Suppliers prepare pre-holiday deals and incentives

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T1122NCLPANAMACANAL_C_HR [Credit: Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Lines]
Norwegian Cruise Line's "Greatest Deal Ever" promotion offers 70% off the second guest's fare and several other incentives. Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line

The pre-holiday cascade of deals on everything from video game consoles to cooking appliances keeps expanding, and the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is emerging as travel's day in the shopping sun.

In recent years, Travel Deal Tuesday, a phrase coined and promoted by the booking app Hopper, has emerged as a busy day for major discounts on flights, hotels and car rentals. 

According to Hopper, in 2019 there were more flight deals on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving than on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. 

Additionally, its data indicates international airfares are currently 15% below pre-pandemic prices in 2019, so any additional discounts will create especially good airfare bargains. 

"In 2020 there were still a lot of restrictions at this time of year, and now that things are opening up this year, we're expecting even bigger deals," said Hopper consumer travel expert Lindsay Schwimer.

"It is a time of year where travel demand is typically low. Most people have booked holiday flights already with Christmas just a month away, and they also haven't gotten into the head space for planning for 2022 yet. With demand for travel low, airlines and hotels are incentivized to lower prices and offer great discounts that week." 

Schwimer said airlines like Fiji Airways, Qatar Airways, Aer Lingus, Etihad, LOT Polish Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Air New Zealand have already confirmed with Hopper that they will be offering specials on Travel Deal Tuesday. 

Skyscanner is also anticipating especially good airfares during this time, as both U.S. and European airlines add capacity in response to the easing of travel restrictions and deploy attractive prices to stimulate bookings for international travel in 2022, a spokesperson for the travel search engine said. 

Of course, Black Friday deals on travel aren't limited to any particular day. Hotels, cruises and other travel products will also be deeply discounted, and some companies save their best sales of the year for the Thanksgiving period. 

Hurtigruten, for example, is offering up to 50% off excursions to West Africa, the Galapagos, Antarctica and Alaska. Those deals are available exclusively through travel advisors through Nov. 30, before the sale becomes available on the company's website.

Norwegian Cruise Line has dubbed its 2021 offering its Greatest Deal Ever, with 70% off the second guest fare and a selection of seven additional incentives, including free open bar and shore excursion credits. 

Guests booking at Kimpton Hotels can get up to 25% off room rates at participating hotels when booking between Nov. 23 and Dec. 6 for stays through April 30. Hilton is offering up to 50% off room rates at two of its signature Hawaii properties, Hilton Hawaiian Village and Hilton Waikoloa Village, on bookings through Nov. 29.

Graduate Hotels is offering up to 50% off stays across all of its U.S. and U.K. properties from Nov. 29 through Dec. 3 for stays through March 31 in what it calls its "largest promotion of the year." 

James Ferrara, president of InteleTravel, said that increasing consumer confidence, unspent vacation dollars, pent-up travel demand and a sense of "feeling safe" were contributing to a rise in bookings, particularly in cruise. 

There is reason to predict that Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Travel Deal Tuesday are actually going to roll up and swell into Wanderlust Week– InteleTravel president James Ferrara

"So, it's like we have the energy of several waves coming from different angles, and they will intersect just after Thanksgiving, which is when consumers are conditioned to begin spending," he said. 

"There is reason to predict that Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Travel Deal Tuesday are actually going to roll up and swell into Wanderlust Week."

After a series of countries have reopened to foreign travelers, international flight searches for 2022 are growing 54% faster than during the same time last year, according to Hopper, which is leaning into Travel Deal Tuesday with discounts on its flexible booking options and the launch of "Carrot Cash" monetary credits earned when booking through Hopper. 

"More promotions will be announced as we get closer to the holiday, and we're expecting some really good deals on international routes," Schwimer said. "Particularly the ones that are reopening and starting to welcome tourists again."

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