Flight Centre unveils fresh travel research

Auckland, New Zealand - May 15, 2016: Looking out the window of an Airbus A380-800 jet airplane at sunset during flight. Photo taken in the evening over the Tasman sea after leaving Auckland International Airport New Zealand

Hotel rates rising and a change in airfare pricing are among some of the latest changes in the travel industry, according to research out of Flight Centre Travel Group.

Last week, Flight Centre released new data from its business travel consulting firm, 4th Dimension, saying Aussie flights are up there with the most affordable.

It comes despite another recent report that had contradictory claims that Australian air travel is actually one of the most expensive.

More data to come out of 4D’s recent report have now revealed what could be in store for Australian travel in 2017.

Demand for accommodation pushes prices up

4D research showed that in the second half of 2016, there was strong demand for accommodation in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, as leisure and business travellers arrived in huge numbers for work, conferences and holidays.

Now while the research suggested Aussie airfares were in a good position, with competitive prices keeping fares low, the opposite has been said for accommodation.

The upshot in demand for accommodation in these cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland actually saw room rates skyrocket to two or three times more than what the traveller paid for flights.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2017 and into 2018, room bookings in these metro hot spots are expected to continue, causing demand to outstrip supply in some cases during peak periods.

What’s new and changing in 2017

Fare tracking conducted by 4D for first Quarter 2017 indicates a moderate increase of between three and five per cent in domestic Economy Class fares across both the corporate and leisure buying groups.

On top of this, both major Australian airlines introduced ‘Days of the Week’ fares late 2016, which has travellers on certain routes with certain ticket types paying a higher price to fly on Thursday and Friday.

The data collected suggests a real shift away from the long-held beliefs of travel buyers – that booking 14-21 days in advance delivers the best deal on the busiest routes.

With a likelihood of one in 10 tickets being changed by corporate travellers after a ticket is issued, 4D highlights that customers should consider the benefits of ‘flexible’ fares to avoid costly change fees.

The report shows the average cost of change charged by the airlines is $165. Globally, Australia has the seventh largest domestic travel market with around 1.5 million seats available weekly.

The Australia business traveller, for reference, takes on average over 3.8 trips every year.

Internationally, the big changes in 2017 include:

  • Start of non-stop Qantas flights from Perth to London
  • Virgin Australia expanding to Hong Kong and Beijing
  • The opening of Qantas’ flagship international lounge due to open at London Heathrow
  • Qantas adding services to Beijing and Tokyo (Narita) and;
  • Virgin Australia reintroducing a Melbourne to Los Angeles service

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