Japan Olympics 2020
I had a fun travel request this past weekend and I thought I should share it in case other people have the same idea. A women contacted me through the contact form on my website which gives me a basic idea of their travel needs. The travel request was for Japan for her family of 4 and it was during the Summer Olympics of 2020. That was exciting for me since I am a Master Japan specialist but the Olympics portion worried me a bit because I know how expensive it can be to attend big sporting events. Also, Japan is not the cheapest place to travel to begin with so I started doing some research before I jumped on the phone with her.
I knew that budget could be an issue since she didn't answer that question on my contact form. I decided to do some research to find out the approximate cost before talking on the phone with her. If my estimate was around what she was expecting, then fantastic! However, what happens to a lot of people when they send in a travel request during a high demand period (like travel over the Christmas holiday or a huge sporting event like the Olympics) is that they get a bit of sticker shock when they find out the actual cost. I wanted to make sure this wasn't going to be an issue before we started working together.
Well, I did my quick research and found out that there are very few vendors who even handle travel accommodations for the Olympics. The National Olympic Committee decides who the vendors will be to sell the accommodations and even fewer of these vendors are allowed to sell the event tickets to the games. There were two vendors that I found that have sold Olympics tickets in the past so they are likely to be selected again. They both had packages available on their website and only one of these two vendors will be allowed to sell the tickets with their accommodation packages.
Vendor "A" who cannot sell the Olympic event tickets had 6-night packages listed on their website which start at over $8500 per person based on double occupancy! This package only includes the 4* hotel accommodations, airport transfers, daily breakfast, personal meet & greet service, full in-destination bi-lingual support, and all taxes and fees. This does NOT include international airfare, pre- or post-Olympic travel, Olympic event tickets, tours, private guides, etc.
Vendor "B" who can include the Olympic tickets (when they become available) have 4-night packages starting at over $5000 per person based on double occupancy! Their packages include 4* hotel accommodations, daily breakfast, priority access to Olympic event tickets, hospitality pass (food, beverage, entertainment for one night), one sightseeing tour, concierge support while in Japan, and all taxes and fees. It does NOT include international airfare, pre- or post-Olympic travel, Olympic event tickets, other tours, airport transfers, etc.
My general estimate of a trip for the remaining 8-10 nights for a family of 4 would be about $10,000 and that includes airport transfers, 4* hotel accommodations, rail passes, private guides, tours, day trips, daily breakfast and more. I could find some great airfare deals but considering the popularity of the Olympics, I don't anticipate that any great deals will be found. My estimate would be about $5-6,000 for non-stop flights from Seattle to Tokyo but it is hard to predict since you can't even get flight information until about 11 months before you depart.
Did I throw enough numbers at you? That was my long winded way of saying that this family of 4 will need a budget of $35,000 to $50,000 for a 14-night trip. This includes almost everything but the Olympic event tickets. That is a pretty big budget to swallow. Even if it was just two people for the 6-night package, I would say you would need at least a $25,000 budget!
I know this client needs some time to mull these numbers over and I hope we can scale it back to something they are comfortable with. If they can live without the Olympic portion of the trip, it would help out a lot since it costs about 5x the normal price. I think the pricing before the Olympics will still be a little elevated but it would certainly be a much more reasonable price range for many people. I love planning trips to Japan so I hope it will all work out!