Long-Standing Online Travel Booking ‘Hacks’ Put to the Test

News provided by Globe Newswire/Skyscanner

– With summer travel on the horizon, Skyscanner.ca demystifies common cost-saving tricks and myths –

ORONTO, April 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Everyone looks forward to going on a vacation, but the reality is that the perfect getaway can be costly. According to a study commissioned by online travel company Skyscanner.ca, 85 per cent of vacation-planning Canadians state they use ‘hacks’ or tricks to uncover the best possible deal but only 41 per cent of those who recently travelled still do not think or know if they actually paid the best possible price.

With 80 per cent of those surveyed believing there are tricks or hacks to help them book cheaper travel, Skyscanner, a free and unbiased meta-search engine used by over 80 million travellers worldwide, puts popular travel hacks to the test to shed light on whether any hold any merit in saving travellers money. 

“As a data-first company founded on the premise of giving travellers the most cost-effective and streamlined travel booking experience, we wanted to help travellers even further by looking into travel booking strategies people believe impact the cost of travel,” says Marissa Hills, Market Growth Lead at Skyscanner. “By comparing common booking hacks to actual booking data, Canadians can finally know definitively whether their hacking efforts used when booking travel online are indeed saving them money – or whether they’re wasting their efforts.”

Hack #1 – Timing really is everything

One of the most popular strategies Canadians believe saves money on travel bookings is to wait for specific days or times. According to data from Skyscanner, there is in fact merit in this long-held belief with the average airfares cheapest on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “Conversely, bookings made on Saturdays and Sundays see average fares increase by approximately $20* extra per ticket. As for the best time of day to book, 4:00 a.m. proved to be the optimal time to save money as holding off on making the same reservation six hours later at 10:00 a.m. saw prices climb by about $50* per ticket.

Myth #2 – Forget Spontaneity

When it comes to travel, does it pay off to be a planner? According to Skyscanner, the merit of this hack – looking far in advance – largely depends on the destination.

Booking an international flight from Canada 22 days before the departure date will give you, on average, the lowest ticket price*. For those who think booking right before a desired departure date will mean costs saving should think again. Booking a flight the day of or a day before the departure date is the most expensive option that will hike the airfare price by hundreds of dollars. For domestic hauls, booking 50 days out is the ideal lead-time to get the cheapest airfare.

Myth #3 – Cookies Are Costly

Have you ever researched the price of a flight only to find that when you revisited the site at a later date, the fare had increased? It’s possible that cookies are to blame. Over a quarter (29 per cent) of Canadians believe that one’s browsing history, also known as ‘cookies’, can impact the price of travel when booking. Consumers can also choose to use online travel search engines that don’t share cookies with travel partners, but rather only use the search data to personalize deals and offer users enhanced services. According to Hills, “Skyscanner does not set any prices ourselves so it’s not possible for us to influence prices appearing on the site in any way, nor will a user’s cookies affect the choice of prices they are shown.”

Myth #4 – Using Third-Party Sites Means Higher Prices

When it comes to booking travel, 34 per cent of Canadians surveyed describe themselves as a ‘bargain-hunter’ and half believe that booking directly with the airline affects the cost of travel. But depending on the booking provider used, going through a “middleman” does not always mean paying higher prices. For travellers without a specific vacation in mind, using third-party sites can actually help them discover destinations that are more price-friendly because they aggregate based on all possible vacation spots, versus limited locations to which the airline travels.

Myth #5 – Finding the Best Deal Requires Legwork

Though 59 per cent of Canadians surveyed believe using multiple websites can affect the price of travel when booking online, searching through hundreds of sites doesn’t require long hours in front of a screen. Meta search sites – those that aggregate information from multiple sources to produce its own search results – offers the convenience of scanning hundreds of deals with only a few clicks. On Skyscanner, would-be travellers can search not just airlines, hotels or car rental companies, but also online travel agencies. When ready to book, customers are directed through to the online travel agency, airline, hotel or car rental company to book with them. 

“No other company can offer such comprehensive global coverage to give customers confidence that they can find the travel option they want wherever they are travelling – whether this is for flights, hotels and car rentals, said Hills. At Skyscanner, we couple this global coverage with a dedicated focus on bringing consumers locally tailored products for the best possible travel booking experience.”

Study Methodology

The study, commissioned by online travel company Skyscanner and conducted by research firm Maru/Blue, surveyed 1,510 Canadian leisure travellers from across the country about their travelling habits and preferences including travel booking and planning. The study was conducted using an online questionnaire that was fielded from October 11 to 15, 2018. All respondents are members of the Maru Voice online panel.

* Travel data, including average travel prices provided by Skyscanner, based on 2018 fares to key domestic and international destinations.