Business, Leisure Travelers Can Expect Fewer Vacancies and a Pricey Summer Season

Advanced Planning Key to Finding Good Deals

PHOENIX, March 6 /PRNewswire/ — Travel is back, says David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International. Hotels are getting fuller, faster as the travel industry prepares for one of the busiest seasons on record. Consumers may be in for sticker-shock this summer (starting Memorial Weekend) when they realize their dollar won’t be going as far as in previous years — and oftentimes key destinations will be sold out completely.

To avoid shelling out more money than necessary will now require serious planning and prioritizing. For instance, travelers seeking a good deal for Memorial Day weekend, a summer vacation or a summertime business trip could miss out on the best deals if they don’t act quickly.

WHY IS TRAVEL SO EXPENSIVE THIS YEAR?

Rising energy costs and the resurgence of business travel is creating more demand for hotel rooms than available supply. Hoteliers and corporate travel planners alike are predicting that people who have enjoyed artificially low prices in past years at luxury or upscale properties might now find themselves priced out of those segments. Rising hotel rates will continue to drive people to mid-scale hotel chains such as Best Western — which offers good value and a host of free amenities.

Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) predicts the average daily hotel rate nationwide will rise by 5.8 percent this year, after an increase of 5.3 percent last year. Kong says average room rates will continue to rise to an all time high in 2006, echoing PWC’s report that prices have increased from $90 to $96+ since 2005 alone.

The best bargains are being booked early by a growing number of inbound international travelers. The Travel Industry Association of America predicts that international travel to the United States will rise 5.5 percent over 2005.

‘VALUE’ IS THE KEY TO A BETTER TRIP

According to Kong, consumers who focus more on the value for the price will be in the best position to have a great trip without breaking the bank. Families traveling with children, for instance, should see if their destination offers a combination hotel/amusement option, such as the new Best Western Edgewater Resort in Duluth, Minnesota. “The Edge,” which features an exploding volcano and a 400-foot-long lazy river, is one of the 20 largest indoor water parks in the United States.

Those who frequently travel on business should take advantage of the money-saving incentive programs many airlines and hotels offer; they’re a great way to earn points for free flights and free hotel nights. Seasonal promotions also help travelers earn special and faster rewards. For example, members of Best Western’s free Gold Crown Club International program who stay six nights at any Best Western hotel between June 4 and August 19 will receive a collectible Nickelodeon The Fairly OddParents Travel Card worth $50.

Related Articles