Purchasing airfares in advance is a simple but often overlooked strategy for making savings on business travel. Research conducted by Corporate Traveler has indicated business travelers can pay up to 42 per cent more for airfares purchased one day out from travel. Whether your business uses an open sky policy, best fare of the day from preferred airlines or has a corporate negotiated contract in place with a specific carrier, advance purchase is a versatile solution that can be used in conjunction with other policies to increase savings.
Beware the last minute fare
Corporate Traveler’s research compared ticket prices from three domestic carriers for bookings made one day prior to departure, two to five days prior, six to 10 days, 11 to 20 days and 21 days or more. Passengers who booked one day prior to departure were subject to significantly higher airfares across all three carriers. According to the study:
- Passengers traveling on Airline A paid an average of 19 per cent more.
- Passengers on Airline B paid an average of 42 per cent more.
- Passengers on Airline C paid an average of 35 per cent more.
Reducing your average ticket price
Economy Class seats are generally staggered in price from headline fares for the cheapest seats to fully flexible for more expensive seats. By working with your travel manager to implement an advance purchase strategy, your business can ensure access to the cheapest fares every time and reduce the bottom line impact from seasonal and market fluctuations. Prices increase more rapidly during peak travel periods, making advance bookings particularly important for high frequency travelers. Corporate Traveler’s study shows the lowest fares are generally advertised 21 days or more out from departure.
Implementing an advance purchase strategy into your travel policy is an effective way of overcoming price fluctuations in ticket classes. Your travel manager can identify opportunities to save by negotiating an airline agreement with your preferred carrier including cheaper, restrictive fares that can be booked in advance. Combining advance purchase with market share agreements can effectively increase your company’s capacity for travel and meet budget objectives.