Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Travel Deal Tuesday Travel Deals Back with a Vengeance
(This is a slightly different version of a story we prepared for NBC News)
The pandemic put a ground hold on travel for much of the past 18 months. But with global travel restrictions lifting and holiday retail sales expected to shatter previous records, the travel industry is already rolling out Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for those whose holiday shopping lists include experiences, reunions with friends and family, and bucket list adventures.
“Sweaters are nice but what people really want this holiday season is a warm embrace from family and friends,” says Mike Daher, vice-chair, U.S. transportation, hospitality, and services non-attest leader for Deloitte.
With 42% of Americans planning to travel between Thanksgiving and mid-January, Daher doesn’t anticipate travel sites, airlines, hotels, or other attractions extending many promotions and discounts for travel during the holiday season. But that doesn’t mean eager travelers won’t be looking for bargains now and into the new year.
Where are the Deals?
“Although holiday travel demand is expected to reach 2019 levels, travelers are still very hungry for deals as a result of widespread consumer inflation,” says Brett Keller, Chief Executive Officer at Priceline. “So Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are now even more important than ever as consumers are looking for ways to save money.”
As they did last year, many companies are kicking off their sales early. Flexibility is still the watchword. But while some properties are offering their best deals, others may be pulling back a bit from last year’s fire sale offers.
The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel on the top floors of the historic former Meier & Frank department store building in downtown Portland, is offering its deepest discounts ever. From Black Friday through Cyber Monday, rates for king rooms, regularly $289, can be booked for $199, while the Presidential Suite can be had for $1999 instead of $4299 for stays between December 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022.
“We want travelers back in Portland so they can see how we’re thriving,” said Kasey Connor, the Nines’ Director of Sales & Marketing. “A great deal can be the determining factor for any traveler on the hunt, so we pulled out our best one yet.”
The Caribbean island of Saint Lucia has more than 30 hotel and villa deals for Cyber Monday, a dozen more than last year, conveniently gathered in one place. Discounts at some properties may be slightly less in percentage than last year, but there are still extremely generous deals, says Colette McDermott, Marketing Manager, Saint Lucia Tourism Association. For example, the Ti Kaye Resort is offering 55% off 2022 dates plus perks such as hotel credits and spa discounts.
Get ready to shop
Finding the best travel deal during the Black Friday/ Cyber Monday shopping frenzy can be stressful. Experts recommend working up a wish list of destinations and travel times and doing some homework on current prices, so you’ll recognize the deals.
Sign up for the newsletters and frequent travel programs of airlines, hotels, destinations, and online travel agencies such as Expedia, Booking.com, Priceline, etc. to get early bird offers, which often come with extra discounts. (You can always unsubscribe later). Check to see if the destination you want to visit has a Black Friday/Cyber Monday landing page gathering up all the deals in one place. Myrtle Beach, S.C. has one, Orlando has one, and others will too. Also, before you hit ‘buy’ on any booking, check the cancellation and change rules, which may be more restrictive than last year.
And don’t forget Travel Deal Tuesday, on November 30. It is a growing ‘holiday’ when many travel brands roll out bonus deals and offers. Based on its analysis of historical pricing data, booking travel app Hopper found that the Tuesday following Thanksgiving has consistently offered the most significant volume of deals that week.
You’ll find many deals already available for booking. Some do not go live until Black Friday. But here are some to get you started.
National Park visits surged during the pandemic and still top many travelers’ wish lists. Xanterra, which owns or operates lodges in Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, Death Valley, and Grand Canyon South Rim will offer a “Book Your Bucket List” sale through Tuesday, November 30. (Stay dates vary by site).
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, with 27 properties in 16 countries, will be offering up to 50% off the best available rates at its urban properties and up to 30% off at its resort properties, exceeding last year’s discounts. Book November 26 (Black Friday) to November 30 (Travel Tuesday) for stays through June 30, 2022. Use promo code CYBER21.
Viceroy Hotels & Resorts discounts will be up to 35% off across the brand with flexible cancellations. “We believe it is still important to offer flexible cancellations to encourage travel and offer guests peace of mind when traveling with us,” said Jane O’Shea, Viceroy’s VP of Sales.
Graduate Hotels, with locations in 30 university towns in the US, plus Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, plans a Cyber Monday Sale with discounts of up to 50% off. Book by December 3 for stays through March 31, 2022. (Link goes live Nov 29).
Virgin Hotels, with properties in New Orleans, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, and Las Vegas will launch a Black Friday sale with 25% off on stays between November 26, 2021, and December 31, 2022. (Booking window Nov 26 through January 2, 2022). As a bonus, anyone booking during the sale will automatically be entered for a chance to win a free upgrade to each property’s penthouse suite.
Planes and trains
Amtrak usually rolls out a generous Black Friday deal, so be on the lookout for that. Many airlines will likely join in on Black Friday as well. Alaska Airlines traditionally offers one of its largest sales of the year on Black Friday. And Turkish Airlines is lining up its “Friday Flyday” offer with discounts networkwide available for booking on November 26.
Cruises and Tours
Hurtigruten will be offering 50% off most of its expedition cruise line destinations online through November 30. The cruise line has also lowered its deposit requirement to 10% (from 20%) for the sale.
Virgin Voyages, Richard Branson’s new adults-only cruise line, is offering 20% off voyages on Black Friday/Cyber Monday for both Scarlet Lady’s Caribbean voyages and Valiant Lady’s European voyages. Booking window through November 29 for various sail windows.
And tour operators such as luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, and EF Ultimate Break, which offers Gen Z- and millennial-tailored group travel experiences will be offering Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals on adventures through 2022 and beyond.