How can you save money on travel trips ?
How can you save money on travel trips ?
Nowadays booking a flight ticket is really simple. But how to be sure that you got the best price ? Many travellers already know different techniques to save money on their online bookings : travel at the cheapest time, travel in low season, use comparative price tools… But did you know it was possible to spare more money ?
Since the 70’s traveling companies practice yield management. This technique is a variable price setting strategy based on the anticipation of the consumer behaviour. Travelling companies are using all the available information to identify your willingness to pay and charge you at the highest possible price. In this article I will provide some advices to get the cheapest prices when you book your trip online.
- First, travelling companies are using your Operating System (OS) to set their prices. As the Mac OS X users’ willingness to pay is higher than for other OS users, many websites show higher prices to Mac users. Therefore in order to get a cheaper price use Windows or even Linux.
- Cookies are also used by travelling companies in their yield management strategy. Travellers probably know it : prices increase when you visit the same website several times. In fact some travellers will first look at the different companies, comapring offers to find the best price. The first time you visit the website the comapny will display a lower price in order to keep your attention on their offer. Unfortunatelly after having checked all the different offers you see that the company already increased its price. How to avoid this price increase ? Before booking your travel, make sure that you well deleted all the cookies of your browser so that the company thinks it is the first time you visit their website. You will therefore benefit from the lower price.
- Companies also set variable prices for different countries. In fact the willingness to pay of a consumer changes according to its country. For exemple cost of life is higher in the Netherlands than in Spain, meaning that for a same product a Dutch will generelly pay a higher price. Therefore when booking your trip, check the prices on different versions of the website. For travelling companies the difference is not huge but you can spare around 3% of the ticket price by using this technique. Suppose you want to book a flight from Amsterdam to Roma with Easy Jet. The prices proposed by the Spanish website are 2% lower than on the Belgian website. The cheapest price displayed by the Spanish EasyJet website for the Thursday 24th September was 99.99€ whilst the Belgian EasyJet website proposed the same ticket at 102.50€. This technique is also used by other companies such as Amazon. Let’s take another example. I was looking for an electronic version of “Investments” from Bodie, Kane & Marcus. I displayed here below the prices I found for the same book on the different Amazon websites (note that I look for an electronic version so there are no delivery costs to take into account). You can see below that there is a difference of more than 20€ between Italy and Netherlands, which means that you can spare 30% of the book by buying it on Amazon Italy rather than Amazon Netherlands !
- Amazon Netherlands : 73.54€
- Amazon Germany : 58.18€
- Amazon Italy : 51.51€
- Amazon UK : 66.78€ (48.73£)
- Amazon France : 56.10€
- Internet Protocol is also a data which is often used by companies to practice yield management. Travelling companies track your position on the Internet to set dynamic prices. They thus use your position to charge higher prices. A way to reduce the price of your ticket is to change your IP address so that the company think you are currently in another country. The first way to change your IP is to create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection. However if you are not used to this tool, a simpler solution exists. Tor is a free legal browser that creates a circuit of different relays. Tor enables you to surf on Internet in Rotterdam whilst your IP address indicates that you are somewhere in Russia ! This browser makes the tracking system of the travelling companies inefficient, meaning that you will benefit from a lower booking price.
If you have other advices to buy cheap online tickets feel free to share them in the comments !