Google Flights today is releasing a new feature that will help travelers better determine the right time to book. Rolling out this week, the company is debuting new insights that will leverage historical trend data that lets consumers see when prices have typically been lowest to their chosen destination on their selected dates.
The addition aims to help consumers answer the question as to whether it’s better to book their flight now or wait for lower prices.
For example, Google explains, the new insights could tell users that the cheapest time to book their trip is currently two months prior to departure or that, typically, prices for their trip have generally declined closer to the date of departure. With this new understanding of whether or not they’re getting the best deal, consumers may chose to either book immediately or wait for a better price.
The feature complements other insights Google Flights already offers, like the ability to see whether current prices for your search are low, typical or high, compared to past averages.
In addition, users have the ability to turn on price tracking to receive notifications when flight prices fall significantly for their selected dates or flexible dates, depending on their preferences.
Some flights will also feature a price guarantee badge, which means Google is confident the fare won’t get any lower before departure. If it does, Google will refund the difference via Google Pay. This is part of a pilot program available for select itineraries in the U.S.
The new “cheapest time to book” insights and other flight savings features were announced today in a Google blog post that also included a look at 2023 flight booking trends, showing the latest data through July 2023.
Among the highlights, it found that for flights around Christmas, average prices have been lowest 71 days before departure, compared with 22 days before takeoff in the 2022 trends report. Plus, there’s no longer a “sweet spot” where prices dip before going back up for U.S. trips to Europe, it found. Prices tend to be lowest 72 days or more before departure, said Google.