Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), in collaboration with Expedia Group today released its fifth annual comprehensive study of worldwide air travel trends: 2019 Travel Pricing Outlook. Analyzing data from ARC’s global database of over 2 billion flight segments, ARC and Expedia Group analyzed air ticket purchase trends for the world’s most popular domestic and international routes. The study also focused on money-saving strategies for booking hotels.
Key findings this year show that purchase timing and trip longevity can influence the cost of an air ticket or hotel room. The research also suggests that common beliefs about ticket cost vs. route structure may not be true in all cases and that travelers should consider other factors, such as travel stress and schedules, before booking. Some significant study findings suggest that::
1. .Booking flights three weeks in advance, on the weekend — particularly Sunday — and beginning travel on a Thursday or Friday have the lowest average ticket prices.
2. Direct flights are not always more expensive. Lots of factors come into play when airlines set fares, so the time to connect and other convenience factors need to be considered.
3. Extending a mid-week trip to include a Saturday night stay can save up to 25 percent on airfares, and sometimes more for popular business destinations.
4. It pays to choose carefully when considering purchasing a basic economy airline ticket. While travelers may initially save money by booking basic economy, adding ancillaries such as advanced seat selection or checked bags can often result in a ticket cost that exceeds an economy fare.
5. Booking hotel rooms on Friday provides the best chance for the lowest average daily rate.
The report analyzed influences on airfare pricing to help inform the decisions that keep travelers awake at night. “Research tells us that travelers often make up to 50 searches before deciding on a flight,” said Greg Schulze, Expedia Group’s senior vice president, commercial strategy and services.
Chuck Thackston, managing director of data science at ARC notes that for around three-quarters of trips, quantifiable savings can be realized by travelers who extend their weekday trip to include a Saturday night stay. “The savings opportunities by extending mid-week travel over a weekend is a new and valuable finding for travelers. The industry has talked about ‘bleisure’ travel for a while, and we have been able to quantify the real savings for travelers around this concept. It’s something that people who love to travel should start to incorporate into their plans,” he said.