In a normal year, this would typically be the busy season for travel agents. This year with COVID-19 restrictions, not so much.
"It's terrible for travel agents. I feel like one of the lucky ones to have that little chunk of corporate travel and just trying to find creative ways to keep it afloat, like the virtual vacations and 'staycation' options, and stuff like that," said Samantha Blair with wanderjoyvacations.com.
Blair is an independent travel agent in Anaheim. Since March, nearly all of her travel and leisure clients have turned into cancellations or postponements.
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"I have some clients that are like - it's planned and they are ready to book as soon as it's open, and I have other ones who are gonna wait till like the middle of next year," said Blair.
According to a survey by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 44% of Americans are still planning overnight vacation or leisure travel this year. Of those, 59% expect to take it by the end of the summer. The majority - 43% plan to stay with family and friends. A low 39% plan to stay in a hotel, with 9% in a short-term rental and 5% in a camper or RV.
The current trend is in short-term rentals and RVs, where business is booming.
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"This year is about 20-30% higher than last year," said David Hasan.
Hasan owns a Cruise America agency in Costa Mesa. When the pandemic first hit, they saw a boost, but that dropped off after spring break. He says it started to pick back up again earlier this month.
"Today, at least 12,13 people call us for reservations for next two, three, four weeks, which we are sold out," said Hasan.
Airbnb says it has seen an increase in guests booking stays that are closer to home. Because of that, the company is updating its app and homepage.
The company says the top trending destinations in the U.S. that are in Southern California include Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Palm Springs and Idyllwild.
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