Inflation begins to weigh on travel planning.(photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / seb_ra)
It seems nothing can stop people from traveling this summer, but the fall is a different story.
New research from host agency Travel Experts is shedding light on how people are feeling about travel after this summer’s surge.
“While some expect the summer highs to carry over into the fall, there are now concerns that price increases, the volatile economy and lack of availability may put a damper on some level of bookings,” said Sharon Fake, Executive Director for Travel Experts.
While the mainstream market may slow, the luxury travel market is expected to continue at pace, however availability could be a hurdle, said Fake.
“Many of the advisors are telling their clients to book early in order to get what they want despite the current trend to book last minute,” she said.
Holly Lombardo of Lombardo Travel in Atlanta said that she expects travelers to continue to plan trips last-minute.
“The horses have been let out of the barn and 2022 will be a record year. There continues to be a lot of last-minute bookings for summer. A good number of clients are booking with four to six weeks’ notice and I expect the same for the fall travel season,” said Lombardo.
Suzanne Terry of Blue Sky Excursions in Boca Raton, Florida, noted that the lifting of testing requirements for the U.S. will boost fall travel.
“I am just starting to get new business for the fall,” said Terry. “I think that lifting the incoming Covid testing will have an impact on my clients wanting to travel internationally. And while I think the rise in prices will impact some travelers, I am not seeing that with luxury clients.”
Emily Webber of We Travel Luxe in Nashville agreed pointing out that older travelers will be ready to go to Europe when the kids go back to school.
“Once the kids go back to school, parents are involved with sports and busy life,” said Webber. “I usually don’t see as much travel in the fall season. However, when the kids go back to school the 60+ demographic will be ready to go to Europe during the slower time in the fall.”
Aerial View of Venice, Italy (Photo via Getty Images)
Travel advisors see the fall season as a continuation of the summer boom.
Kim Schott Steiger of Adventures Beyond Borders in St. Charles, Minnesota, said: “I foresee continued growth for the fall season, based on current level increases. Thus far people are paying the prices and are still hungry to travel. I see this slowing down within the next year if air pricing and gas prices do not decrease.”
Many advisors agree with Steiger that a slowdown due to prices is coming.
“I have some bookings for the fall which have been booked well in advance and I expect sales to pick up in July as the trend of booking two to three months before departure has been pretty steady this year. However, I have already had two clients change their mind due to the rising cost of living and also the cost of airfare,” said Mary Catherine Sinkule, a travel advisor in Birmingham, Alabama.
So far, travel advisors agree that most people are willing to pay the price to travel after more than two years of restrictions. However, prices are impacting how clients travel.
“The rising costs are not so much deterring travel as determining the level at which my clients are traveling,” said Lynn Juliano of Dewey Beach, Delaware. “Some who would travel first class have moved down to business class or even down to premium economy, many others are spending their miles versus cash.”
Peggy Purtell a Milwaukee-based travel advisor agreed.
“While rising prices could definitely impact travel plans for the fall, our luxury clientele will not be affected, but our more cost-conscious clients may defer travel plans until the economy settles down,” said Purtell. “Those clients may travel, but will take domestic trips versus international trips.”
In a true sign of the times, Sharon Andrade a travel advisor in Cary, North Carolina, shared her advice to clients for this busy travel season.
“I am letting my clients know everything is not the same in travel and they may have delays, bags lost, etc.,” she said. “Please pack patience, understanding, a sense of humor and their favorite adult beverage.”
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