Why is 2020 a Good Time to Book your Trip in Japan
Under this provocative title we will probably give you one of the best advices a Japan sightseeing information website can provide: going against the flow of touristic crowds to enhance your travel’s value.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, the same reasoning led us to suggest avoiding April to discover Japan. The idea is quite simple and is linked to the market economy, in other words the law of supply and demand: if everybody travel at the same time, the travel is not only less comfortable (more people, less availabilities, etc.) but the prices skyrocket (some flights or hotels have their prices rise by twice and even thrice during sakura 🌸 season).
The reasoning is the same with the Coronavirus 🦠 crisis for customers who place reservations now. Quite naturally, most people cannot imagine traveling this year, but travelers looking for the best deals have understood that now is the best moment to prepare their trips.
Let us detail our analysis and our advices to make the most of the situation.
Get Inspiration from the Investor Psychology
Many seasoned stock exchange investors know the graph below (Source). It humorously illustrates what happens in the mind of a rookie investor before buying or selling stocks:
Going through different stages, the unwary investor is drifting on the flow of events and takes unreasonable decisions on a bad timing. At the end of the day, they buy too high, and they sell too low (and thus lose money) because of bad decisions.
The financial world is well aware of the "buy low and sell high" strategy. It means that one must buy during dire situations and sell when everything is fine.
To sum it up, it comes down to "keep calm during troubled times, sell when everybody is buying, and buy when everybody is selling."
Step back from the emotional context to choose wisely
The graph above shows that following the crowd or acting like a sheep, leads to bad decisions. The market economy is as simple as that:
The fact that everybody thinks the same as you does not mean you are right. This reasoning is at the opposite of the way to go with booking travels at the moment:
- Smart investors know they should not let external factors influence them to get a good yield / performance over time
- Smart buyers know they will get better prices on products:
- If they buy their winter clothes in February / March, and August / September for summer clothes.
- When the market is emptied from customers and the merchants are packing after noon, rather than during the rush hours at 11 a.m.
- When retailers discount garden furniture and accessories at the end of summer and not in April.
- So smart travelers know they should book their trip to Japan, not when touristic travels reopen, but precisely when the world is affected by the pandemic, how cynical it may be.
Despite the closure of Japanese borders, we have listed the two main reasons that make 2020 the best moment to not only prepare a travel in Japan, but to place bookings as well.
Moreover Japan is not under the state of emergency anymore (except Okinawa) since the end of May, and that all touristic attractions have reopened between May and July, including amusement parks (except for Ghibli Museum whose total reopening is scheduled in September).
Prices at the Lowest on the Touristic Market
The prices of touristic services are currently not expensive, due to 2 circumstantial reasons:
- As we explained above, very few customers place reservations now, so when the demand drops, prices drop as well.
- The Yen exchange rate is favorable for travelers from USD zone and stable: with 1 USD you could get ¥107 in early May, and ¥106 in late August.
Borders Closure has Directly Impacted Prices
Most of tourism and travel industry-related companies are eager to resume operation and look for any sign of upturn in demand. That is the case with airlines, who have been reluctant over the past 6 months to refund canceled flights. The one who will buy a flight ✈️ ticket now will consequently be more than welcome!
The same reasoning applies to accommodation: most of hotels in Japan 🏨 are currently empty. Their managers have rather accept booking rooms now, even at rates lower than usual, to ensure liquidity and reassure their shareholders on the long term.
It is the same for all the hospitality industry and tourism related services, especially as it is possible to book a large part of a trip in Japan up to one year before, and sometimes earlier.
Find a Flexible and Rational Travel Agency
The times are naturally tough for a great number of companies in the tourism industry, and the longer the crisis will last, the more bankruptcy risks are looming. To compensate, some travel agencies had to lay off part of their staff, close their physical reception and even to raise their prices. For obvious reasons, we do not recommend the latter type of agencies.
Others (for example Keikaku) lay low and had enough liquidity to endure a crisis, and still welcome clients who want to prepare their future travels in Japan. Experts travel counsellors, who have worked to postpone all travels since late March, are available to discuss about traveling in Japan, plan your next programs and secure your bookings with a travel contract.
If you are planning a trip in Japan in 2021 and even 2022, it is wise to prepare now as travel agencies teams have more time at hand than usual to organize your stay and have a roundup of your wishes. For example, private English-speaking guides, who had no activities for several months, can allow you several hours to exchange by e-mail or videoconferencing.
It does not mean that you can negotiate the prices of all services (for example, no price change for JR Pass or Pocket Wi-Fi), but rather that you are in a better position to obtain more flexibility on all-inclusive stays, such as the possibility to postpone the trip without additional fees.
Don’t Miss the Opportunity
When Japan borders reopening will be near, many travelers might regret to have procrastinated the organization of their trip. But after reopening, it will probably be too late to find good deals, especially as Japan is best enjoyed when booking in advance.
Bear in mind that:
- When a vaccine will be available (~200 are under development, and about thirty are on their final testing phase on human);
- When the Japanese government will announce the reopening of the borders;
- When we will be tired of waiting and frustrated not to be able to travel freely;
- When all Japan amateurs will book their trip...
...tourism professionals will be busy and will raise their prices!
So, let's no miss the chance to turn the situation to your advantage!