The oil spill has been in news cycles around the clock for weeks, and that’s affecting bookings at beach resorts on the Gulf coast. Gabe Saglie is senior editor at TravelZoo.
“A lot of the resorts on the coast — particularly in Louisiana, certainly in Mississippi (and) areas of the panhandles of Florida — are on alert, and they are encountering not only on the hotel and resort level, but also on the vacation rental, 30 to 50 percent in cancellations. And a lot of what these folks are doing is altering their plans. They’re not necessarily canceling vacations. They’re actually looking at other parts of the region. A lot of the inland locations — parts of Texas even — are seeing a little bit of a bump in interest and bookings, thanks to the fact that a lot of these people are deciding to alter their beach plans.”
The lingering effects of a slow economy are also affecting vacation plans.
“The one thorn on the side of travelers this summer is air fare. We got spoiled in the summer of 2009—a lot of great last-minute deals. Now it’s all about booking early and having greater flexibility, because there are going to be a lot of days during the week all summer long. The cheaper days days to fly will always be Tuesday and Wednesday. On the other sides of the flights, resorts and hotels—we’re actually seeing rates down over last year, so we’re seeing some great deals on hotels and resorts. The economy’s still creating generally some great deals in the industry, with the exception, I think, of air fare.”
Saglie says cruise bookings are up, and companies are making them more family-friendly.