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Procrastinators Rejoice! Skyscanner Reveals the Best Time to Book Holiday Travel…and It’s Later Than You Think

August 11, 2016 OTA News No Comments Print Print Email Email

Skyscanner, the global travel search engine, announces today its highly anticipated best time to book predictions for the year, and it’s all about last minute travel. The results, based on historical data compiled from Skyscanner’s more than 50 million users, show that the highest savings are available no more than four weeks prior to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, with potential savings even available to those booking flights the very same week.

“Americans left a record-breaking 658 million unused vacation days on the table last year alone, and we are committed to making travel more attainable, especially around the holidays,” said Randi Wolfson, Head of Communications for the Americas, Skyscanner. “We prepare this data in the hopes of helping travelers see that holiday travel is something they can budget for and plan with ease so they can spend their well-earned time off with loved ones.”

Skyscanner analyzed collated, historical data on users’ booking and travel habits during the peak dates of travel for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Based on findings from 2015, Skyscanner compiled the results for the best time to book travel for possible savings, around each of the major holidays coming up this year:

  • Thanksgiving: Skyscanner found that October has the best opportunities for savings, with the week of October 17 offering savings of 5.10 percent and a mere four weeks out, the week of October 31, offering the highest potential savings of 7.7 percent. Last minute bookers will also be in luck and could find 1.98 percent in savings the week of Thanksgiving.
  • Christmas: Historical data indicates that Thanksgiving week (November 21) will be a prime time for the best deals, offerings possible savings of 6.41 percent, as well as the week of December 5 with savings of 4.93 percent. After Thanksgiving will also be a peak window for booking, with savings of 2.17 percent the week of November 28.
  • New Year’s: While travelers could score the highest savings of 10.57 percent the week of December 5, the holiday looks to favor last minute decision-makers with 6.72 percent of savings one week before and 6.67 percent of savings two weeks out.

Perhaps even more revealing is the fact that travelers already have quite a propensity towards procrastination when it comes to booking holiday travel. Skyscanner carried out a survey on Twitter and the results speak for themselves; while 44 percent shared that their plans are made six months to one year in advance, and 17 percent between three to five months out, 39 percent of respondents said they prefer to book their travel four to six weeks ahead.

Since the end-of-year holidays are a peak travel season, Skyscanner’s creative and unique algorithms offer tools to facilitate the booking process and help travelers expand their search criteria and consider different flight options for any time of year.

  • Accessibility: For travelers without a specific destination in mind, Skyscanner’s Everywhere search tool shows top flight deals for domestic and international destinations.
  • Affordability: Setting up price alerts allows travelers to track the cost of travel to a specific destination or a particular route and receive notifications when the price drops.
  • Connectivity: Skyscanner data shows that self-connections are on the rise, with the average percentage of users choosing to build their own itineraries over taking a flight route with a single carrier.
  • Flexibility: Flying at less popular hours of the day and in or out of nearby airports can help lower costs, but so can adjusting travel dates. Skyscanner offers a Show Whole Month search tool so users can glance at the entire month to determine the best dates by price.

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