely have got a few new bookings but the bulk of the operators we represent now look to 2023 as a means to stabilise their business again. For you, as a consumer, this translates into an extreme unlikelihood of early booking travel discounts. We’ll ask but we’re not expecting to see the ‘stay 6 pay 5’, ‘group discounts’ and ‘book now to save X%’ type of deals. 

Typically this time of year we launch into our ‘Group on’ deals and encourage group leaders to think ahead and save money by planning next year in advance with bigger numbers and financial incentives. Surfers get a discount and a year to warm up partners and plan & purchase. Operators get to plan, fill dates and know that the following year is looking ‘peachy’. 2023 is not looking like that year. 

The other reality is that the operators that ran the gauntlet and are still operating in 2022/3 are in demand. A landlocked Australia paired with a global reluctance towards international travel over the last two years has translated to a more equal supply-demand model. So, for you, thinking of booking a trip, this means that your forward-thinking will be rewarded with prime dates, secure travel, fixed price and enough spots for everyone in the group. For 2023 that’s motivation enough.

The world opened at different paces

In July 2020 the Maldives reopened to international Surf Travel, in Australia we were madly scrambling to get our ex-pats back from overseas so we could bunker down and lock down outbreaks. The world moves at different speeds and the Maldives needed tourism to get on with it. With that being said the Australian market was overlooked, backfilled by Europeans, Americans (South Americans too) and the UAE in the Maldives. Meanwhile, Indonesia took a different route and banned travel until late 2021, since then they have practically removed all quarantine restrictions (around March 2022). Depending on the destination you’re looking at you’re either; vying with the rest of the world for a spot or trying to get back on the favourites lists. Our advice plan ahead, don’t miss out!

Airlines aren’t dropping airfare prices like they used to

We’ve been taught that you can save money by booking international flights later in the planning phase. Some sources suggest that the 150-day mark is optimal. To be honest, we have a horse in this race, so feel free to do your research. But Airlines are under no obligation to release last-minute deals to entice later bookings anymore so, as per point one, the demand is there. Those planning ahead are rewarded with cheaper airfares while those waiting for last-minute releases are being punished with price increases. We like to book our clients’ flights. It saves some hassle and streamlines your trip. But it’s a choice and some of our clients like to book their own flights, no dramas there either. Just please, please, please book them early. We’re seeing international flight seats go up and up and up the longer you leave it. 

All that other Bull$4!T – plan ahead now

There are a few headaches still around, those ripples from policy changes related to the pandemic throw the occasional spanner into the works. We also live in a tumultuous time; wars, fuel shortages, climate change policy, climate change/ weather events – doom and gloom etc etc etc… A holiday sounds pretty good right now, yeah?! 

Long story short we find ourselves in a world of complex systems that occasionally ‘wobble’ and then affect consumers way down the line by increasing prices. The long and short of this is that a 2023 surf trip is a helluva lot more guaranteed if you lock it in early.

That’s it really, consider this a heads up. A gentle forewarning that if your eyes are set on a 2023 surf trip you need to act now! At the very least reach out to us and pencil something in. 

Thanks for reading, we’re keen to help you get to the waves you dream of in 2023 – so reach out now – 

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