When’s the right time to book that flight or hotel room? Travelers can save significant sums on plane tickets and accommodation, if they schedule their itineraries and bookings right.
Flights and accommodation in the Asia-Pacific may cost less if booked on certain days, according to a 2019 pricing outlook report by travel companies Expedia Group and Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC).
The report derived average air ticket prices for flight-booking days and departure days from data on over 295 million passenger trips from October 2017 to September 2018. Accommodation data was taken from 19 booking sites with over 895,000 properties worldwide.
The data was based on standard average prices, excluding prices after discounts or promotions.
Five key booking tips
1. Book flights at least three weeks ahead of travel
Booking flights early will help maximise savings, according to ARC’s flight data. Average ticket prices for popular domestic and international routes rose by about 5 per cent from 2017 to 2018.
For most parts of the world, booking flights in economy or premium cabins at least three weeks ahead of the travel date is the “sweet spot”, the report said.
2. Book flights on Sunday
By booking flights on a Sunday, Asia-Pacific travellers can save up to 32 per cent on economy fares, and up to 52 per cent on premium fares.
Singaporean travellers booking flights on a Sunday can save up to 18 per cent on economy class, and up to 52 per cent on premium class, said Expedia in response to TODAY’s queries.
Meanwhile, the most expensive tickets tend to be booked on Thursdays and Fridays.
3. Book hotels on Friday
Comparing average daily rates across different reservation days for over 895,000 properties, data analysts found that prices were lowest for bookings made on Fridays.
Unlike airfares, it is generally more expensive to book hotels on Sundays.
4. Time your departure flight for Thursday or Friday
Global trends from ARC’s database showed that Asia-Pacific travellers who depart on a Thursday or Friday can save up to 16 per cent on economy fares, and 27 per cent on premium class.
For example, Singaporeans who choose a flight on a Thursday can save up to 16 per cent on economy class, and 19 per cent on premium.
Journeys starting on Sundays usually have the highest prices.
5. Extend short weekday-only trips to include a Saturday night stay
Longer stays that include a Saturday night stay may also reap savings for travellers on the total cost of flights, the report said.
When comparing the average flight cost for weekday-only trips against those that included a Saturday night stay, analysts found that Asia-Pacific travellers could save up to 34 per cent on flights.
More decision-making tips
Direct flights may not necessarily cost more than those with stops — some direct flights cost less due to newly added routes or low-travel seasons.
Oil-price fluctuations do not affect average air ticket prices in the short term — the effects of such fluctuations are more likely to appear over a longer period of time, and travellers need not delay booking a trip based on the assumption that airfares will immediately rise, the report also noted.
Flight delays do also happen but this does not mean you must accept this. According to AirAdvisor, if your flight is cancelled by the airline at short notice, delayed by 3 hours or more, or you’re denied boarding an airplane without your fault, you are entitled to a compensation of up to $700.
Key driver of air travel demand
Across the globe, the number of foreign arrivals increased by 7 per cent between 2017 and 2018, with Asia-Pacific remaining a key driver of air travel demand, the Expedia-ARC report said.
From October 2017 to September 2018, the Asia-Pacific region registered the biggest jump in inbound air traffic at 15 per cent, significantly higher than the global growth of 7 per cent.
At the same time, intra-regional travel has grown exponentially within the Asia-Pacific region. Nine out of 10 flights which recorded the highest year-on-year growth were intra-regional routes originating from Hong Kong and Singapore.
The third-fastest growing route was the Singapore-Seoul route, which grew 14 per cent, following Hong Kong-Fukuoka (38 per cent) and Hong Kong-Tokyo (19 per cent).