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6 Months Advance Japan Hotel Bookings 2019/2/9 20:54
Hi All,

At the moment, I'm currently planning my hotel bookings for December/Jan for my last trip to Japan. I've always been aware of a 6 month booking window - which means that many hotels do not make rooms available until roughly 6 months before the travel date.

Does anyone know the story or idea around why this is so common in Japan? This is more ignorance on my part and it's not a complaint. It's inspired after looking for accom in Kobe and Arima Onsen in late December which is expensive and limited in hotels available until the 6 month travel window...
by mfedley  

Re: 6 Months Advance Japan Hotel Bookings 2019/2/10 09:14
Reasons I can think of against accepting online reservations a long time in advance:
- it increases the troubles caused by unforeseen events and makes the hotel less flexible to react
- it increases the efforts of maintaining reservation data
- there is probably little demand, i.e. not many people make reservations that far in advance

I can also imagine that some hotels will accept longer term reservations by phone, but not online because online reservations are more prone to cancellations and no-shows especially when foreigners are involved.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Months Advance Japan Hotel Bookings 2019/2/10 09:48
Some places only work on three months, and some still don't have on-line booking systems either (phone or fax bookings only). Having seen the paper based system some ryokan use, I think historically it was an administration issue coupled with a history of free cancellation.
As I do my bookings and see the changes over the years, I have observed (anecdotally) that free-cancellations are reducing, cancellation notice periods are getting longer, the difference between non-refundable rates and free-cancellation rates are becoming wider.
I do also, however, see more hotels taking bookings six-months in advance, and places happy to take longer dated bookings by phone. In one case, on-line booking was available up to the end of March (a three month window), but we booked by phone for October. The reason given - they were jet to set their prices for the next financial year. (I don't know what the price is yet.)

Also remember, the internet is still quite new while some of the hotels have been around a while (Hoshi Ryokan was established in 718 and has been operated by 46 generations of the same family. )
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Months Advance Japan Hotel Bookings 2019/2/11 13:56
Thanks for the info. The comment on some hotels using paper bookings is also something I have seen in some ryokans and minshikus was also to the point.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Months Advance Japan Hotel Bookings 2019/2/12 08:46
Even today flight bookings are limited to something like 11 months or 350 days in advance with many airlines - I can book hotels further out than a flight.
Just thinking about this again and what things used to be like in the old days, I was remembering what my parents used to do when arranging holidays. I recall they used the local Automobile Association Travel Agent service who physically wrote letters to motels/hotels to get booking confirmations when doing things well in advance. Phone calls were too expensive back then (40 years ago). And, a lot of people would just turn up without bookings when travelling.
A changing world.


by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

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