The 2019 Travel Pricing Outlook report, drawing on sophistocated anaylsis 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.
 This new report represents the fifth collaboration between the two global travel data powerhouses, Expedia Group and ARC, with report data and analysis based on ARC’s view of more than 295 million passenger air travel trips in 2018, and additional insights based on Expedia Group’s platform view of more flight and global lodging demand. Refer to report for full data sourcing and relevant data notes.
A check list 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 found average ticket prices (ATP) rose around 5% in 2018 (vs. 2017). If this trend continues, now may the best time to book 2019 travel.
Overall inbound travel to Thailand increased by more than 10% (from 7,067,955 to 7,836,846) with Hong Kong travelers contributing close to 11% of the overall figure, with Singapore and US travellers in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.
Time-based travel savings tips for Thai travellers as produced by the report include:
- Book three weeks in advance to your flight date to enjoy the best savings.
- Wait until the weekend to book flights to unlock fare savings. Best day of the week to book is Sunday to enjoy savings up to 20%,
- Most expensive day of the week to book your flight is on a Friday, with prices reaching more than 5%
- Start your flight-journey on Friday to save. Best day of the week to travel is Friday with savings close to 5% while Sunday is the most expensive day to travel with prices more than 5%.
- Fridays are when the best hotel deals are snapped up. Unlike airfares, the most expensive day to book a hotel is generally on a Sunday.
- Add 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 travelers 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 travelers. The industry has talked about bleisure for a while now, but we have been able to actually quantify real savings for travelers around this concept. It’s something that people who love travel should really start to incorporate into their travel plans,” said Mr. Thackston.
James Marshall, Vice President for Transport Partner Services Asia Pacific, Expedia Group explained: “Expedia is constantly looking for ways to improve the experience of booking travel. Finding patterns in data is at the core of what we do. Our algorithms use data science to analyze 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.”
Choosing between basic and other economy cabin fares
While travelers may save money by booking a basic fare (i.e., 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 (i.e., where checked bags are included in the cost of the ticket).
Choosing between flights-with- and without-stops
“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,” said Mr. Thackston.
Should travelers delay booking a trip if oil prices rise?
The short answer is no. When oil and/or airline fuel prices jump, travelers 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.