US winter holiday advanced bookings lag

US: Figures from Guesty claim that advanced bookings for Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve have fallen by 16, 35 and 33 per cent respectively from last year.

This may signal a dip in consumer confidence due to a potential winter flu and coronavirus resurgence.

Summer bookings had maintained well after the reopening of US hospitality. Guesty recorded Labour Day bookings as falling by only five per cent from last year.

Omer Rabin, Guesty’s managing director, Americas, told CNBC: “We have seen holiday bookings fluctuate month over month based on consumer confidence in regards to lifting restrictions and recovery and, on the flip side, wane when the virus gains traction. As many assume that the colder seasons will result in an uplift in cases, it’s no surprise we see a decrease in bookings over the holiday season.”

Public health experts have warned that the winter period could bring a double-barrel germ season, with a spike in coronavirus cases and the regular winter flu season. Travel professionals say this, in addition to economic insecurity, is causing the drop in advance booking,

However, the shift towards booking accommodation last minute may mitigate the advanced booking drop. Guesty noted that August bookings made within a week of travel were the majority of bookings, with a rise in same-day and one-day reservations.

Adobe’s Digital Economy Index showed this effect in flight reservations. For the week prior to Labour Day, travellers booked 19 per cent more flights than the week prior.

John Copeland, Adobe’s vice president of marketing and customer insights, said: “If Labour Day is any indication, consumers may be ready to travel during the upcoming holiday season, although bookings may not come in until the last minute. While the travel industry is still recovering, we are starting to see more people willing to book flights – just much closer to their departure date.”

Many luxury destinations are also seeing consistent sales. Properties like Rosewood Little Dix Bay in the BVIs and two Soneva properties in the Maldives are currently near full occupancy.