If you can be flexible about what day you leave, like big cities, willing to go to the beach late in the season and aren’t afraid of hurricanes, you can find a deal this season.
find a great travel deal during peak
business travel season this autumn, my advice would be to go where business
travellers are not going.
are five places you are least likely to find business travellers and most likely to find low prices in coming
Midweek or Saturday
travellers are predictable — they like to fly to work on Sunday evening or
Monday morning, and then fly home on Thursday or Friday. That means bargain
hunters are likely to find the cheapest seats on days with lower demand: Tuesdays,
Wednesdays and Saturdays. They are also more likely to find cheap fares on
midday or late night flights, which business travellers tend to avoid.
Weekends in major
autumn is peak season for meetings and conferences, hotels near large
convention facilities tend to fill up (and raise rates) on weekdays. This means
bargain hunters will most likely find good hotel rates on Fridays, Saturdays
and Sundays at major city hotels. For example, rates at Atlanta’s two W hotels
are $263 per night mid week in October, but on weekends, rates drop to just
$127. Similarly, in Frankfurt, a deluxe king room the posh Villa Kennedy goes
for $302 midweek, but just $210 on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
business travellers focused on work instead of vacation, demand in typical holiday
destinations wanes during autumn, a period known in the travel industry as
“shoulder season”. With a decrease in demand, rates tank, and suppliers are
more likely to toss in extras (upgrades, welcome cocktails, breakfast) to stimulate
business. Best of all, the weather is usually dry and sunny during autumn. But beware:
this is also the time of year many resorts perform scheduled maintenance, which
can be noisy or disconcerting, so be sure to ask about this when making your
booking. For the best deals during shoulder season or other periods of waning
demand, check on opaque or last-minute booking sites such as Hotwire.com or
Priceline.com where suppliers go to dump excess inventory at low rates.
during late winter holidays
business class fares typically run in the $5,000 to $7,000 range during peak
business travel season — far beyond what most bargain hunters are willing to
pay. However, business travellers tend to stay close to home and hearth during
US Thanksgiving and the Christmas/New Year holiday period. When demand slides,
airlines put those big seats at the front of the plane on sale. For example, Lufthansa
recently rolled out a business class sale on flights between
the US and Europe for about $1,700 round trip (including taxes and fees) in
late November/early December. As the holidays draw nearer, I expect other
airlines to offer similar business class deals like they did last year.
is the very best time of year to find deals on cruises for two reasons. First,
kids are back in school, which means less demand from the family travel
segment. Second, fearful that bad weather might ruin their well laid plans,
consumers tend to avoid booking cruises when big storms hit the headlines like Hurricane
Irene did in the US in late August. As a result of the decline in demand, fares
tumble to rock bottom in September, October and November. For example, Disney’s
popular 7-day cruises down Mexico’s west coast from Los Angeles are as low as
$100 per person, per day in October. But the cheapest peak season rates around
Christmas are twice that much at $206 per person. Four-night Caribbean cruises
on the upscale Celebrity line go for as little as $50 per night in September or
October, but during the holidays or spring break, rates more than double to a
minimum of $125 per night. Best of all, fears of hurricanes ruining cruises are
mostly unfound since new ships are fast enough to steer clear of any danger and
the worst that can happen is that your itinerary changes.
Chris McGinnis is the business
travel columnist for BBC Travel