Car rental companies are obviously suffering from the economic tsunami that the virus has brought to the travel industry. The obvious way they deal with the downturn is to not purchase any new vehicles and extend the life of their current inventory. For the car renter, this means that you probably won’t get that fresh new car smell when you rent a car this year. As a matter of fact, the car you rent will in some cases be a year old and later this year may almost be 2 years old. In addition to saving money by not buying new cars and extending the life of their current fleet, the car rental companies are facing the double whammy of the rapid decline in used car prices. The decline in the value of their fleet hits their balance sheet as their billions of dollars in car inventory is now worth billions less. This is one more reason you will see older cars in their fleet as they have two big incentives to squeeze every possible rental out of their current fleet. The mileage you see on your rental car will also increase dramatically from under 10,000 miles to in some cases 30,000 miles on the odometer. I also worry that older rental cars might result in more car breakdowns. This is the last thing that a car renter wants.
June is the month that I think the travel industry starts to come out of hibernation –
It looks like the travel industry worldwide is focusing on the month of June as the month when the travel industry will plug back in the open signs around the world. Even Italy, which took a heavy hit from the virus is giving the green light to the travel industry to open back up. It also appears that airlines are also seeing some small increases in traffic and even though most people expect we have hit bottom they also realize the recovery will probably be slow. You will know things are getting a little bit closer to normal when DisneyWorld opens their gates, which many people believe will be sometime in June. Even Las Vegas is betting that June will be the month some of the monster casinos will turn on the neon lights again. CLICK HERE to read an article about 21 hopeful signs for a reopening of the travel economy.
Frequent flyer mileage alert! Now is the time to make reservations using your frequent flyer miles! –
The inventory of available airline seats to redeem your frequent flyer miles appears to still be pretty open and available but I think it will close rapidly in the coming weeks. This morning I checked flights to London using miles for business class seats and it showed pretty good inventory for the “saver award” seats which use the lowest number of miles for free seat redemption. Domestic seats also appear to be readily available today. As you can imagine the virus has emptied out planes and the airlines have mothballed 80% of their planes until the traveling public returns. As the travel hibernation begins to wake in the coming weeks those empty seats for frequent flyer tickets will go away fast. There will be a very limited supply of frequent flyer mileage seats available as the airlines plan to fill up planes first before they add back additional flights.
Now, this is how a PR department can spin negative COVID-19 results into a positive press release –
I had to laugh this morning when I read the headline that a company (not to be mentioned) says they have offset 100% of carbon emissions generated by employee travel. I think every company in April and May, when nobody was traveling, can say that they have offset 100% of carbon emissions for employee travel as everyone was staying home! I hope this gives you a chuckle as well. Is this what they call taking lemons and making lemonade?
Travelers rediscover Travel Advisors during COVID-19 travel shutdown –
One silver lining for our industry was that thousands of travelers rediscovered the value that their friendly travel advisor brings to them when they travel. This was especially apparent for those traveling internationally. CLICK HERE to see a short video that shares several ways that travel advisors came to the rescue of their customers around the world.
We still have face masks available if you plan to travel –
Many airlines are requiring a face mask if you travel this year. Executive Travel has been able to secure additional 3-ply face masks as well as 4-ply KN95 face masks and will now make them available while supplies last. We have secured a price of 99 cents each (packages of 50 for a total of $49.50 per box) for the 3- ply, disposable masks that are FDA approved and certified. The KN95 masks are 4-ply, damp proof, non-woven fabric plus anti-dust cotton. The KN95 masks are available for a price of $3.99 each in packets of 10. Executive Travel is making these available at our cost as a service to our customers. Sales tax and shipping cost ($5) will be additional. If you are interested please email nancyc@executivetravel.