The 2019 Travel Pricing Outlook report, drawing on an analysis of the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) global air and Expedia Group’s lodging-trend data, reveals timing matters when it comes to unlocking travel savings.
A checklist of ways to save on travel is timely, given ARC’s analysis of airfare pricing trends for the world’s most popular domestic and international routes, which found average ticket prices (ATP) rose around five per cent in 2018. If this trend continues, now may the best time to book 2019 travel.
Overall inbound travel to Thailand increased by more than 10 per cent (from 7,067,955 to 7,836,846) with Hong Kong travellers contributing close to 11 per cent of the overall figure and Singapore and US travellers in second and third place, respectively.
Time-based travel savings tips for Thai travellers as produced by the report include booking three weeks in advance, waiting until the weekend to book flights to unlock fare savings – the best day of the week to book is Sunday to enjoy savings up to 20 per cent. The most expensive day of the week to book your flight is on a Friday, with prices more than five per cent up, but the best day of the week to travel is Friday with savings close to 5 per cent while Sunday is the most expensive day to travel with prices more than 5 per cent.
Friday is also the day when the best hotel deals are snapped up. Unlike airfares, the most expensive day to book a hotel is generally on a Sunday. Another tip is adding a Saturday night to your mid-week trip to save more on airfares inbound to Thailand.
Chuck Thackston, Managing Director of Data Science at ARC says that for around three-quarters of trips, quantifiable savings can be accessed by travellers who extend their weekday trip to include a Saturday night stay.
“The savings opportunities quantified by extending mid-week travel over a weekend is a new and valuable finding for travellers. The industry has talked about ‘bleisure’ for a while now, but we have been able to actually quantify real savings for travellers around this concept. It's something that people who love travel should really start to incorporate into their travel plans,” he says.
James Marshall of Expedia Group explained: “Finding patterns in data is at the core of what we do. Our algorithms use data science to analyse approximately 19 quadrillion potential flight itineraries and filter them to display the most relevant options for each journey. When it comes to saving on flights, booking early and taking advantage of the other unique ways to save on Expedia, will help people go places for less.”
While travellers might save money by booking a basic fare such as a fare with seat-only, no bag and potentially other limitations, it pays to choose carefully. If bags are added to a basic fare, the total cost of travel almost always exceeds that of other economy fares where checked bags are included in the cost of the ticket.
Choosing between flights-with- and without-stops is also the factor in airfare price.
“We took a deep-dive into direct versus connecting flights to myth-bust the idea that direct flights are always more expensive. Bottom line: They aren’t. Lots of factors come into play when airlines set fares, so the time to connect and other convenience factors need to be considered when making your decision on the best flight for your trip,” says Thackston.
And should travellers delay booking a trip if oil prices rise? The short answer is no. When oil and/or airline fuel prices jump, travellers need not delay booking a trip based on the assumption that airfares will immediately rise. Comparing commodity price and ATP trends over many years shows the days and weeks after a commodity price jump may actually be the most cost-effective window to book flights, as any effect that fluctuation may have on ATPs is more likely to appear over a longer time period.