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Low Season Rates for Maui Car Rental - May 2024

April 28, 2024 - For the month of May, Maui car rental rates are expected to stay at or near their low point for the year. A bump in rates is expected at the end of the month, in the days leading up to the Memorial Day holiday. Low season rates return in June.

ANNUAL RATE SCHEDULE FOR MAUI CAR RENTAL

Our competitive research has uncovered the master rate schedule that car rental companies use for planning their rates throughout the year. These rates are based on seasonal patterns that repeat over the years. 

The annual plan includes five rate periods:
- Low season rates.
- High season rates.
- Holiday rates.
- X-mas rates - the highest for the year

These rate periods are illustrated in the chart that accompanies this blog, with rates and dates published for the 2020 calendar year, published in December of 2019. Of course this plan was thrown into disarray by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CHEAPEST MAUI CAR RENTALS

In summary, absent any unexpected events, cheap Maui car rental rates can be expected during these low season periods:
- January after the end of the holiday week, until travel resumes in February.
- April-May-June, from Easter to Independence day.
- August-September.

If you book a car during one of these periods you are assured of getting a cheaper Maui car rental compared to other periods.  

DYNAMIC PRICING FOR MAUI CAR RENTAL

The rate plan is not the only factor that accounts for Maui car rental rate variations. Car rental companies use sophisticated computer-driven strategies called "Dynamic Pricing" that cause more variation in rates over the course of the year. 

Dynamic pricing means that a computer algorithm constantly monitors the level of rental car supply and demand, and makes adjustments to the base rates in the plan. As a result, actual rates offered for the same rental dates can vary from day to day or even hour by hour. As a given date approaches, if booking levels are below plan, the rate is lowered in order to attract more bookings. On the other hand, if booking levels are ahead of plan, then the rates are ratcheted up. 

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO BOOK YOUR MAUI CAR RENTAL? 

So when is the best time to book your rental? If you want to get the cheapest price on your Maui car rental is it better to book far in advance of your travel dates, or should you wait until the date gets closer? 

We've done very detailed research, over the course of several years regarding this question. We'll return to answer the question in detail in another blog post. But in summary, for all but the Holiday periods, it is safe to say that you will get a better rate if you wait until the last minute to book. Why? Maui car rental companies have to maintain enough inventory to at least partially meet demand during the dates of peak periods. Outside of those dates, at least part of the inventory sits idle. As the date approaches, the rental rate is lowered in order to capture bookings from last minute shoppers.

WHAT ELSE CAN MAKE MAUI CAR RENTAL RATES GO HIGHER OR LOWER? 

External events that disrupt the expected patterns of supply and demand can cause even bigger deviations from the planned rate schedule. Some examples:
1. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a collapse of rates in 2020.
2. The resumption of travel in spring and summer of 2021 caught rental car operators flat-footed with reduced fleet sizes. Rates went sky-high.
3. After the Lahaina wildfires of August 2023, Maui car rental rates collapsed. The fall and X-mas seasons for Maui car rental were wiped out, and rates were at historic lows.

CHEAPEST CAR RENTAL FROM MAUI'S KAHULUI AIRPORT (OGG)

On Sunday April 28, these were the lowest advertised rates for a one-week car rental from Maui's Kahului Airport (OGG), beginning on Monday, April 29:
Off-airport (with shuttle): $187.63 (down $10).
Airport Rentacar Center: $277.06 (down $22).
Source: Rentalcars.com

See the chart in the illustration.

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