“It’s a rip-off!” I hear you cry. “Misleading! Lies! Deception! Single supplements are a con!”
It seems so unfair that a single traveler should pay more than those travelling as a couple, but why does it exist at all?
It’s all about how ski holiday companies offer their holidays and how this market works.
Companies selling holidays typically have a headline price of 1234€ (not a real price, obviously) per person. In the small print, sometimes not so small but often missed, it says: “based on two persons sharing”. In other words, if you are on your own, get ready to be royally gouged.
The room price is therefore twice what is advertised, not the reasonable looking 1234€ but actually 2 x 1234€, a massive 2468€ for exactly the same room. Why?
Holiday price structure
That’s because the companies selling holidays are buying their accommodation from a hotel; they don’t own the hotel and nearly all hotel rooms are for 2 persons.
I am just going to use the word “hotel” here, but this includes B&Bs, guesthouses and most other kinds of accommodation apart from dormitory style sleeping arrangements.
From the single traveler’s point of view, a single supplement looks misleading and unjust.
But hotels sell rooms, not individual beds, and holiday companies buy all the rooms in a hotel for the season. They pay for this before the season begins so they are keen to get their money back as soon as possible. All the costs, cleaning, laundry, heating, lighting, water use and maintenance are based on the room, not each bed. Consequently, the hotel prices are based on the whole room and that is reflected in the ski holiday companies’ prices too.
However, holiday companies know that their prices will look more attractive if they are offered on a per person basis. This has become standard practice in the industry and most people are used to it.
For single holidaymakers though, it’s a problem as the ski holiday industry just isn’t well adapted to their purposes. It makes an already relatively costly holiday even more expensive.
How supplements are costed
You might be wondering how single supplements are costed and, frankly, some of the methods seem arbitrary.
A typical ski holiday is a half-board package, including meals so there is the accommodation and the food in the price. They will not reduce the accommodation part of the price as you are occupying the room anyway, but they should remove the food cost and any personal tourist taxes.
If flights are included, they should reduce the price, typically between 50-150€ depending on the route, but the amount is hugely variable because of the way holiday companies negotiate and buy their flights.
The food cost is always a much smaller part of the price and therefore it looks like you only get a small reduction off the 2-person price or, the way it’s usually presented, a huge supplement, ouch!
No Single Supplements
Big companies are often very bad at flexible pricing; you are probably better off trying a small, owner-operated chalet like Le Château d’Oz.
We don’t charge single supplements at all; you get a 50% reduction if you come on your own and you are in the same sized room too. Contact us directly for more details.
However, you’d be crazy to think you can get this in the school holidays. If you are a single traveler, why on earth would you choose to holiday at this time and why would we be crazy enough to offer it?
Forget trying in February half-term, everyone is booked solid with couples and families and they just don’t need your business.
A bit of strategy will help you get a good deal. January is a quiet time and late season when everyone is winding down is often good. Booking really early is a bad idea in this case, companies are looking to maximize their income to offset the up-front costs of the ski season; to them a single traveler represents a loss on the room. Try booking nearer to the time of your holiday or even for a last minute deal.