You might not be able to find a car to rent later this year
The rental car companies are facing a perfect storm as they try to exit the COVID pandemic. When COVID hit the travel industry a year ago the car rental companies shed cars to generate cash. Now it appears that as the vaccine is accelerating the car rental companies most probably will not be able to add new inventory to their fleet fast enough to keep up with the demand that is anticipated. Add to this the car manufacturers are having a hard time getting certain parts and they have had to shut down factories, thus presenting the car rental companies an even bigger obstacle. If you are planning to travel this year, please don’t assume a car rental will be available when you arrive without a reservation. We have been spoiled and taken for granted that we can always just get up and go.
Giant airfare sale may be the last one this year – I received an email today from Southwest Airlines announcing a giant airfare sale offering tickets to some cities as low as $29 one-way for tickets purchased by this Thursday. Obviously, seats are very limited and the lowest prices are only for travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for travel starting April 13 through June 2, 2021, domestically. We think some other airlines may match this sale. This may be one of the last big airfare sales this year as we have seen a dramatic increase in travel reservations during the last two weeks as more and more Americans get vaccinated. It appears many people want to get out of Dodge quickly. I have been predicting that you should make your airline reservations before Memorial Day if you plan to travel later this year. After that time prices could soar as demand outpaces supply.
Get ready for a travel surge – It is happening fast as seniors are getting vaccinated from COVID. We are seeing the phone lines light up and people making reservations grow every day. The more vaccinations the more phone calls we get. I don’t think we will rebound to pre-COVID numbers but it sure feels nice to hear the phones ring again. The largest part of our business is working with business travelers and that business is still very slow but I have been encouraged to see more conventions and meetings being announced in the second half of 2021 and into 2022. Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train after all.
I am predicting super inflation around the world later this year that will touch everything including travel – For the past 10 plus years, we have experienced literally zero inflation in the world. That is all about to change rapidly. If you read the official government reports they say inflation is under 2%. However, I can tell you firsthand that the world is seeing massive inflation across the board in materials and labor costs and assets. We work with factories in India and China and they are increasing prices 5-15% on materials. Shipping costs have gone up 35% to 135%. Even things like the price of cardboard are skyrocketing. Look around you at the prices of houses which are going up 10-15% a year. Have you watched the price of gasoline in the last 30 days? And simple things like lumber have doubled in prices. Inflation is massive and it is everywhere. Add to all this new COVID stimulus of $1.9 trillion and the U.S. will have a total debt of $30 trillion this year. I hate to admit it but this is looking like the 1980s when we saw interest rates for mortgages reach 18.45%. I hope I am wrong. How will this affect travel? Many people who want to travel later this year think that because the travel industry has been so depressed they will get a steal on their trips. You will in the next couple of months but after that, I could see giant increases in travel prices if you have not locked in your reservations.
Two Great Fall Getaways with Women of the Midwest – This travel concept is perfect for you if you would like to travel, but don’t want to go alone. “Travel Solo Together” is what this is all about. Take off with a maximum of 20 like-minded women and if you don’t have a roommate, our “Pair & Share”-service can assist! This October 2-8, Boston, Cape Cod, and the Islands are calling. This is a delightful fall foliage trip including Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket Island, Newport, cranberry bogs, scenic coastal areas, great foods …CLICK HERE to learn more. Or how about Mackinac Island and Niagara Falls, October 8-15, including two nights at the majestic Grand Hotel? Victorian Age architecture, great lakes, yummy fudge, a Bavarian settlement, and a ride in a Tin Lizzie! How fun this tour is! CLICK HERE to see the detailed itinerary. Call or email our friendly group department today, (402) 858-0033 / GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com, ask for Beth, you won’t regret it!