For America’s tourism industry, just one year can make a huge difference. In September 2020, the US tourism industry faced many difficulties because the number of bookings dropped sharply during the Christmas holiday. By September, the situation had completely reversed, with many hotels announcing that they were fully booked for the holiday season.
US tourism welcomes the end of the holiday season in 2021
Observers say Americans are booking their Christmas accommodations this year earlier than usual, despite a worrying increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases caused by the highly contagious Delta variant. .
Mr. Tim White, founder of travel website Milepro.com, said the main reason is vaccines and mass vaccination programs. Major hotel chains such as Hilton and Marriott both recorded a ‘spike’ in holiday bookings.
But what’s remarkable here is not just that booking rates are exceeding the lackluster 2020 numbers. Many companies report bookings for holiday trips now surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
Carolyn Corda, chief marketing officer of tourism promotion company Adara, said the increase in the number of new COVID-19 infections in the summer has not caused the number of travel bookings to decline. This shows that US tourists are no longer inclined to cancel trips because of COVID-19 fears.
The trend of booking earlier than every year
Mohonk Mountain House, a resort in New York’s Hudson Valley, kicked off this year’s holiday campaign on July 6 – the earliest in the resort’s 152 years of operation. Also according to data from Mohonk, the number of bookings in December 2021 here has increased by 60% compared to three years ago.
Alisha Kapur, senior manager for travel at analytics firm Similarweb, said that the number of Internet search queries for travel in December was five times higher than in August last year. This expert evaluates the data showing that the majority of US tourists choose to travel domestically this Christmas season.
This year, instead of a white Christmas, American tourists prefer hiking trips, beaches and sunny areas.
Kapur said that national parks continue to win the hearts of American tourists. Meanwhile, Hawaii was the destination that recorded the highest demand.
Data from travel booking website VacationRenter shows interest in Hawaii has slowed, after Governor David Ige asked travelers to limit travel to the archipelago last month. However, the number of holiday bookings there still ‘sprung up’ to 100% this past weekend, despite the possibility of the area being imposed a blockade order.
Upmarket areas are ‘hotter’
Besides, a notable trend is that the number of bookings at luxury resort chains also increased sharply.
A representative of the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa in Florida said more than 90% of their hotel rooms were booked for the December holiday.
Hospitality and hotel property investment firm Ohana Real Estate Investors said December bookings rose the most at its top-tier hotels, up 62% from 2019 levels in one country. location number.
Ohana also said that the pre-arrival booking time at the hotel is now six to nine months, nearly double what it was in 2019 at the company’s high-end hotels.
Ohana senior manager James Cole rates luxury hotels with higher bookings because wealthy travelers want to see their family, friends – or something to look forward to at the end. year. He said many people are increasing their spending on travel, especially during the holiday period.
Finally, psychological factors also play a certain role. According to Mr Coel, many travelers book rooms out of fear of missing out. They may talk to neighbors or friends and realize that those groups all have vacation plans for the Christmas break. Although this is not a big factor, it also contributes to the promotion of holiday bookings in the US.
Costs escalate, reduce incentives
According to Cole, procrastinators may end up paying more as they continue to wait to book.
He pointed out that the lower priced rooms will sell out first. And while cancellations still happen on a daily basis, hotels and resorts may be able to release available rooms near the holiday at a higher price.
According to Ohana’s expert, contrary to popular belief, hotels do not want to sell out of rooms early. He judged they wanted some room available for those “willing to pay more”.
Meanwhile, the private sector manager Matt Clayden at UK-based Intrigue Travel said that the European region is seeing similar price increases.
According to Mr. Clayden, customers still expect attractive packages from both hotels and airlines. But the reality is completely opposite. Currently, airlines and hotels are so busy that there are almost only booking classes and premium bookings left.
Booking site Priceline estimates that average daily hotel prices are up 14% over the 2019 holiday season, but Milepro expert White says online travel sites can cause prices to escalate even more. more.
According to guest house management software company Guesty, vacation rental rates are on the rise. Specifically, rental prices on sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, Expedia and TripAdvisor are increasing and could be up to 82% higher than the prices recorded during the 2019 holiday period.
Guesty says Christmas is likely to be the most expensive holiday in the US this year. The company assessed that American tourists no longer preferred traditional, crowded hotels. At the same time, a sharp increase in bookings is reducing the number of homes available, driving prices even higher.
However, the increase in rental house prices did not take place evenly across the markets. Data from the VacationRenter website shows that while winter vacation rents rose in places like California, Colorado and Hawaii, they fell slightly in Tennessee and Florida.
Not only stopping for this year’s holiday season, many tourists have booked rooms in advance for next year’s holidays. Similarwweb expert Kapur said that in August, the number of searches for travel in 2022 has doubled compared to searches for 2021. This shows that the travel demand of Americans may still be high. in the next year.
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