Google Flights, Hopper, Alexi’s flights, Skyscanner… Quebecers are now used to using these digital tools in the hope of finding the cheapest possible plane tickets. While tourism is slowly recovering its pre-pandemic revenues, these platforms are also encouraging more and more travelers to leave spontaneously.
Chloé Lucero, a waitress in her twenties who lives on the South Shore of Montreal, has not been spared by this trend. She bought her plane ticket for Martinique last April, four days before her departure.
“I wanted to go on a trip with my sister, but I was unsure of being able to take time off from work until the very last minute,” she says. I was open to all kinds of destinations. Looking around the possibilities on Google Flights, then seeing the price for Martinique, around $500 round trip, I said to myself: ‘here we go, it’s not complicated’”
Alexi Roy, founder of Alexi’s Flights, a platform that identifies deals from airlines and then recommends them to its subscribers, observes “tons” of similar cases among the comments of its users.
“We recently passed the milestone of one million subscribers in Quebec, in addition to our 500,000 subscribers in France,” he says. Our service is essentially made to inspire people from low prices, therefore to encourage spontaneity. With figures like these, it proves that Quebecers are more open to jumping quickly on opportunities. »
Leaving without knowing the destination
A study by the firm OnePoll of 1,000 Americans in 2022 reveals that “Americans are also increasingly likely to book trips to destinations they do not know, which suggests that spontaneous trips and flexible could be the new normal”.
The study, commissioned by Skyscanner, a company that compares the prices of airline tickets and hotel rooms, indicates that 56% of respondents said they had already shown up at an airport with “no fixed destination” in order to book their getaway there. Similar behaviors are now observed online.
For example, Laura Lindsay, director of communications at Skyscanner, argues that the term “anywhere” has become the most searched term in the company’s search engine. “This is because users are finding tempting offers for round-trip travel, starting at $49 for domestic travel and $158 for international travel,” she says.
A report collating data from Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo, published last winter, indicates the same orientations. “Travellers seek the excitement of spontaneous and easy travel, especially when they [peuvent être] flexible as to where and when they visit,” the document reads.
A diversified clientele
The taste for spontaneous travel is also spreading among a very varied clientele. When Alexi Roy launched her site in 2018, it was primarily aimed at young adults. Even today, it is “mainly people aged 25 to 40” who subscribe to its platform, but “as many travelers in backpacks as families” are ready to be inspired by it for spontaneous plans, specifies t -he.
Mr. Roy maintains that his subscribers wish in particular to avoid too much “mental load” caused by excessive planning. According to him, spontaneity therefore corresponds more to the nature of the travelers’ experience than to the time frame they give themselves to buy their plane tickets.
“For international flights, we usually see the best prices three to six months in advance,” he says. But even its subscribers who buy their tickets six months in advance show a certain spontaneity, “because they will benefit above all from the best prices if they monitor the alerts and if they allow themselves a certain flexibility in terms of dates and destinations.
Chloé Lucero, who had also booked another trip a month in advance, says that these types of getaways “can have a lot of mental health benefits” because they make it easier to get out of the routine. . “I would recommend the experience to anyone,” she says without hesitation.