Plus, the Airlines Reporting Corporation’s (ARC) sixth annual airfare pricing outlook data outlines when are the best times to book and how to save on your next flight

Singapore, 19 November 2020Expedia today released its 2021 Travel Trends Report, featuring its biggest travel-related learnings and takeaways from 2020, and what travellers can expect in the year ahead. In addition to tapping into its massive database of search and demand data, Expedia also partnered with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) for a deep dive into the effects of the pandemic on air travel.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Booking tips for accommodation and flights in 2021, and the shifts in trends over the past year
  • Traveller priorities in 2021
  • Top travel destinations for 2021, and how this compares against the most-searched and most-booked destinations in 2020

“It’s no secret that air travel changed this year in ways we have never seen before, but people are still flying, and they will continue to fly. We are keeping a close eye on these changes to help travellers get the most from their journeys,” says Chuck Thackston, Managing Director of Data Science and Research for ARC. “Expedia and ARC are teaming up again to get to the bottom of what’s changed and equip travellers with new trip-planning insights to use when they do fly again.”

“Covid-19 has influenced the travel mindset of Singaporeans. Not only are they looking to travel to destinations that are closer to home, our data also indicates a bigger emphasis on keeping flexibility, health and hygiene as top priorities when planning and booking travel. As we work towards the resumption of international travel in 2021, there is a need for us to pay closer attention to traveller behaviour, which will be pivotal in rebuilding confidence and trust in travel for Singaporeans to explore the world again in the near future,” said Lavinia Rajaram, APAC Head of Communications, Expedia.

Airfare Booking Hacks for 2021

For the past six years, travellers have relied on the Expedia-ARC Travel Outlook Report, which analyses billions of flight segments, to provide insider tips and tricks for getting the most out of air travel. With 2020 being an atypical year, a new cheat sheet is needed now more than ever.

Based on ARC data, average ticket prices (ATPs) for economy and premium economy international flights originating from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand hit their lowest in January 2020 but have since been on the rebound, peaking in the month of August before tapering down from September.

To get the best deal, travellers need to know when to book and start their trip.

  • Best day of the week to book[1]: Book on a Sunday and avoid Fridays to save up to 15 percent
  • Best day of the week to depart[2]: Tuesday or Thursday to save up to 10 percent

Book to Stay on a Monday to Save on Accommodation

According to an analysis of the average daily rates for accommodation bookings made on between 1 January and 12 September 2020, booking a Monday night stay and avoiding Sunday night stays could just be your best bet to save.

Most-Searched International Destinations for 2021

While international travel plans of Singaporeans were put on hold due to the ongoing travel restrictions, it has certainly not dampened their travel spirits. According to the report, Singaporeans are still looking to travel – both domestically or internationally – in the coming year.

Most-Searched Travel Destinations for 2021 [3] Most-Searched Travel Destinations in 2020 Most-Booked Travel Destinations in 2020 [4]
1 Singapore Singapore Singapore
2 Tokyo Johor Bangkok
3 Bangkok Bangkok Johor
4 Maldives Tokyo Kuala Lumpur
5 Bali Kuala Lumpur Bali
6 Seoul Bali Jakarta
7 Taipei Batam Ho Chi Minh City
8 Osaka Taipei Manila
9 Johor Bintan Selangor
10 Phuket Seoul Batam

Figure 1: Most-searched travel destinations for 2020 and 2021, along with the most-booked travel destinations for 2020

 Traveller Priorities in 2021

  1. Flexibility isn’t a “nice-to-have”, it’s required: In 2021, flexibility will continue to be top-of-mind for travellers. Luckily, flexibility is now more affordable than ever. Expedia data shows that average daily rates for refundable accommodation bookings were 31 percent cheaper in 2020 compared to 2019
  2. Health and safety advancements: In the year to come, concerns about staying safe while traveling will continue to impact every aspect of trip planning, from what type of accommodation to choose, to where to go to who to travel with. Since May, nearly 300,000 accommodation partners have added health and cleanliness information on, including enhanced cleaning, contactless check-in, social distancing and other guest safety measures.
  3. Majority of travellers booking flights about a month out: According to ARC data, in 2019, the average Singaporean traveller booked flights around 46 days in advance of their departure date, but during the onset of the pandemic, that window shortened to 43 days. The new normal (since August) is just 33 days out – with the average advance purchase dropping below the 35-day mark – and illustrating how travellers have adapted to the rapidly changing environment. However, with airlines eliminating change fees travellers may feel more confident booking further out, knowing they can always change their plans down the road.
  4. Travel bubbles and green lanes to aid in confidence building: Travel bubbles or green lanes are bilateral arrangements between countries to ease border restrictions and allow quarantine-free travel during the coronavirus outbreak. With the Singapore – Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble paving the way for international travel resumption, travellers can expect similar closely managed travel agreements to allow for consumers to explore destinations quarantine free.
  5. Maximising the trip: During lockdown, many travellers relied on virtual tours and activities to satisfy their wanderlust. But once able to roam again, whether it was just within their own cities or on a proper international getaway, travellers resumed looking to activities as a way to get the most out of their trips.

With the COVID-19 situation still evolving around the world, it’s important to stay safe and up-to-date on the latest travel guidance and restrictions. Find out what to expect, how to find flexible travel and other information via the Expedia COVID-19 travel guide.

To start planning for your next trip, visit

[1] Best day of the week to book recommendation is based on average round-trip ticket prices for January through early October, for both 2019 and 2020, sourced from ARC’s global airline sales database.

[2]Best day of the week to travel recommendation based on average round-trip ticket prices for January through early October, for both 2019 and 2020, sourced from ARC’s global airline sales database. Departure date determined by the first date of travel in an itinerary.

[3] Based on top searched destinations based on accommodation interest on between 1 January 2020 – 12 September 2020 for travel in 2021. 

[4] Trending destinations are some of the markets seeing the best growth year-over-year, based on accommodation demand on between 1 January 2020 – 14 September 2020 compared to the same timeframe in 2019.