Do airfare predictors work? Are frequent flyer mile programs getting worse? How is Airbnb responding to new restrictions on home sharing? You've got questions, we've got answers in this week's roundup of travel industry stories.
How Well Do Airfare Predictors Work?
Scott McCartney at the Wall Street Journal tested Kayak, Hopper, and Google Flights to see how effective these sites are at recommending optimal purchase dates. His informal experiment found that all three sites were generally good predictors of future airfare movement, and in some cases could lead to significant savings. Price prediction is part of the broader trend of self-service travel tools adding information on everything from a flight’s reliability to its on-board amenities, all of which Patrick Surrey, Chief Data Scientist at Hopper, points out is “what an old-fashioned travel agent used to do for you.”
5 Ways Frequent Flyer Miles Got Worse in 2016
Sophisticated new airfare predictors have improved the modern flying experience. But, alas, the path of progress does not follow a straight line. Air travel has also become worse in some ways. Seats are smaller, meals are fewer, and frequent flyer miles aren’t what they used to be. Skift lists five ways in which recent policy changes have made airlines’ rewards programs less, well, rewarding.
Airline Ancillary Revenue Forecast to Hit Almost $70 Billion in 2016
Another way that flying has gotten worse? The proliferation of ancillary fees for everything from checked bags to seat selection. A new report from IdeaWorks and CarTrawler forecasts that airlines in 2016 will earn a record amount, $67.4 billion, from these added charges (as well as from non-fee, non-fare sources of revenue, such as commissions from hotel booking and sale of frequent flyer miles to credit card partners). That’s 9.1% of airlines’ global revenue, and $8 billion more than they earned from ancillary fees in 2015.
Airbnb Toughens Up Home Sharing Limits in European Cities
At a time when Airbnb has filed legal challenges against restrictions on short term apartment rentals in San Francisco and New York, the company has agreed to tighten its rules on home sharing in two major European markets. Bloomberg reports that Airbnb will require hosts to attain a special license to be able rent their homes for more than 90 days a year in London and 60 days a year Amsterdam.