US travel booking sites see strong summer demand
The desire to simply get away from it all is stronger for American travelers than the higher cost of fuel and (so far) fears of another outbreak of coronavirus variants.
U.S. booking sites including Vrbo, Hopper and KAYAK see increased demand for leisure travel in spring and summer as COVID-19 restrictions ease and travelers seem unaware of additional costs airline tickets and road journeys due to rising fuel prices.
“We are seeing strong booking activity for Spring Break and the start of a very strong summer,” said Jamie Lane, vice president of research at AirDNA, which tracks the daily performance of more than 10 million properties. on vacation rental companies Airbnb and Vrbo.
Oil soared to over $100 a barrel as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rattled global markets. But U.S. carriers, including Delta Air Lines Inc, United Airline Holdings Inc and American Airlines Inc, reported a strong rebound in travel demand this week after the blip caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Data from AirDNA indicates that the pace of spring travel bookings in the Northern Hemisphere is 49% higher than last year at this time and 26% higher than pre-pandemic in 2019.
“The rush to book summer vacation homes has accelerated further in 2022,” Vrbo said in a statement earlier this month. The vacation rental booking platform reports that demand for properties has already exceeded last summer by 15%.
“When reviewing booking data, it’s clear that Omicron was a bigger concern for travelers than rising fuel costs,” said Dakota Smith, chief strategy officer at Hopper, a booking app. of travel.
The app, which is popular among young travellers, has seen a 50% increase in travel bookings since the fourth quarter of 2021.
Air carriers are counting on strong demand to cope with rising fuel prices. Some airlines intend to pass the majority of this increase on to customers.
“As gasoline prices hit record highs, jet fuel prices may not be far behind…this summer travel season can be costly,” said Paul Jacobs, managing director and vice president. of KAYAK North America. Flight prices rose 17% last week compared to the same week in 2019, according to KAYAK.
Rising fuel costs will, however, have less of an impact on domestic and short-haul flights, and it appears that the preference of pandemic-era US travelers for these trips will continue and may persist as the war continues. Ukraine drags on, Hopper’s Smith said. .
Hopper said U.S. bookings to Europe have fallen from 21% of Hopper’s international bookings to 15% since Feb. 12, with international bookings shifting to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Those locations now account for 61% of Hopper’s international bookings, according to Smith. Europe accounted for around 30% of Hopper’s international bookings in 2019.
According to AirDNA, business travel and travel to urban areas have yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
Investors will also get another glimpse of the recovery in leisure travel when Carnival Corp reports earnings on Tuesday. Carnival is expected to post a loss of $1.21 a share on average, while revenue climbs to more than $2 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
(Reporting by Doyinsola Oladipo, editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
This article was written by Doyinsola Oladipo of Reuters and has been legally licensed through Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].