FINDING a cheap holiday deal could be harder than ever as hotels and airlines rush to embrace something known as “hyperdynamic pricing”.
By using artificial intelligence (AI) software to scrape the internet, travel firms can update their prices several times a day – all while making the most money they can out of you.
Holidays, like other products, are priced according to supply and demand – the more people that want it, the more companies can charge.
Everyone wants to get away in the summer, or during the school holidays, for example, which is why these travel dates are always the most expensive.
In the past, holiday firms would have set their prices according to a number of things, including peak travel periods and previous sales figures.
They would then adjust their prices depending on how many holidays they’ve actually sold and how many are left.
Because the technology wasn’t available, they would have been slow to adjust their prices, meaning you could find a deal relatively easily – even if lots of people are booking holidays to the same places at the same time.
Dynamic pricing, where firms adjust prices according to demand in real time, already exists.
Usually this is based on the data available on their own website – ie, the people currently searching or booking with them.
But now experts have revealed the use of “hyperdynamic pricing” is on the rise.
Apart from data found on its own website, travel firms can use AI to scrape the internet for other information it can use to adjust prices in real time.
This can include everything from global news and local events to weather predictions and trending Google searches according to the New York Times.
Angela Zutavern, managing director at AlixPartners, told NYT that even social media posts could affect prices.
For example, if Ariana Grande has just announced a concert in Paris, the prices of flights and hotels could have been hiked up before you even book your tickets for the gig.
Or if lots of influencers suddenly starts posting photos of one hotel, the prices to that property could go up.
In contrast, following the earthquake off the coast of Jamaica for instance, travel firms could have dropped prices to entice people back.
Unfortunately, because prices can change so quickly, it’s hard for consumers to keep up.
The best way to find a cheap hotel or flight deal is to set up an alert, like the ones available through Google’s travel service, which will email you with price changes.
If you’re more flexible about when and where you go, you could also sign up for apps and newsletters that will track price changes for you.
If you’re looking for some bargain breaks, we’ve rounded up some of the best options for under £100pp.
We also found great all-inclusive deals, including five nights in Majorca from £149pp.