We keep hearing about doom and gloom in the travel industry – people aren’t flying, but mostly that forward bookings are down. Airlines are cutting flights and offering relaxed restrictions so that people are more comfortable buying travel. We’ve already seen Alaska Airlines come out with bonus elie qualifying miles for travel now.
One of the frequent questions I’m being asked is, if things are so bad in the travel industry why aren’t we seeing more travel deals? I expect that we will, but it makes sense we haven’t yet.
We aren’t seeing lower prices than before for the most part (there have been some deep discount sales – Alaska’s West Coast – Hawaii $99, Southwest’s new Los Angeles – Phoenix and Las Vegas starting at $30). For the most part the cheapest fares we’ve seen consistently are just more available than usual – they haven’t sold out. In other words, good deals are all around us but they’re deals similar to what we’ve seen before. $300 Europe sales aren’t even that common right now, though they exist – as they over the last four years.
- Discounting won’t generate many sales, price isn’t what’s keeping people away. (At some level price matters, a negative price i.e. being paid to travel might get people on the road.)
- Discounts then would reduce revenue from those who must travel.
After 9/11 I saw a lot of fares go up even though planes and hotels were empty. The people traveling were the least price sensitive. They had to travel. Why charge them less?
Once we get to the place where people aren’t as afraid, where they’re more willing to travel, we’ll see deals to get everyone back on the road and in the skies.