As autumn advances and summer holidays come to a close, it’s time to book the years’ remaining holidays and work trips. Whether you’re booking end-of-year incentive trips or flights to snowy conferences, CWT’s Air Trends report takes the surprise out of buying flights this fall.
Average ticket prices (ATPs) increased throughout July and August and are expected to continue to do so in September and October. Prices are forecasted to climb an additional 2 percent month-on-month this fall. This steady increase in ATPs is despite falling fuel prices, which were down approximately 17 percent compared to last year before the recent attack in Saudi Arabia. CWT encourages travel managers to “continue to carefully monitor their air programs and targets, and engage their airline partners for reviews, if required.”
Economy class usage on airplanes is expected to stay relatively stable. With a decrease of just 1 percent in coming months, this change is most likely attributed to the influx that summer brings regarding vacations.
Book in Advance!
The summer holidays that many people in the Western hemisphere enjoyed recently also account for the increase in advance booking usage—those flights that were booked at least two weeks prior to the date of travel. Summer saw advance booking usage at 49 percent, although that number is expected to drop down to ‘normal’ and be at 43 percent through Sept. and Oct. CWT suggests that travel managers encourage clients to always book in advance to get the best prices.
Popular flight comparing tool Skyscanner suggests that airline prices are at their cheapest anywhere between 14 and three weeks before travel. Additionally, travel comparison website Kayak cites that three weeks before travel is the optimum time to buy tickets. The consensus seems to be that advance booking (remember: more than two weeks out) is always a good move. Not only will you and your attendees save money, it will save you unnecessary stress and procrastination.
Online Booking Tools—Here to Help
The last global trend that CWT looked at was the use of online booking tools (OBTs) to book flights. The use of OBTs is expected to continue to increase as technology and user interface improve. The better the experience of booking online, the more travelers will rely on OBTs and the more corporate travel management teams will encourage their travelers to use such tools, according to CWT. The report states that OBT usage is expected to rise by 4 percent from August to 55 percent of bookings being made online by the end of October.
While the September and October CWT report focused on air travel prices and fluctuations, the 2020 Global Travel Forecast delves more broadly into global travel trends, including those around hotels, ground transportation, technology and a ‘people first’ ethos.