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Most travel websites, especially those presenting deals and allowing comparison of different packages, show the price per traveler. Same case for ads on Internet and billboards in cities.

When I want to dig further into a deal, I enter the number of travelers which is 2 by default... as I do not have a companion, I replace the value by 1, causing a price update which make that deal not so much interesting after all. Anyway, this is logical since the hotel room price is no more shared.

Nearly all situation stipulate that price is on a basis of "2 people sharing a double room". When planning solo travel, comparison is difficult.

Why is it the standard to assume that people often travel in pair? Is there any efficient way to compare travel offers for solo travelers? The question also applies for cruise lines.

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I guess because normal people (not nerds) travel in couples usually.. –  user1712 Feb 18 '13 at 9:34
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One advantage over showing 2-share over 1-share is that it makes their prices look cheaper. (Why not show a price of 3-share or 20-share? Well, what's "normal" comes into it...) –  Andrew Grimm Feb 18 '13 at 9:42
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I feel that this question is not answerable. Travel sites do it because they can and it possibly works for them in making a price look more appealing. –  Ankur Banerjee Feb 18 '13 at 9:46
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I believe you mean vacation packages, which are indeed mostly meant for couples. Few people go on vacation all alone. OTOH, for example Booking.com let's you choose criteria (price per single, per double etc.) –  vartec Feb 18 '13 at 10:31
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@Ankur Banerjee - you just gave THE answer. Hence the question is answerable. qed –  PERSONA NON GRATA Feb 18 '13 at 11:51
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Not all of them do. It definitely depends on which site you use, and what style of accommodation you are after.

Generally, people going on holiday often have someone with them - a significant other, so often it's based on 2 people sharing. Especially vacation prices.

However, if you're looking for say, hostels, it's on a per-person basis (eg Hostelbookers).

And if you're looking at hotels for a single person, Booking.com allows you to sort on a per-single-person room for prices, which I've found useful in the past.

Sample booking.com showing for a single person

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There is a small distinction between assuming people travel in pair and showing a price per traveler. I don't think an assumption that people travel in pairs explains why price are displayed in this way because even in this scenario, I like to see the total cost of the booking as soon as possible and I assume many other people do too.

The truth is that in many cases, hotels simply charge per room. Whether you are one, two or sometimes more does not make a big difference. You will sometimes incur a small surcharge for single occupancy or for an extra bed but in any case you are using the whole room.

Pretending there is a price “per person” only allows the site to lower the apparent price of the room in the search results, which can then look particularly good if other sites happen to display a price per room.

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To bring down sticker price to help consumers to commit. Same reason flights used to be advertised before taxes. It also helps to bring down room charges that would be for the room regardless of the number of people (like city foreigner taxes), etc. In Canada they're slowly building legislation to adjust the way people advertise these prices.

There's also the single room supplements. In theory if a room has two people in it, the incidentals that would be charged to the room would be x2 (say they both have a diet coke). In a single room the hotel only has one chance to sell that product, thus decreasing their potential revenue on incidentals by half. Ergo, they want a slight supplement for their hassle. I know...poor hotel industry, right?

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I think this is because you are using vacation booking sites, which make the basic assumption that you are part of a couple, as that is the most common scenario. It annoys me a bit too, as having three children makes the default 2+2 not suit my needs.

Using business travel booking sites the assumption is always one person, as this is the most common when traveling or staying on business.

At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter as you will always be able to change from the default 2 to whatever number you require.

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