SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Fall has arrived and with the change in seasons, Hotwire.com®, a leading discount travel site, today revealed its State of Fall Travel Report. This forecast gives travelers expert insight on current trends for the shoulder season period, so consumers will feel more empowered to take control of their vacations. The industry insiders at Hotwire have gathered key data for autumn travel and have projected ways to save on hotel, air and car rental bookings. Based on information collected this year, Toronto and Vancouver, two of Canada's gems, have emerged as top deal destinations, with affordable prices across the board.
"Fall trends are still developing, but The State of Fall Travel Report is a great tool to help budget-savvy travelers nab some shoulder season deals and add one more getaway before the busy holiday season starts," said Henrik Kjellberg, president of the Hotwire Group. "Even though rates are slightly up year-over-year, there are still great deals to be had if you know where to look and when to book. This fall, popular cities across Canada and the West Coast seem to be offering savings to inspire any would-be traveler this season."
Current Hotel Outlook for Fall Travel Season
Pricing: Hotel prices on Hotwire currently are up three percent vs. fall 2012.
What to expect: According to hoteliers, there have been a higher volume of travelers this year which has raised the demand for rooms this fall and thus increased prices. However, historically speaking, we hear from hotels that fall occupancy – i.e. the percentage of filled rooms – has hovered around 50 percent in the U.S. What this means for travelers is that this fall may be busier than in years past, but it will be far from crowded. So there should be plenty of opportunities for deals to become available as we move into the season. This year, be sure to look, or ask for, better deals on family suites, upgraded room types and all-inclusive options. Hotels will be offering more of these during the season to attract leisure travelers away from competition.
When to book: Many destinations will be in their shoulder season (the period between peak and off seasons) during October and November, so travelers should see some pretty deep discounts compared to summer in general. However, we still anticipate the best deals will continue to be seen at the last minute. We expect hoteliers to reduce prices closer to check in to fill rooms, so travelers looking for an autumn getaway may have a better chance of finding the best deals if they book seven or less days prior to their arrival.
Deal Markets: We pointed to mid-sized "sleeper" cities during the summer and are seeing a similar trend this season as well. In fact, those who are planning their stay in advance should consider neighborhoods outside of the city center, if not just smaller cities overall, that offer similar experiences when compared to a major metropolis. Currently, we're seeing savings and flat pricing in a variety of destinations including Phoenix and Montreal, as well as shoulder season beach locations like Mexico. However, those willing to wait and book at the last minute should look to cities like San Diego, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Palm Springs. We also have a few international destinations on our radar, that deal-seekers should keep an eye on including Puerto Vallarta, London, Edinburgh, Prague and Dublin.
Current Airfare Outlook for Fall Travel Season
Pricing: Domestic average ticket prices are currently up between four and five percent vs. fall 2012.
What to expect: For fall – like summer – we are seeing airlines increase capacity, which means the industry is adding more routes and/or planes to increase the total number of seats available to travelers. This is great news for travelers, as more seats means more options for fliers and increased competition among airlines. As a result, this has been slowing the price hikes we've witnessed over the past few years. However, it seems like airlines are surgically targeting where they increase capacity, so some locales will have better deals than others. We expect the overall trend to continue, and at the moment we're seeing steeper discounts to west coast destinations, especially to destinations like Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Vancouver.
When to book: Scoring the best deal on airfare can vary based on a number of factors including the airline, destination and time of week in which one purchases. The key is to keep a close eye on airfare prices, tracking their movements. This might sound time consuming, but fortunately there are more tools available these days, such as Hotwire's Tripwatcher.com, which can do all this work and alert you the moment prices drop on your desired trip. However, with airfare you must book quickly, as air deals don't stick around for too long. Some other general rules to help you score the best fares include booking on Monday or Tuesday and flying on Tuesday or Wednesday, as planes are typically at their fullest for Thursday through Monday travel.
Deal Markets: As noted above, travelers should look to west coast destinations for steep discounts this fall. For example, popular flight routes to Los Angeles (LAX) are seeing drops as high as 26 percent. It's also a great time to visit Las Vegas, as routes out of Philadelphia (PHL), Seattle (SEA) and Detroit (DTW) are seeing 13 percent, 16 percent and 17 percent drops, respectively. Additionally, the Canadian destinations of Toronto and Vancouver are seeing drops of six and nine percent overall.
Current Car Rental Outlook for Fall Travel Season
Pricing: Car rental prices on Hotwire are currently up four percent vs. fall 2012.
What to expect: Compared to summer, car rental prices are down three percent, but we expect prices will rise slightly over the next few months. The rising prices are due to the continued trend of consolidation we've seen in the industry causing there to be fewer rental vehicles available and less competitive pricing. Unless there's a significant, unexpected shift in demand, prices are expected to remain higher than last year. However, while overall prices may increase, there are still some big destinations offering deals and other incentives to ensure that you get the best possible value when booking.
When to book: If you're looking for a weekend getaway, you can typically find the lowest rates by looking on a Tuesday for the weekend ahead. Also, be sure to check out discount deals like Hotwire's Hot Rates because the best weekend deals tend to be offered through sites like these. If you're looking for a long term rental, for a full seven or 14 days, try to book on Mondays instead. Just remember to always reserve the lowest retail rate you can find a few weeks out, and then continue to search for better deals on discount sites like Hotwire. If you find a better deal, just cancel the retail reservation for free and snag the discounted rate instead.
Deal Markets: Currently, some of the larger price cuts for fall are in Canadian destinations like Montreal (down 19 percent) and Toronto (down 17 percent), but some major domestic metropolises like New York (down 14 percent) and Chicago (down 13 percent) are also seeing strong values.
Note: Average daily rates and all price comparisons reflect bookings across star-categories (hotels) or vehicle classes (cars) made on Hotwire U.S. points of sale between 8/25/13-9/25/13 for travel between 10/1/13-11/19/13. Airfare pricing and capacity data is provided by Expedia, Inc. for bookings made the past year for travel in fall. All insight and expectations are Hotwire's opinions based on internal data and supplier information.
Hotwire.com is a leading discount travel site with low rates on airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and vacation packages. Launched in 2000, Hotwire, Inc. obtains deep discounts from its travel suppliers to help travelers book unsold airline seats, hotel rooms and rental cars. Hotwire.com is an award winning website and Hotwire, Inc. is an operating company within Expedia, Inc. CST # 2029030-50. NST: 20003-0209. For more information, visit http://www.hotwire.com. Hotwire.com operates sites in 12 countries worldwide: www.hotwire.com, www.hotwire.com/uk, www.hotwire.com/ie, www.hotwire.com/au, www.hotwire.com/nz, www.hotwire.com/se, www.hotwire.com/no, www.hotwire.com/dk, www.hotwire.com/de, www.hotwire.com/hk, www.hotwire.com/mx and www.hotwire.com/sg. In addition to Hotwire, The Hotwire Group also operates www.carrentals.com.
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