Hotel Exec Says Holiday Travel Will Stay Busy, Despite Increased Costs
If you thought summer travel was stressful and expensive, just wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas 2022.
Pricey plane tickets most likely won't stop millions from boarding flights to see friends and family this holiday season.
Peter Strebel, chairman of Omni Hotels & Resorts, spoke to FOX Business this week and said that despite inflation, he thinks holiday travel and spending will continue to keep his employees — and the rest of the travel industry — hard at work.
"We've been very, very busy, which is great to see," he said.
"People have spent the last two Christmases away from their family, away from their friends," Strebel said. "There's a thirst for getting people back together."
Travel company Hopper has also predicted a packed and pricey season for holiday travelers.
"More than half of Americans plan to travel for one or both of the holidays this year, with 70% of travelers planning to visit friends and family," Hopper wrote in its 2022 Holiday Travel Outlook.
The company predicted most travelers will shell out $350 a ticket for "a good deal domestic Thanksgiving flight," and $463 for the same Christmas.
Omni Hotels has a little over 50 properties in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, with several hotels in major cities such as Toronto and Chicago, and touristy destinations like Cancun. It also owns historical hotels in towns such as New Orleans and Bedford, Pennsylvania.
A room for two people Omni Chicago Hotel in Chicago in October starts at about $350 a night, for example, with a luxury suite that costs $722 a night.
"I think the cost [of travel] is definitely going to be a lot more than it has been," Strebel said, but added that since the Omni customer base is "a little more on the luxury side of the coin" he doesn't expect his business to be "affected as much by the inflation."
He also said summer travel brought the hotel to "almost-recovered" status, with it exceeding its top 2019 numbers every month since May.
Despite a summer with cancellations, delays, and angry passengers, the average airline ticket for an urban consumer is up 33% from August 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and about 8% from August 2019. Increased demand, as well as high fuel costs, have contributed to the increase in prices.
Strebel told Fox Omni has been working on renovating hotels like the Homestead Resort in Virginia, which has been around since the 1700s, and building new ones as it meets increased demand, such as one in Tempe, Arizona, near Arizona State University, which is slated to open in Spring 2023.
Still, inflation may affect another holiday spending. Forty percent of shoppers surveyed said inflation would alter their purchasing habits, according to Bankrate.
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