Travel roars back — and summer rentals book up

Bookings on apps such as Hopper are up by 58%

Whether it’s to reunite with grandparents or an escape from work-from-home, Americans have set their sights on summer travel amid mass vaccination efforts.

Searches for late flights on travel apps such as Hopper have increased by about 75 percent since February, the New York Times reported. More people hit KAYAK too, with its search traffic growing up to 27 percent each week.

Those searches have led to actual decisions: Hopper reports that domestic bookings are up by 58 percent this month compared to all of March 2019, the newspaper said.

This booking boom comes a year into the pandemic, which sent the U.S. hotel market’s occupancy rates down to 41.6 percent for 2020. That’s worse than it was during the Great Depression.

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There’s been a steady increase in hotel occupancy as of late, with the number hitting 49 percent in early March, the highest since August. In a poll for road-trip site Amazing America, more than 75 percent of respondents said they believed it would be safe to travel this summer, the Times reported.

Halee Whiting, owner of Hospitality With a Flair, told the publication that nearly 70 percent of web traffic for the hotel consulting agency is for travel between July and mid-September.

“People are itching to get out, but they’re still hesitant,” she said. “With the vaccine being more prevalent and states starting to loosen their guidelines, this summer will be when they are ready to tiptoe out of their bubble.”

[NYT] — Cordilia James