September 29, 2021

Priceline Reveals Now Is the Best Time to Book Travel as U.S. Cities Make a Resurgence

Major U.S. cities are experiencing a revival in visitors and activity right now. This is an especially exciting development because the flexibility of remote work means that many people are less limited in their travel options – a long weekend away can now be even longer. Priceline took a look at the data for hotel, flight, and package bookings across 20 U.S. cities to find out the advantages of booking travel right now, and where to go to get the most value for your money. Here's what we discovered.

Why Book Now?

Cities are making a comeback. Major cities across the country are seeing an uptick in travel in the second half of 2021 compared to the first half of the year, particularly northeastern cities, such as Boston, New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Hotel rates are rising – and may only get more expensive. Compared with the second half of 2019, the average daily rate of a hotel stay has increased by 5 percent. As travel continues to rebound, we expect that these rates – which are already above 2019 levels – will likely continue to rise.

Airfare is still more affordable than it was before the pandemic. The average cost of a roundtrip ticket has dropped 15 percent, while the TSA is reporting checkpoint numbers that are more than twice as high as 2020, although still lower than 2019.

Package deals are better than ever. Priceline's Work-Life Balance Report revealed 74 percent of Americans agree that saving money through travel deals is a high priority – a sentiment reflected in an increased interest in bundling hotels and flights when traveling to major U.S. cities. In the second half of 2021, average package prices dropped 10 percent, reflecting an even stronger value proposition in the face of rising hotel costs.

The State of City Prices

  • Orlando, Sacramento, and Phoenix are showing the biggest increase in consumer interest for hotels during the second half of 2021 compared with the same time period in 2019. While most major U.S. cities show an increase in average daily hotel rates, some are showing large drops, particularly San Francisco (-21%), New York City (-14%) and Seattle (-11%), making them incredible values right now.
  • When it comes to flights, Miami, Orlando, and Atlanta are showing the most growth in consumer interest when comparing the second half of 2021 with the same period in 2019. While average roundtrip flight costs remain down across major cities, Miami (-26%), Los Angeles (-16%), and Phoenix (-15%) have all experienced the largest decreases, making them especially attractive and wallet-friendly. Boston is the only city for which average roundtrip flight tickets have remained flat compared with 2019 rates.
  • And packaged deals for hotels and flights to Miami, Tampa, and Phoenix, all warm-weather destinations with great outdoor activities, are showing the most growth in consumer interest in the second half of 2021 compared with the same period in 2019.

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