Travel planning usually involves booking a trip to one location at a time.
Now, a large number of people book two or three trips in a single travel period, in case covid issues ruin their preferred plans.
This trend is called “trip stacking” and involves booking more aggressive trips – for example, going abroad or taking a cruise – that are supported by a trip that is less likely to be canceled.
By planning multiple trips to different geographies, travelers can also choose the one that best suits their level of comfort closest to the time of departure.
when it started
Travel stacking is “a whole new trend,” said Misty Belles, managing director of luxury travel network Virtuoso.. They believe it started between May and June, when vaccination was introduced in the United States and Europe was starting again.
Joshua Bush, CEO of Pennsylvania-based travel company Avenue Two Travel, said the trend accelerated over the summer when new variants of Covid-19 began disrupting travel plans around the world. whole.
He told CNBC that his clients sometimes wait six to nine months to travel, only to have their plans anchored closer to their departure dates.
In early August, more than 50% of Americans had canceled or changed their travel plans because of the Delta version, according to a survey conducted by the financial site FinanceBuzz.
Plan destinations A and B
One of Bush’s clients booked a SilverSeas cruise from Athens to Rome in October and took a 10-day trip to Hawaii during the same period, he told CNBC.
“The point is… in fact Hawaii can be a little more difficult than getting to Greece,” he said, referring to the announcement by Hawaii Governor David Ige last week, that travelers would leave the state. should stay.
Joshua Bush, CEO of Avenue Two Travel, said his company booked a number of travelers to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico this year.
Danny Lehman | The image bank | Getty Images
Bush said Mexico and the Caribbean islands also serve as safety net destinations for Americans because they are easier to reach.
Belles told CNBC about a traveler who booked a trip to Portugal before it reopened, with Florida as a back-up plan. Portugal opened on time and the traveler was able to travel to Europe. She extended the trip to Florida until the end of the year.
“Overall, cancellation policies remain very flexible, giving the traveler that option,” Belles said. “But as travel begins to return in a more dramatic fashion, you can see that not much is changing.”
more trips, more money
Travel stacking works for some in the industry: Travelers are more likely to get their vacations, and travel companies can make more money when they do. Australia’s Travel Talk magazine ran a trending article this month titled “What Is Trip Stalking – and How Can It Make You Money?”
But hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators may not benefit as much from ending cancellations.
Bush said to protect his company’s relationship with their supplies, concurrent trips are only booked for “a small group of our most valued customers.” He said many passengers postpone their trip instead of canceling it, and in other cases, cancellations are met by other passengers who book at the last minute.
“Thirty percent Our reservations are made within five days of departure, which is completely new, ”he said. “Even internally within our own company, we were able to fill a lot [canceled] Reservation.”
Bush said he trained his agency’s 115 advisers across the country on “how we do it ethically.” He said he didn’t think the negative impact would be so great for hotels to change the flexible cancellation policies that allowed this trend to flourish in the first place.
“Part of the game”
Jason Friedman, managing director of hotel consultancy JM Friedman & Co., said travel stacking can be boring for hotels, but it’s “part of the game.”
“If a hotel wants to extend the 24-hour penalty-free cancellation policy, there is nothing wrong with reserving guests and then canceling as part of the policy,” he said.
But guests must also play by the rules, Friedman said. Calling it a “two-way street,” he said customers also had to accept cancellation fees and non-refundable deposit policies.
He differentiates the stacking of trips from “ghost bookings” – which he described as “bored in lockdown having fun” who book trips because there is no penalty for doing so.
“There are people who have no intention of terminating the reservation,” he said. “it’s wrong.”
Tim Hentschel, co-founder and CEO of travel technology company HotelPlanner, said stacking trips makes perfect sense, but there can be pitfalls.
Travelers should also be aware that unlike making three or four dinner reservations and then deciding where you want to go based on appetite or convenience, stacking up trips will drive up airline and hotel prices. for all, ”they said. “Unlike restaurants, hotels and airlines increase their prices as occupancy levels increase.”
He said he didn’t expect the hotel travel stack to be popular.
“Some hotels can now start charging a non-refundable reservation fee up front – as airlines do – and may phase out their cancellation policies to prevent others from double booking,” Hentschel said.
To reduce the likelihood of hotels reacting this way, Hentschel said there is one thing travelers can do.
“Travelers who ‘stack’ trips’ or arbitrate their travel choices should remember the common courtesy of canceling all bookings and bookings as soon as possible,” he said. “It is a job socially. responsible.
Meanwhile, Bush has said he believes stacking travel is a short-term strategy that will end with the pandemic.
“If we get vaccinated like Dr Fauci said yesterday, we will be out in the spring,” he said.