With so many Black Friday travel deals up for grabs, it can be easy to get a bit carried away in all the excitement. However, the big question we all need to ask ourselves each and every time is: is it really a good deal?
The good news is that when it comes to flights and hotels, there’s a really simple hack that’s going to make it super easy for you to work out if you’ve found a bargain or not.
How to find out if the Black Friday price is actually cheaper than before
The best way to know if you’ve found a great deal is to have been tracking the price before the Black Friday sales hit. I like to set up a spreadsheet and then it’s simply a case of checking the sale price against what it was in the previous days.
However, with sales dropping earlier than ever, you may find that you’ve missed the boat. But don’t worry – when it comes to flights and hotels, there is another way to check.
It’s thanks to some extremely handy but less known price tracking tools that are available for free on Google.
How to check to see if you're getting a good deal on a hotel on Black Friday
Let’s start with hotels.
First, you need to choose a hotel – I’m going to use ‘Treehouse Hotel London‘ as an example since Hotels.com are currently displaying that you can save up to 30% on it thanks to their Black Friday Sale which means you’ll save a whopping £207.
(Don’t worry, I’m not about to book a £500 hotel – I’m simply using it as an example!)
With our hotel decided, we’re going to head to Google Hotels and search for ‘Treehouse Hotel London’ and pop in our dates – which in this case were checking in on Monday 12th December 2022 for 1 night.
Now, the obvious thing to check here is if the price is actually the cheapest with Hotels.com and from a quick look we can see that it’s not. It’s actually cheaper to book with both Booking.com for £451 a night or direct with Treehouse Hotel itself for £459 a night.
However, that still doesn’t answer our question of “is a night at Treehouse Hotel London on our dates cheaper or more expensive than it was before the Black Friday sale?”
For this bit of information, you need to make sure you’ve clicked on ‘Overview’ on Google Hotels.
Underneath a summary of the different prices should be a little bar that looks like this:
If it’s not there (this can sometimes happen) select some other dates until it pops up, and then use those dates to cross check the prices with the website you’ve come from.
Next, you’ll click on ‘Show price range’, which will reveal whether the price is ‘low’, ‘typical’ or ‘high’ compared to usual. This is really useful in general – but actually we can go one step further in determining how good a deal is.
To do this, you need to click on ‘Show price history’.
And this is where you feel like a real detective as Google Hotels brings up the price per night for the dates you selected for the last 30 days.
In the case of Treehouse Hotel London, the results are pretty revealing as they show that the price we’ve found is the highest it’s been in the last month and in fact, the room looks like it was as little as £300 just a day or two ago.
In fact, the stand out detail for me is that it has not even been close to reaching the £689 price in the last 30 days – so where has that number come from?
As I hover over the £689 on Hotels.com, a message pops up that says “the struck-out price is based on the property’s standard rate on our site, as determined and supplied by the property”.
And that makes sense – Hotels.com just reflects the data that its given by the hotels on its site and so next I headed over to Treehouse’s website itself which also states an original price of £656.
I did try calling the reservations team to confirm where the £656 is based on – they didn’t know – and therefore I can only assume that it’s some sort of generic rate assigned to the room, though not one we often see reflected in the price unless the hotel and dates are nearing full occupancy.
But anyway, the main takeaway here is that whilst you may still be happy with the price, the deal looks a lot better than it actually is.
Does this mean all Black Friday hotel deals aren't worthwhile?
Using the exact same method I decided to check this deal from Hotels.com staying for one night at St. James’ Court hotel in London on Mon 12th December 2022.
And whilst there was a more competitive price with third party site Agoda at just £228 a night, the price graph on Google Hotels did show that the price per night was considerably lower than it had been in the last 30 days.
So there will absolutely be some great deals to be had, just make sure you check each and every so that you can be confident that you’ve nabbed yourself an absolute bargain.
How to Check You’re Getting a Good Black Friday Flight Deal
The method for checking to see if flight prices have gone up or down is very similar to checking hotels.
First, you need to choose a flight that you’re interested in buying. Then you’re going to head to Google Flights and pop in where you’re flying from, to and the dates you want to go on.
At the time of writing, there’s no huge flight sales on just yet so I’ve just found a well price flight between London to New York flight on 7th and 11th December 2022.
Now, you can already see our friend the price bar lurking beneath the options and this is really handy at giving us a quick snapshot of the prices for the cheapest possible flight across the last 50 days or so.
As we’re getting close to the flight date, this steady rise in price is pretty normal.
However, this is generic info based on the cheapest flight possible and there’s even more price data available once you’ve selected the flights that you’re after.
In my case, I’ve selected the £389 round trip with jetBlue.
Once I’ve confirmed my outbound and inbound flight by clicking on them, I can scroll down to see another graph which shows the price history of this exact flight for the last 57 days.
What I really love about this is that if you click on any part of the graph, it will specify how much it was how long ago. It also gives helpful hints as to what it expects the price to do in the next few days.
At this moment in time, jetBlue haven’t announced a sale but if they had, I would be able to determine whether the discount they were offering was as good as they were making it out to be.
Psst – shoutout to jetBlue though because these prices are already pretty damn decent and I really enjoyed their economy section when I flew with them in February 2022.
How to Book Good Black Friday Deals With Low Cost Airlines
My final thing to say about flights is if you’re keeping an eye on prices for journeys with low cost airlines, make sure you check the price of not only the fare but any extras you want as well.
This as because sometimes airlines can drop the fares but boost the prices of seats and baggage to compensate – I noticed it when I was writing up my guide to avoiding extra costs on low cost airlines!
Unfortunately there’s no way to check what the costs were before so if the sale hasn’t started yet, go and check it out rightaway!