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Higher Prices, Staffing Shortages Impacting Travel Ahead of Busy Summer Period

The travel industry is reporting a major surge in demand ahead of the typically busy summer period, but prices are expected to continue rising and capacity will be strained.

According to Reuters.com, airlines, hotels, rental car companies and booking sites have announced increased bookings and overall interest has grown, but a tight labor market and limited volume has become a growing concern.

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As tourism brands scramble to restart and expand operations, travelers should expect inflation to impact all areas of vacation-related purchases in 2022. Hotel giant Hilton announced it would “reprice hotel rooms” to limit the impact of rising costs.

Data from Smith Travel Research Inc. shows that average daily hotel room rates in the United States were up approximately 37.7 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2021.

Air travel prices have also jumped, as round-trip domestic flights average $302 per traveler, a three-percent increase from the same period in 2019. Long and ultra-long-haul international flights are around 20 percent higher than 2019, costing on average $797 and $1182, respectively.

Several airlines have also reported staffing shortages that forced officials to cut summer schedules to avoid further disruption. As a result, domestic carriers are expected to operate at between 75-to-95 percent of their 2019 capacity between May and August.

As for the car rental industry, Hertz Global Holdings—buoyed by a strong first-quarter earnings report—announced earlier this week it was expecting a big summer travel season for drive trips no matter how inflation continues to rise.

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