ALG Vacations executives have just two words for those considering summer trips to the Caribbean: book soon.
With demand for travel surging, airfares rising and some cruise lines repositioning from U.S. ports to the Caribbean, ALG Vacations president Ray Snisky and executive vice president Jacqueline Marks say inventory could get tight, fast.
"International airfares are starting to get really high, and they're going up," Marks said during an interview at ALG Vacation's recent 500 Club Silver reward trip in Punta Cana. "And it's not like they're going up $20, $30 at a time. They're going up $50 to $100 at a time. And they rise so fast."
Additionally, Marks said, when it comes to international travel, "the thing that makes me most nervous is how you are hearing that cruises are going to start establishing their ships in many of our leisure destinations. And are people more likely now, if they can't get out of the U.S. on these cruises, will they go to the Caribbean islands and jump on a cruise and go from there?"
Snisky said that bookings for the company overall have been up 30% and more over comparable periods in 2019.
At the same time, while airlift to Mexico is up from 2019, that is not the case across the Caribbean. Airlift to Punta Cana, for instance, is down 18%, he said. Jamaica was also down early this year but appears to be stabilizing.
That means customers might soon start experiencing some sticker shock.
"We've really had this firesale, wide-open inventory, extremely low prices," he said. "And there are still a number of countries that have caps on occupancy percentages. We're already starting to see some airfare increases, and we're starting to see hotel inventory tighten up. So I don't think we're going to have this wide-open runway for the rest of 2021. We're all going to have to adjust.
"I still think there are tremendous opportunities, but customers should be booking now to be sure we have the space that they need."
Gay Nagle Myers is on vacation.