Bargain-hunting travelers could see some relief from high hotel rates and airfares as demand slows and travel deals proliferate.
While the stock market is experiencing a record setting “Trump bump,” the U.S. travel industry is girding for a big slowdown in visitors from other countries resulting in a “Trump slump.”
That is bad news for the travel industry. But it’s good news for bargain hunting travelers faced with sky high rates in recent years, especially for hotels in cities favored by international visitors such as New York, Washington, Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
It’s also good news for frequent flyers and loyalty program members hoping to cash in points and miles on overseas trips as lower demand translates into more availability.
President Trump has cost the US travel industry $185 million in lost revenue, with significant drop in flight searches and bookings from the U.K. according to The Guardian. The British newspaper pointed to data released by Kayak this week showing that searches for flights to Miami, Tampa and Orlando from the U.K. are down almost 60 percent. San Diego searches are down 43 percent. Las Vegas is down 36 percent and Los Angeles is down 32 percent.
New York City tourism officials expect to see 300,000 fewer international visitors this year according to the New York Times- but it expects more domestic visitors.
Kayak says that according to its data, “Brits are falling out of love with the USA in a major way. Searches for flights to key U.S. destinations have fallen off a cliff.”
That lack of interest is already translating into lower rates. Kayak reports that average prices for hotel rooms in Las Vegas are down 39 percent on average, in San Francisco they are down 34 percent and even New York has seen hotel prices fall by 32 percent. (Rates could fall even more in SF according to this recent TravelSkills post)
Anecdotally, I’ve noticed a big drop in hotel rates in New York City, especially in the overcrowded mid-range. Last month I stayed in a New York Hilton Garden Inn for just $149 per night, and I’ve seen similar low rates all winter long, some extending into spring.
In the U.K., Kayak’s Suzanne Perry said, “The story of the summer is the fall of interest in the States. We noted that searches to the USA dropped after the new president came to office – but it seems like this is a longer-term trend. The US has historically been one of the most popular countries for Brits, but searches to popular destinations falling by over half in one year is a massive shift.”
The same thing is going on in the air. Searches for flights to the U.S. from international destinations are down 17% according to data analysts at Hopper.
To us, that lack of demand from overseas is translating into startlingly low fares between to US and Europe this winter and spring. Ultra-low-cost carriers are leading the way with ultra-low fares (as low as $250 round trip + fees). But it’s not just the low-fare airlines that lowering prices– we’ve seen the major airlines jump into the low-fare fray with round trips from the West Coast to Europe in the $400 range. Advance bookings for peak summer season are still in the $700 roundtrip range, which is a remarkably good deal.
With British Airways adding new nonstops to London from San Jose and Oakland this year, in addition to its two dailies at SFO, there is a LOT of new capacity in this market leading to unprecedented low fares. And if Europeans are not all that interested in coming to the US, I expect we’ll see good fares all year long as demand flattens.
So, bargain hunters rejoice while you can! We’ll see how long this party lasts.
Have you noticed that international travel is getting a lot cheaper? What’s the best deal you’ve seen so far? Please leave your comments below.
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