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Stat: Travel Lead Times Shrink as Holidays Approach

October 29, 2015

As the holiday travel season approaches, travelers are booking closer to their departure date, according to Sojern's new Q3 Global Travel Insights. 





According to the report, September was the most popular month for booking trips, with 37 percent of all the quarter’s booking taking place that month. Globally, the most searched destinations during the third quarter of the year were: the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Turkey, Thailand, Portugal and Russia. Thailand re-entered the list after a quarter’s hiatus, replacing Greece

In terms of the summer holidays, Independence Day saw most travelers searching for trips to New York, while for Labor Day travelers sought the sun in Miami. There were disparities in the length of trips searched for, as well: only 25 percent of Americans looked to travel six or more days around Independence Day vs. a whopping 47 percent on Labor Day. That may have been affected by the fact that the 4th of July fell on a Saturday this year.

From the beginning of the year through the end of September, in North America and Europe, increasingly more travelers searched for tickets seven days or less from the departure date and significantly fewer travelers searched for tickets sixty days or more before the departure date. These fluctuations are in line with the seasonal trends: in Q1 travel planning is in full swing for the summer break, while in Q2 and Q3 travelers look for destinations closer to home and book tickets closer to the departure date. In Latin America, search lead times remain largely stable quarter on quarter.

This Thanksgiving, the most expensive airports to fly out of are New York’s JFK and San Francisco’s International airport, followed by Los Angeles and Philadelphia. At the end of the spectrum, flying out of Atlanta may be the most affordable scenario of all, followed by Fort Lauderdale and Washington D.C.’s Reagan National (DCA).

Last year Cyber Monday triggered a fourfold increase in worldwide flight bookings. Americans responded the most dramatically, with an increase of 96 percent in flight bookings compared to Thanksgiving, but Europeans also saw a 32 percent increase in flight bookings on Cyber Monday. For a little perspective, in 2013, Sojern data indicated that U.S. flight bookings increased by 50 percent over average Mondays in November. Consumers will continue to be on the hunt for travel deals this year, and, since Cyber Monday falls on the last day of November, prepare to see November bookings skyrocket.

This holiday season, North American travelers are looking to take slightly more long trips than last year: 38 percent are searching for trips of eight days or more compared to 34 percent last year. For now, only 52 percent of North American early bookers are looking to travel alone this holiday season compared to 74 percent of all bookers last  year.

December 19 is shaping up to be the most popular date to travel across Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific and the second most popular date to travel in North America, after December 23. The top destinations for the 2015 holiday season are: Singapore for Asia-Pacific travelers, Bangkok for Europeans, Madrid for Latin Americans and, for North Americans, New York. 

In Latin America, Bogota ranks second for overall destinations and is the top origination for holiday travel, possibly due to Colombia’s steady economic rise and to changing perceptions of the safety of travel to the country.

Source: Sojern

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