Travel agencies

Cheap rates and flexible cancellation policies won’t last long, travel agencies say

As Canada slowly emerges from pandemic lockdown measures, reservations and inquiries at Kristin Hoogendoorn’s travel business have skyrocketed.

The travel advisor said people flock to winter vacations in warmer climates like the Caribbean, and said Canadians may want to consider booking as early as possible so they don’t miss a thing.

Travel agents say the next vacation seasons will be unlike any other in previous years as hotels and airlines continue to rebound. With fewer planes in the sky and a limited number of hotels and resorts available, Hoogendoorn said people waiting to book might find that some options are sold out, while others are skyrocketing.

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“Now is a good time to book, we see that the supply is not great as there is no federal opening plan for travel and the demand is really high”, said Hoogendoorn, who works for Center Holidays and said the prices are already starting. to recover from the troughs of the mid-pandemic.

“And there are some tour operators that have cancellation policies where you can get your money back if you cancel within a certain timeframe, so it’s really low risk, and if it works then you got there early.”

Richard Vanderlubbe, President of tripcentral.ca, said these easy-going cancellation policies won’t last long, as companies won’t feel the need to offer them when travel stabilizes.

And Vanderlubbe and Hoogendoorn say there is reason to believe that prices for travel to resort destinations will continue to rise over the next several months, simply because of all pent-up demand.

Vanderlubbe said it can be easy to cancel if you book an all-inclusive package that includes all parts of your trip, but it’s important to read the fine print to make sure the cancellation policy is flexible enough. for your risk appetite.

For people who would rather wait than book a trip that could be canceled due to the pandemic, Vanderlubbe said some destinations could stay cheap for a while yet.

He pointed out that business travel for things like conferences and meetings is unlikely to resume to normal for some time, which means flights and hotels to major cities like New York or Chicago will still experience a shortage of travelers compared to previous years.

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“Usually if you wanted to go to New York you would pay exorbitant rates during the week and the weekends were cheaper,” said Vanerlubbe, who said hotels would seek to fill the shortage of business travelers.

“Everything will change, I think, as they market to leisure customers. “

He said the same could apply to big European cities like London.

“If you’re looking to travel to a destination where a lot of people have flown on business, there might be a glut of airline seats. “

No matter where or when you decide to start traveling again, Hoogendoorn said people should consider seeking a travel counselor, even if they haven’t in the past.

She pointed out that there are a myriad of restrictions and changing protocols that people will need to watch out for when booking, and an advisor can help decipher what all of this means for your trip.

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“Although the entry requirements here may change, you will still have entry restrictions in other countries, and people just don’t know what they are,” Hoogendoorn said.

“It’s not very clear when you look online so it’s best to have a professional and someone who understands these requirements so you don’t get stuck at the border saying, ‘Well I guess that I can’t go anywhere. “

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