Data from Travel Company Hipmunk Reveals When to Buy to Maximize Savings
SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 16, 2014) — Christmas is still months away, but to get the best deals, now is the time to think about Christmas travel. Hipmunk evaluated historical travel data and found that a fast and easy way to save nearly $150 on Christmas travel is to book airfare in October, but make hotel reservations in December.
Hipmunk found that Christmas flight rates increase rapidly the longer travelers wait to book. On average, early birds who booked in October spent $430 while those who booked in December spent $508—a difference of almost $80. Of all October bookers, those who purchased tickets during the first week of the month got the best deal. They spent an average of $398, which is $110 less than the average spent by latecomers in December.
“Travelers often think the earlier they buy airfare, the more they’ll save,” said Chris Slowe, chief data scientist at Hipmunk. “But our historical flight data consistently tells us that buying flights too early can be as bad as buying too late. The key is to know when prices will begin to steadily rise and then buy before that threshold.”
But for hotels, it’s the opposite. Hotel prices tend to decrease as the holiday approaches. Last year, travelers who booked from August through October spent about $200 per night. Latecomers who waited to reserve their hotels in December saved $60 per night by securing an average room rate of $145.