Christmas trips are already full – welcome to the “shortage of everything”

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After an eighteen-month Covid-19 travel ban and a subsequent level of travel discomfort for many people, it now looks like a dramatic change is happening. People are looking to travel again, and as borders open up, internationally as well. Demand is so pent up that analysts are already seeing bookings skyrocket.

There is just one major problem. Globally, Covid-19 is leaving huge economic problems in its wake, many of which will impact anyone’s ability to travel during the holiday season. Labor shortages are so widespread, things so hard to find, prices so expensive, which many call this season the winter of discontent, and many seats, cars and hotel rooms have already been taken. .

The irony is, of course, that at the precise moment when the travel bans are lifted, people can no longer travel.

The end of travel bans in the United States and Australia

By Christmas, two of the top long-haul destinations for many travelers (Australia and the United States) will be open again, as both recently announced the end of their travel bans, in effect since March 2020. .

Australia should be open (once it has reached an 80% vaccination rate) and indeed, Sydney announced it will be open to fully vaccinated travelers from November 1.

America will lift its travel ban on November 8, meaning travelers from the EU and UK can visit for the first time in nearly 600 days and U.S. land borders to open in November too much. Sean Doyle, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, called the opening of the United States “a pivotal moment for the entire travel industry”.

More people plan to travel during the holidays than in previous years

Statistics show that everyone will be on the road. A new PWC study on Consumer Confidence has reported that more and more people are considering travel and pampering, as confidence returns and Covid-19 infections decline.

52% of Americans plan to travel and many will choose to do so by air (40%, although this figure rises to 57% for those with household income over $ 150,000). The study concluded that different groups of people feel very different levels of comfort about traveling again and that a holistic customer approach will no longer work.

Many travel companies are also reporting the same: Trivago predicts an increase in travel demand in 2022 and an increase in demand for pleasure travel to see friends and family, both nationally and internationally.

And the problem will be compounded by the fact that people across the United States have accumulated vacations that must be taken before the end of the year, or they will lose them. In a recent Airbnb survey conducted from September 20 to 26 with 7,500 consumers in five major markets — the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia — about half of them are at risk of losing their paid leave by the end of the year if they do not use it.

Travel agencies experience labor shortages

Airlines will obviously organize more flights to meet demand –Axes reported as Jonathan Kletzel, head of airline and travel practice at PWC, noted that “airlines cannot increase capacity fast enough”.

However, the looming headache is the labor shortages felt in the United States and those specifically related to vaccination mandates for workers. News week reported that American Airlines and Southwest Airlines workers threaten to strike for vaccination warrants.

What else, Bloomberg reported that it is proving difficult to get pilots back into the air quickly – many are out of practice as the Covid-19 disruptions in the aviation industry have kept 100,000 pilots on the ground and many are now making mistakes in the air.

There is very little stock of anything left

Shortages are felt around the world and are likely to continue throughout the winter (the UK pushes forward pre-Christmas sales, for example, and Atlantic called him the “everything is missing”).

Axes reported that there are very few places available to get to the destination, that there are very few Airbnb properties left and that there is such a shortage of rental cars, that car owners compete with car rental companies. The Points Guy even noted that there is a total shortage of suitcases available for purchase.

The cost of everything is increasing

Not surprisingly, many people find that the cost of travel and related items is increasing. Data from travel firm Guesty suggests Christmas will be the most expensive holiday of 2021, with consumers booking at prices 53% higher than in 2020 and 80% higher than before Covid in 2019. The average price per night for Christmas 2021 is $ 599 / night, compared to $ 392 / night in 2020 and $ 332 / night in 2019. Christmas guest booking volume in the US is up 469% from 2020 and is currently 157% higher than pre-Covid 2019 volume.

The logical conclusion to these labor shortages, supply chain issues, sudden changes in travel bans and pent-up travel demand, both internationally and nationally, means that if people haven’t already booked their vacations, now is the time to make plans before it is too late to do so. The stressful factor for many is that there may not be anything available or at least not affordable.


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