School holiday travel supplements imposed by airlines and holiday companies have again been hitting the headlines. The Daily Mail has a news story today about what they call a “£500 supplement just to take a family away during the school holidays”. They say that they have conducted a survey of holiday prices and they say that families are being “punished” !
Higher prices for holidays and flights have always been a contentious issue but this is because many people fail to understand how the pricing model of airlines and holiday companies actually work. The travel industry is a classic supply and demand pricing model. With high demand you can increase the price and with low demand you reduce the price. In other words, if you have flight going to Spain say that is only half full then the airline will do all it can to sell the remaining seats and fill the aircraft. One way it may do this is to reduce prices as an incentive for people to book.It’s not the whole story though. If a holiday company or airline owns a fleet of aircraft it has to use those aircraft at all times on different routes.
The cost of running that aircraft over the course of a year can be calculated and then divided into 12 months. If the airline tried to fix prices at high levels even at off peak travel times when demand is lower then they would not be able to fill the aircraft. At peak times during school holidays there are more people travelling so they can sell the seats at a price where they may actually make a profit.
If the airline industry did not operate this pricing method then we would possibly not have an industry at all or flights would only operate for a few months of the year to certain destinations.The airline and holiday industry is not the only industry where this happens. A restaurant may reduce its prices or offer 2 for 1 meal deals on certain days of the week or they may have an “early bird” reduced cost menu. Pubs and bars have “happy hours”. Even shops and department stores have “sales” where goods are reduced in price. You could argue that if shops can sell things cheaper during a sale then we are all paying far too much for these goods when there is no sale happening. These sales normally happen during periods of low demand, like just after Christmas.
So, whilst we all love to buy things at the lowest possible price it is a fact of commercial life that prices fluctuate and change during a typical year. This happens no matter whether you are buying a holiday or a new shirt.
Until somebody comes up with a better way of pricing a holiday we are stuck with higher prices during school holidays.
Speaking to a good travel agent will often get you a bargain, even during the school holidays. Good independent travel agents have access to millions of holidays, special offers, late deals and last minute cheap holidays. It’s quicker than trawling the internet and you will get expert advice and recommendations.
Call Global Holidays FREE on 0800 433 2300 and they will do their best to find you that holiday bargain that you have been looking for !
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