What drives ticket site pricing mechanisms?
February 21, 2011 5:52 PM Subscribe
Do airplane ticket sites (Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, etc.) increase prices between successive browsing sessions, as well as manipulate prices so that they are in agreement with each other?
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Society & Culture (19 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
If I browse for a plane ticket from site S1 at time T1, I can buy a ticket at price P1.
If I browse site S2 at time T1 + five minutes, I can still buy a ticket at price P1. The price doesn't change between sites S1 and S2 (or Sn).
If I browse sites S1, S2, ..., Sn at time T1 + an hour, I can now buy a ticket at price P2, which is often substantially more than P1 (roughly 20% or more of P1).
If I come back a day later, the prices are still hovering around P2 — or higher. If I come back a week later, the prices are, again, still around P2 or higher. I never again observe pricing equal to or lower than P1, unless I browse from a different IP address (such as a work computer).
Is it standard practice to do price-fixing between ticket sites, which shares the visitor's IP address or other identifying information not only to fix prices between sites, but also raises and maintains higher prices if the visitor returns to any ticket site after a period of time?