Travel: already book post-COVID
Bargains are available for trips starting in early August, notably with Transat Holidays to Cuba.
Dreaming about post-COVID is one thing. Reserving a vacation? It’s one more step that some travellers are already taking, to save big on hotels, all-inclusive packages and even… cruises. Some are even already buying their vacation items, such as swimsuits, clothes…others are buying a second-hand camera so they don’t have to buy a new one, because they don’t think they will be too disappointed if they don’t have to go on vacation because of the pandemic.
Violaine Ballivy La Presse
“Yes, we still make reservations every day,” confirms Moscow Côté, president of the Association of Travel Agents of Quebec. At his Montreal agency, weekly volume has dropped considerably – the drop is more than 90% – but “people can’t stand being confined anymore, they want to leave and be ready to do so as soon as possible.
These days, all-inclusive packages to the South at Christmas cost about 20% less than the price posted at this time last year, and there are also bargains for travel starting in early August, notably with Transat Holidays to Cuba.Of course, all sales are conditional on the reopening of borders, and buyers should be aware that the trip may be postponed, and in that case, before taking out their credit card, they should check the terms and conditions in case of cancellation: will they be entitled to a credit for a future trip? Or a refund? The first option is more common.
Promotions in hotels
Deserted since the beginning of the crisis, some hotels are offering “pay now, get more later” discounts to ensure a certain amount of money during this period of scarcity.The U.S. site Hotels Credits sells vouchers at nearly 30 boutique hotels around the world – the Sixty in Soho, the Habitas in Tulum – entitling guests to a bonus of 50% of the price paid: by paying $200 now, they will get a $300 credit to spend when travel is allowed again. If the establishment does not survive the crisis, a full refund is promised.
The Association des hôteliers du Québec has not heard of any similar initiatives in the province.
This summer, we are advocating an awareness campaign to promote local purchasing, encouraging customers to go directly to hotels, not to use online reservation agencies, so that the commissions taken in the process do not go outside Quebec.
Xavier Gret, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association des hôteliers du Québec
Currently, 60% of the province’s hotels are under “suspension of operations” and the rest have an average occupancy rate of just 5%. 75% of Quebec hotel guests are Quebecers during the summer months, but the resumption of operations will be conditional on the lifting of travel bans from one region to another.