ARC and Expedia Group Release 2019 Travel Outlook Study

Close-up view on conceptual keyboard with the key 'travel' in red
ARC and Expedia Group Release 2019 Travel Outlook Study

Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and Expedia Group have collaborated for the fifth consecutive year to review global travel pricing trends. This 2019 Travel Pricing Outlook report includes airfare and, for the first time, lodging savings tips.

Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), in collaboration with Expedia Group today released its fifth annual comprehensive study of worldwide air travel trends: 2019 Travel Pricing Outlook. Analyzing data from ARC's global database of over 2 billion flight segments, ARC and Expedia Group analyzed air ticket purchase trends for the world’s most popular domestic and international routes. This year’s report also includes money-saving strategies for booking hotels.

The study’s key finding indicates that purchase timing and trip longevity can influence the cost of an air ticket or hotel room. The research also suggests that common beliefs about ticket cost vs. route structure may not be true in all cases and that travelers should consider other factors like travel stress and schedules before booking. Some significant study findings suggest that:

  1. Booking flights three weeks in advance, on the weekend — particularly Sunday — and beginning travel on a Thursday or Friday have the lowest average ticket prices.
  2. Direct flights are not always more expensive. Lots of factors come into play when airlines set fares, so the time to connect and other convenience factors need to be considered.
  3. Extending a mid-week trip to include a Saturday night stay can save up to 25 percent on airfares, and sometimes more for popular business destinations.
  4. It pays to choose carefully when considering purchasing a basic economy airline ticket. While travelers may initially save money by booking basic economy, adding ancillaries such as advanced seat selection or checked bags can often result in a ticket cost that exceeds an economy fare.
  5. Booking hotel rooms on Friday provides the best chance for the lowest average daily rate.

The complete study is available free online here.

Chuck Thackston, managing director of data science at ARC says that for around three-quarters of trips, quantifiable savings can be realized by travelers who extend their weekday trip to include a Saturday night stay. “The savings opportunities by extending mid-week travel over a weekend is a new and valuable finding for travelers. The industry has talked about ‘bleisure’ travel for a while, and we have been able to quantify the real savings for travelers around this concept. It's something that people who love to travel should start to incorporate into their plans,” said Thackston.

The report also analyzed influences on airfare pricing to help inform the decisions that keep travelers awake at night. Greg Schulze, Expedia Group’s senior vice president, commercial strategy and services explained that many people find it incredibly difficult and time-consuming to make travel decisions: “Research tells us that travelers often make up to 50 searches before deciding on a flight. Our analysis of more than 50 billion flight searches can help all travelers in the hunt for the right flight at the right price,” Schulze said.