Travel booking windows are increasing

We’re starting to see the first tentative signs that the booking window is beginning to lengthen again. Here are our latest insights.

13 May, 2022 Updated 26 May, 2022
Strategy
Travelling man looking out to the arctic

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

One of the key features of the last two years has been a significant shortening of the booking window.

Customers who have faced rapidly changing travel rules and confusing, conflicting government announcements made their booking decisions closer to departure.

Late booking decisions cause all kinds of problems for travel companies. Capacity management, resource planning, and yield management are all more difficult when timings are compressed. And with cash in the travel eco-system for a shorter time period, liquidity is tighter and operational risk much higher. 

Positive news for the travel industry

But in recent weeks, we’ve started to see the first tentative signs that the booking window is beginning to lengthen again – something we discussed in our recent presentation at the Barclays Travel Forum.

We first detected anecdotal evidence when talking with our clients in April. Several tour operators, mainly in the luxury sector reported selling a much higher proportion of 2023 holidays in the most recent weeks. 

Then travel behemoths Booking Holdings and Airbnb both reported a clear increase in the number of days between booking and departure, in their May ’22 quarterly earnings calls.

So when Skyscanner released this report showing booking horizons were returning to 2019 levels, it felt like confirmation of a trend and a welcome sign of improving confidence in the travel sector.

Video taken from a presentation by TTC’s Martin Alcock at the Barclays Travel Forum in May 2022.

To find out what else Martin said in his session, check out the session write-ups from Travel Weekly and TTG Media.

Get in touch with one of our friendly experts if you would like to discuss how our insight can help guide your travel business strategy. We’d be happy to help.

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Covid-19, Future planning, insights, Recovery