Girlfriend nagging me recently: “We need to buy tickets now for the holidays. We don’t know when prices are going to increase.”
Actually, now we do know.
Google just announced it will predict fare changes for flights you’re interested in and notify you about them, a new feature on its Google Flights website.
“Sixty-nine percent of U.S. leisure travelers worry that they're not finding the best price or making the best decision while booking a trip — making this kind of purchase more worrisome than financial investments, home improvements or electronics purchases,” the company noted in a new blog post.
Google will use historical flight data to make its predictions for expected price jumps (down to the exact hour) and let you know how much you’ll save if you book now. If you know where you're going but don’t know when, Google Flights will also offer tips for finding the best price.
Admittedly, services like Hopper and Kayak also offer variations on this service, and Expedia also offers a “locked” price for fares if you’re worried about sudden price changes and you’re not ready to book (for a small fee).
That said, Google Flights has already been receiving praise for its ability to uncover cheap flights — now, you’re more likely than ever to find a deal.
Google also announced they would be making it easier to find deals on hotels when using their search engine (although this option doesn’t seem to have launched yet). “We already label deals when a hotel’s price is lower than usual compared to historical pricing, or if there are discounts to the normal rate for those dates,” their blog noted. “Now if you want to only look at hotel deals — say, to ring in the new year in Paris — just tap in the upper left to filter for Deals and voilà!”