Holiday TravelFollowing up on MTRiP’s recap of summer mountain travel data, it’s now time to look forward with Bing Travel’s Holiday Travel Forecast for Winter 2010, I’ve pulled out a couple of highlights of interest to resort marketers:

  • Airfares for Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years are slightly down if not even with prices from 2009 and 2008.
  • As airlines have cut capacity and are now filling a larger percentage of seats, fares will start to increase for those who wait.

In addition to these points, Bing offered up a number of tips for “Smart Holiday Travel”:

  • Watch early October for holiday price drops. Since 2006, most Christmas itineraries saw price drops in the first two weeks of October. If you can’t book that early, there will likely be more deals. Bing Travel data has found that there are 50 percent more price drops during the holidays than other times of the year. Travelers are advised to set up Bing Travel Fare Alerts, which include price predictor, or subscribe to the Bing Travel RSS feed to help you catch elusive deals.
  • Be flexible. Travelers can save big by avoiding the busiest travel days during both Thanksgiving and Christmas. For example, you can save more money by shifting your outbound travel date for Christmas. More specifically, avoiding the popular Wednesday or Thursday before Christmas departure days can save approximately $15 to $70 per ticket. Use the Bing Travel Flexible Travelgraph to help determine the best time for you to travel.
  • Use available tools. Most airfare price drops last less than 48 hours, so travelers need to be ready to jump when a fare falls. Travelers with specific travel dates in mind and for whom flexibility isn’t an option are advised to set Bing Travel Fare Alerts that will notify them if the fares for their trips drop, allowing them to catch the best fares.
  • Avoid travel surcharges. Many airlines have imposed holiday surcharges. Making airfare and hotel purchases in the fall as opposed to waiting until closer to the holidays is the best tactic to avoid these charges. In addition, many airlines charge extra fees for a variety of things, from checking baggage, having overweight baggage, receiving pillows or meals, and getting aisle or exit row seats. Make sure to be well informed about your airlines’ fees.
Photo credit: Flickr user bortescristian