Jonathan Saipe

Christmas Flights: When Are You Booking Yours?

11 October 2009, Jonathan Saipe

Christmas flights - when are you booking yours?I’ve left it rather late to book Christmas flights to Australia this year. And as it gets closer to Christmas, the prices inevitably rise steeply. So, clearly the early bird catches the worm when it comes to Christmas getaways.

Looking at the Google trends graph below, we can see an interesting trend emerging in search activity for flights from the last 5 years.
Seasonal trends in searches for Christmas flights

See the real data at Google Trends.

From 2004 to 2008 we can see a gradual seasonal change in searchers researching or buying flights for Christmas-time; year-on-year we are searching for deals earlier and earlier in the year.
By the time we hit 2008, there is a measurable amount of search traffic for the term “Christmas traffic” even in January.

This could be due to a number of reasons: either searchers are trying to snap up bargains earlier and earlier; we’re being subjected to marketing messages from travel companies earlier in the year; or finally holiday-makers are returning from their previous year’s Xmas holidays with post holiday blues and with the desire to book the next Xmas trip!

What’s also conspicuous is the reduction of search traffic at the end of 2008 as the recession has fully kicked in. Clearly, Christmas holidays are not top priority for consumers.

Looking at recession-hit 2009, not only have our Q1 searches for “christmas flights” bucked the trend, but in Q3 we are also marginally down on 2008; it’s also likely that the last quarter will be down on the same time last year.

Maybe I should have booked at the beginning of the year and I would have snapped up a bargain!