Hotwire.com today revealed its second-annual State of Summer Travel Report. This forecast gives travelers expert insight on recent trends for the upcoming peak season, so they will be able to stretch their vacation budgets further. The industry insiders at Hotwire® gathered key data for summer travel and projected ways to save on hotel, air and car rental bookings. Based on information collected this year, the experts at Hotwire found that travel prices will mostly be up for hotel and airfare vs. last year, but many deals can be found for later in the season, in big cities and abroad.
"The travel market remains bullish and continues to experience a rise in demand and subsequently, higher prices for the upcoming summer season," said Henrik Kjellberg, president of the Hotwire Group. "Price hikes mean travelers need to be smarter in their decisions and gather more guidance to help score an unforgettable, and affordable, summer vacation. That's where our expert insight comes in handy."
Current Hotel Outlook for Summer Travel Season
Pricing: Hotel prices on Hotwire currently are up 7 percent vs. summer 2013.
What to expect: Healthy expectations from hoteliers and peak season will mean higher demand and higher rates throughout the summer in most, but not all, destinations.
When to book: Historically, travelers make the bulk of their bookings in the early summer months, so deal-seekers can expect to see some of the best pricing, both in advance and at the last minute, during mid- to late-summer stays. However, those planning to travel over any of the major US holidays – Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day – should book as soon as possible as Hotwire data shows occupancy and prices are already spiking.
Deal Markets: As we've seen in past years, mid-sized cities like Minneapolis and Philadelphia will likely have lower rates as travelers don't often target them as mainstay vacation destinations and local hoteliers stick to lower prices to attract the bookings. However, there are also some popular metropolises that are showing pockets of great deals including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC. Florida's snow bird season is January through March, so the busier months will have passed by the time summer hits resulting in great deals across the state, including Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and even Miami.
Those looking for an international beach getaway should consider spots like Mexico and the Dominican Republic. For example, Cancun is showing some great deals on 4-star, all-inclusive hotels and Los Cabos has great rates all summer. Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic has plenty of resorts with low prices and fantastic spa and adventure packages for visitors. Travelers heading to Europe can find great deals on Hotwire in Paris, Berlin, Munich and Madrid.
Current Airfare Outlook for Summer Travel Season
Pricing: Domestic average ticket prices are currently up 2 percent vs. summer 2013.
What to expect: Many airlines aren't increasing domestic capacity this year, but they are on international flights. As a result, we can expect domestic prices to stay higher compared to last year, but prices could actually drop internationally. However, whether traveling close to home or cross-country, travelers hoping for the most affordable flights should start looking now.
When to book: Like hotel, flying closer to the end of summer will likely result in the best deals overall. In fact, August is proving to be the most affordable month to travel with prices on Hotwire showing even bigger discounts than last year. However, if travelers are thinking about heading on their summer getaway earlier in the season, keep in mind that the best deals are usually found when purchasing on a Monday or Tuesday for flights occurring on Tuesday or Wednesday, when planes typically aren't as full.
Deal Markets: Major West Coast cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles, as well as Las Vegas are offering big discounts (up to 30 percent) on airfare for a variety of destinations. Additional steeply-discounted routes include Chicago (ORD) to Phoenix (PHX) and Las Vegas (LAS) to Minneapolis (MSP).
Current Car Rental Outlook for Summer Travel Season
Pricing: Car rental prices on Hotwire are currently down 8 percent vs. summer 2013.
What to expect: Though prices are currently down, industry consolidation and higher demand will likely result in increased rates as we approach summer.
When to book: Since we don't expect prices to stay low, travelers should book now to secure a great deal. To save even more, travelers should consider a weeklong rental as car rental agencies often offer added discounts for extended bookings versus shorter daily rates. Additionally, those who book over the weekend (Friday and Saturday) will likely get even lower rates as they are not competing with the mid-week business travel demand.
Deal Markets: In addition to seeing great hotel and airfare deals, some select big cities like Chicago, Seattle, Orlando and Washington, DC are also showing low car rental prices compared to last summer, with rates as low 12.95 a day on sites like Hotwire.
Note: all sample rates reflect searches in April 2014 for bookings made for summer 2014. Average daily rates reflect bookings across star-categories (hotels) or vehicle classes (cars) made on Hotwire U.S. points of sale between 1/1/14-4/25/14 for travel between 6/1/14-8/30/14. Air fare pricing and capacity data is provided by Expedia, Inc. for the same booking and travel periods stated above.
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