Warning! Booking a pre-paid, nonrefundable hotel room might be a disaster since as many as 8000 hotels may be closed by September –

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A hotel industry trade group recently reported (CLICK HERE) that as many as 8000 hotels may be casualties of COVID-19  as early as September if things don’t get better soon. These will not be just hotels at the bottom end of the quality chain but also 3, 4, and even 5-star hotels that will be turned back to the banks if travel does not rebound soon. With this in mind, we recommend you make any hotel reservation using a credit card and no more than 45 days in advance as a precaution against this hotel bankruptcy tsunami.  We also recommend that you also only make a room deposit and do not make a reservation for a non-refundable, pre-paid rate. Even the best hotels can go belly up in this environment and you will be left high and dry.

Calling an airline today can turn into a 3-hour nightmare – This past week I had a person tell me they were on hold for over 3 hours waiting to talk to one of the major airlines about changing their ticket. They tried 5 times and struck out every time. The current pandemic has caused hundreds of flights to be changed and canceled. We have seen some flights changed over 6 times in the last four months alone. Add to that canceled flights, rebooked flights, waiting on hold, and a host of other new requirements to fly and you have arrived at a question that must be asked. Why would you not use a professional travel advisor to make your travel reservations? I know this question is very self-serving, but I receive dozens of emails every week asking me to advise travelers on how to get them out of the mess they are in with their airline reservations. They tell me they have spent hours on the phone waiting to talk to an airline rep and even when they finally get through they are told there are no other options. Last week Executive Travel answered the phone in 7 seconds on average. We will coach you with options the airlines will never tell you about. We will search for alternate flights that will save you both time and money. The Oxford dictionary defines a masochist as a person who enjoys an activity that appears to be painful or tedious – The new COVID-19 definitions of a masochist surely might include some of the unlucky people who book directly with the airlines. Thanks for allowing me to get on my soapbox.

If you think getting ahold of an airline today is a nightmare you ain’t seen nothing yet! – Almost every airline has just recently announced they are preparing to cut their staffing by as much as 50% starting in October. This means even fewer customer service reps will be able to help you when you cry for help with a canceled or changed flight. One more big reason that your next trip should be reserved using a friendly professional travel advisor.

Marriott and Hyatt now require masks for guests – Now that almost all the airlines require masks to fly the hotels are getting in on the action. Marriott and Hyatt say that guests are now required to wear masks in the public areas of the hotels. I think Hilton is just around the corner to be the next domino to fall.

Will American, Alaska, and JetBlue all merge into one jumbo airline? – The scuttlebutt on the street is that these three airlines might consider a three-way marriage as a result of COVID-19. On the surface to the average person this might make sense, however, airline mergers are very complicated and expensive to pull off, plus they are extremely political. I don’t think any of these airlines have the money or time it takes to make a three-way merger happen. CLICK HERE to read more.

People who changed their travel plans from this spring/summer to this fall are now moving their travel to 2021 – It appears from many vacation travelers we talk to that had originally booked trips this spring/summer and moved them to this fall in hopes that the virus would calm down are now moving their vacations to next year in the hopes that a vaccine will show up soon. One thing I do know is there is an amazing amount of pent up demand as people want to get out and about and see the world again. Whenever that time arrives, I hope you will think of your friendly travel advisors at Executive Travel and give us a call at 402-435-8888.

 

 

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