Four charts on the cost of booking last minute travel
The amount of data available to travel managers is increasing. They just need to know how to best use those numbers to help them make the best choices for their travelers and businesses.
Hannah Sampson, Skift
When it comes to making travel plans – and especially booking flights – the early birds often get the good deals. But business travelers don’t always know months or even weeks in advance that they will need to fly.
âBusiness travel is obviously much more geared towards shorter booking windows than leisure travel,â said Tim MacDonald, executive vice president of travel for Concur, the travel and expense management company. âIn many cases this is quite unavoidable because meetings are held at the last minute, deals have to be made and so on.
Concur wanted to know how these shorter booking windows could hurt corporate travel budgets. So the company looked at the transactions it processed between 2011 and 2015 for 22 million domestic airline round-trip bookings in the United States.
the To analyse found that booking eight days or more in advance offered the best deal if travelers needed to secure a (relatively) last-minute flight. The cost of booking a flight in the week before the trip was at least 44% higher than the same trip if it was booked 15 days or more in advance. Booking eight days or more in advance results in prices 22% higher than tickets purchased 15 days or more in advance.
The researchers found that by booking at least eight days in advance, travelers could save their business an average of $ 148 per ticket.
And while an average of $ 148 might not seem like a huge amount, MacDonald said last-minute flights could be 30-40% more expensive, which, when applied to millions of dollars in annual expenses of air travel, “becomes really important”.
Here are four highlights of the findings:
Almost a quarter of travelers book flights within a week of departure
While part of this is inevitable, MacDonald recommends that travel managers let their employees know that booking early saves money and even makes it a policy to book flights early whenever possible.
âA lot of times it just stems from a lack of awareness among your traveler base, your employee base, that the wait can cost the company a lot of money,â MacDonald said.
Prices jump at the bar of a week
Booking an airplane trip 15 days or more in advance is ideal, with an average plane ticket of $ 404 in this window. But if something happens closer to the travel date, Concur says eight days in advance is much better than seven. Average prices drop from $ 493 between 8-14 days in advance to $ 575 at seven days. in advance.
Some months are cheaper than others for last minute bookings
Travelers who need to book last minute trips in January and August will pay the highest premiums for late bookings. Booking near the June departure date causes fewer financial problems, but there’s a catch: even the prices of tickets booked further in advance in June are 9% higher than average airfares for the rest of the year. the year.
Last minute trips could be better directed to smaller airports
Buying plane tickets near the departure date is more expensive at the busier airports. Comparing prices at nearby smaller airports could save travelers money, provided these savings are not offset by the cost of transportation to the final destination.