Thursday, August 13, 2020

Transport, hotels: this summer, hard, hard to find low prices

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Summer 2020 will not mean good deals. Containment and the economic crisis had two radically opposite consequences on prices. Thus, in air transport as for coaches, these promotions are forgotten which reward consumers who book early and who traditionally allow to start the summer season. Asked by “the Parisian”, in early June, on Air France’s pricing policy, its managing director, Anne Rigail had warned: “I do not think that a very low fare policy is sustainable for air transport. Since the government announcements, demand has increased, but load factors remain low. “

For Air France, which had to ask the French State to come to its rescue, or even BlaBlaBus, FlixBus and many other companies in the tourism sector currently in great difficulty, the time is not to embark on a price war but rather to replenish its cash.

Destocking operation at SNCF

In contrast, the SNCF, for its part, has lower fares than usual, mainly in its TGV InOui, Ouigo and Intercités trains. It must be said that the company is in great need of filling its trains. After an initial announcement in early June of the sale of three million tickets at 49 euros or less – twice as much as in 2019 – the company did it again at the end of June with two million additional tickets at this rate. “There are more than half left,” says the company. Especially in August, where the filling rate is only 35%. “

A big clearance sale which also concerns TER. Since June 22, the company has launched the “TER France” operation. On the program, two million TER tickets for less than 10 euros, but also the possibility for the 130,000 holders of an annual TER subscription to travel for free, without reservation, in July and August, on the entire TER network. Finally, for young people aged 12 to 25, SNCF launched a youth pass at 29 euros per month to travel anywhere on the TER network in July and August.

As for the 3 million holders of an SNCF Advantage or Liberty reduction card, their validity is not only extended until August 31 for those expiring between March 17 and July 31, but they also benefit on their next trip. (one way) 30% additional reduction with the Advantage card and 40% with the Freedom card.

Call hotels directly to negotiate

As for accommodation, and in particular the 18,000 hotels – 650,000 rooms -, very affected by the crisis, little hope of obtaining reductions. Even if Roland Héguy, president of the Union of trades and industries of the hotel industry (Umih), has a council to make limit the invoice: “Book directly with the hotelier or even the restaurateur rather than to pass by Booking and Expedia. At a minimum, breakfasts are offered and you can save between 15% and 20% of the bill. “

A good plan that is not devoid of interest: “Booking like Expedia take commissions of the order of 20% to 25%, annoys the boss of the Umih. In this context of crisis, we asked that they be content with 5% until the end of the year to support tourism … They did not want to hear anything. “

There is one last solution, a little risky, to protect your wallet: be patient. Indeed, several carriers, such as Air France, do not rule out last minute promotions based on the occupancy rate.

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