Getting Cheap Car Rental Rates: AKA One Weird Trick

My friend Carol C. mentioned this on FB

I am mystified by Budget Car Rental’s business strategy. Routinely, if I reserve a car a month in advance, the daily rate is very high (up to $100 a day). However, if I then modify the reservation slightly (e.g., moving the time of pick-up back or forward by half an hour) closer to the day, the cost goes way down. Recent example: $80 a day initial cost, reduced to $36 when I modified. The cost almost never goes up when I modify (and if it does, I simply cancel the modification).

Why on earth would Budget want to discourage early reservations by using a rate that is much higher than they can realistically expect to get with later ones?

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