Airline prices and hotel rates aren't set in stone. In fact, you may have noticed that different rates are presented to you depending on how you search for your airfare and travel accommodations. These ever-changing rates aren't only in your imagination. Most major companies use dynamic pricing to adjust the rates they offer online to reflect what customers are willing to pay.
Companies use pricing bots that are able to gather data and adjust pricing based on specific algorithms and business rules. This real-time pricing strategy can be frustrating if you want to book a deal without feeling like you're being taken for a ride. There are some smart strategies to use to hack dynamic pricing and make sophisticated booking technology work for you.
How The Price You See Is Determined
A person browsing airfare rates from an apartment in Brooklyn early in the morning might not see the same deals on the screen as someone browsing from a house in Des Moines late at night. Pricing is typically based on factors like location, time of day, time of week and overall customer demand.
Websites that use dynamic pricing actually collect and analyze data about every visitor to predict what a customer is willing to pay. Prices are then adjusted automatically for each individual visitor.
How To Outsmart Dynamic Pricing?
It really is a case of man versus machine when it comes to getting the best deals possible on airfare and hotels. The first step to avoiding being outsmarted by dynamic pricing is to see if it's actually being used by the company you're booking your accommodations with.
This can easily be done by viewing the same tickets or reservations a few times over the course of several days to see if the price shifts. You should also check the price on an alternate computer or mobile device to see if you get a different price than what you see on your main device.
Also, make it a point to complete your purchase using a different browser than the one you used for all of your searching. This can be done simply by downloading a secondary browser to your device. A website will view you as an entirely new customer with no browsing history when you visit using a new browser.
You may notice that you receive a lower price on your screen when a company isn't able to detect any information about you. It is always smart to browse using private mode whenever you comparison shop for airfare or hotel rooms. Just use the incognito mode on your browser every time you search, remember to close the browser each time you're done searching!
This mode prevents your browsing history from being stored on your computer. In addition, you can definitely consider disabling third-party cookies to prevent retailers and companies from using the information that's stored on your computer or device to adjust pricing and offers to their advantage.
Looking Like A 'New Customer' Is Your Best Bet
The secret to hacking dynamic pricing is essentially hiding any trace of your browsing history or personal details before a website's bots can see them. The best online deals typically go to visitors who appear to be new customers.
Companies are likely to present you with the best deals if they're trying to lure you in as a first-time customer. The best way to trick pricing bots into offering you great deals is to purchase tickets or accommodations using a device or browser that hasn't been used to search for rates in the past.
Of course, many customers cut through the hassle of trying to outsmart companies to get the lowest rates by simply booking tickets through loyalty programs. Both Alaska Airlines and Delta boast that they offer customers the lowest rates when they book flights directly instead of searching through third-party travel websites.
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