2

This question comes from a doubt that I have when I need to book a flight: do (low-cost) airline companies raise flight prices during the weekend days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) since more people will look to book during these days? For example because they will more likely search for flight fares since their at home not working? I am not referring to the fact that flights during the weekend are more expensive than the other days such this user already asked on this site.

If this is not true for airline can this be true for hotel prices? So is this a myth or not?

  • 2
    Everyone claims there are "better days" to buy airfares based on their experience with one or two airlines, but this is more myth than fact. Airfares and buckets are adjusted route by route and date by date based on how sales are going for that flight on that date. They don't magically reduce fares on Wednesday (one of the most common days claimed to be best for purchase) or other specific days of the week. The same applies for hotels. – user13044 Oct 8 '15 at 10:01
  • 4
    Possible duplicate of Are flights actually cheaper *to book* during the week? – JonathanReez Jul 11 '16 at 21:15
  • 2
    This question wants to know about hotels too while the dupe only asks about flights. Not sure if that's a significant distinction or not. – Zach Lipton Jul 12 '16 at 1:10
5

Its not a myth. Its simply a case of supply and demand and well, economics in general.

If demand increases, and supply remains the same (you can't build hotels quickly) then prices will go up. They do go up.

To give you a simple example of this, I am booking hotels in Amsterdam for a technical conference in November and I am not finding any available rooms, and all room rates are almost double what I paid last year.

This was confusing for me so I called one of the hotels and they informed me that there are two other conferences and a concert going on during the event, which is why rooms rates are different as they only have the premium rooms left.

Even if you were to discount that as something that could be avoided, almost all hotels have at least these different types of rates:

  1. The walk-in rate (most expensive)
  2. The corporate rate
  3. The online rate (at their website)
  4. The online rate (at other sites/resellers/travel agents)
  5. The preferred rate for loyalty card members.
  6. The rate for rooms when booked as part of a business conference.
  7. Seasonal rates (based on travel seasons - ie, Christmas/New Years, etc.)

These are all different prices for the same room.

As a general rule prices go up when:

  1. There is more demand than supply (busy season, weekend, etc.)
  2. The later you reserve (last minute seats, walk-in bookings)

This applies to both airlines and hotels; and other similar hospitality/entertainment/travel industries like amusement parks, concerts, trains, buses etc.


So not booking a weekend but booking on the weekend compared to booking during the week. If that is true it would actually be a very interesting point to consider.

As a general rule it does not matter when you are booking - it matters when the actual booking is, relative to the current time.

So if you were to login on Christmas Day, to do a book for March 1st, you would actually get a cheaper rate than if you were login on April 15th and do a booking for March 1st.

For hotels specifically, it also matters what type of property it is.

You can easily observe this by booking at business hotels (or those that are near airports). These properties will have drastic price differences if you are booking on the weekend or during the week. A booking during the week (for example, checking on Monday checkout on Wednesday) is more expensive then checking in for the weekend - because they are busier on working days than weekends.

Compare it with a resort or family-focused property and you'll see for the same dates and the same class of room, completely different prices.

Online though, there are other things you have to watch out for.

There was a case some years ago from Orbitz that would change prices if you were browsing the site from Apple devices. This article from 2013 at USA Today highlights the details and includes evidence that Delta was doing similar tricks for the pricing search.

I am sure since then practices have become more complicated and there are variable number of points that go into pricing of fares for both flights and hotels (and then, of course when you combine the two with a package).

  • Your answer was very interesting because I didn't know many of the thing related to the different types of rates. Thank you really much! @BurhanKhalid – Aluminum Oct 8 '15 at 7:16
  • 6
    Is this really the answer to the initial question? I thought the question was more concerning the time you do the booking not when you actually are at the hotel. So not booking a weekend but booking on the weekend compared to booking during the week. If that is true it would actually be a very interesting point to consider. – red_tiger Oct 8 '15 at 8:34
  • @red_tiger - your observation is correct, as this did not answer the actual question, but obviously the OP was happy to learn what Burhan wrote. – user13044 Oct 8 '15 at 9:55
  • @red_tiger - you are correct, and I added a bit more context to the answer. Hopefully now it answers the spirit of the question. – Burhan Khalid Oct 8 '15 at 10:31
  • @BurhanKhalid thanks for the update. That clarifies it better for me. I can imagine that with all the data (e.g. cookies) your browser throws about many more ways of offering "tailored" prices exist. But that clearly goes far beyond the OP. – red_tiger Oct 8 '15 at 13:19
2

This answer is not supported by any references. However, I don't think so, for several reasons.

First it isn't obvious a priori that there is a surge in bookings on the weekend.

  1. Time zones exist. Right now in Beijing it's still the work day for another hour, but in Sydney the traditional weekend has already started. Meanwhile in London it's still Friday morning. In poor old Honolulu, it's still Thursday night!

  2. The days of the weekend are different in different countries. In Dubai it has already been the weekend since Thursday evening.

  3. Many people book their flights when they are at work and not at home, because they are travelling on their company business, because they are taking a lunch break, or because they are procrastinating, so it isn't at all obvious that most "research" happens when they are not at work. For instance I am writing this answer right now in the Beijing working day.

  4. People have shift jobs, people take holidays, people go out and party at the weekend instead of searching for flights.

[A counter argument would be, first you can segment by selling country, but actually that's harder than it sounds and quite ineffective; and second, maybe few people in China buy Ryanair flights in the UK, so the time zones are not important.]

Anyone with access to the real revenue data could tell you the answer to this, unfortunately I do not.

However, there is a more subtle problem with this proposal. These days customers tend to compare many flights or hotel options, often over several days, and through automated comparison websites or indeed by hand. That gives them a good idea of the expected market price for their excursion.

I would argue that, even if bookings are "bunched" onto particular days, there is no increase in the real willingness-to-pay. Therefore, and strictly theoretically, assuming you already have optimized the price over the week, an increase in price will act to reduce sales to a degree not offset by the marginal yield.

Furthermore, if you are the only airline to increase your price above the optimum (the "optimum" being based on your estimate of the supply-demand graph on the market segment, performed over a week), then you are only suppressing demand on your own flights: your competitor is the one who benefits from increased sales.

If both of you artificially increase the price at the same time by the same amount, it begins to look like price fixing, which in many jurisdictions is illegal. (Although maybe you just hired the same revenue management consultant.)

From my own experience, I usually have a fair idea of what a flight or a hotel room is going to cost me before I search for it, just based on past experience, and I've never noticed the day of the week or the hour of the day to make any difference to my expectation.

-4

For sure it will be more expensive in the weekends than in the week days. To give you an example, a room in any hotel in Las Vegas will cost 70-80 USD during the week and the same room will cost you more than 200 USD in the weekend.

  • 4
    Your statement For sure it will be more expensive in the weekends than in the week days. is wrong. Here is a counter example: rooms in the Campanile Hotel next to Luxembour airport cost twice as much during the week than on the weekends. Wanna know why? They cater to businessmen, who usually don't work on weekends. I don't think that you can give such a yes/no answer to the question asked by the OP. All in all the correct answer is likely to be: it depends. – JoErNanO Oct 8 '15 at 9:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.