Want to send your clients on a domestic vacation this summer? Forget about it, says Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner at Embark Beyond -- U.S. destinations are "overpriced, oversold and understaffed."
Instead, look across the pond.
"People are paying five to 10 times the price of a vacation [in the U.S.] for a compromised experience," Ezon said in an email. "Rental cars are sometimes more than rooms in places like Montana or Wyoming. Rooms that would ordinarily go for $400 per night are selling at $2,000 per night with less than half the staff at the hotel to service them.
"For those wishing to explore Yellowstone or Yosemite," he added, "this is not the year to do it. So many Americans are still afraid of traveling outside the country, creating ridiculous market compression in North America."
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The result has had a "significant last-minute impact," Ezon said. His clients are scrambling to cancel American plans and instead head to Europe as more and more travel destinations on the Continent open their doors to U.S. travelers.
According to Ezon, 22% of June, July and August bookings have canceled and instead rebooked to Europe. In their destination of choice, they are getting an elevated product and realizing savings of 20% to 45%, he said.
Of new summer bookings, a whopping 68% are for travel to Europe, and that number is steadily increasing for Embark.
Ezon pointed to airfare as an example. Last week, he said, business-class tickets to Turks and Caicos for July were around $2,500 from New York. From New York to Jackson Hole, the cost was high as $3,000. But lie-flat, business-class seats to Paris, Rome or Milan were under $1,800.
Ezon is practicing what he preaches. This summer, he had planned to take his 13-year-old son to Jackson Hole, "but space was untouchable."
They instead headed to the Dolomites and Venice.
For $900 per night, Ezon secured a one-bedroom suite (upgraded from a junior suite) at the Aman Rosa Alpina, a five-star property in the Dolomites. He would have paid $2,100 a night at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole or $3,800 per night at Amangiri.
Ezon also offered some other suggestions for European substitutions this summer: Iceland instead of Yellowstone, the Amalfi Coast instead of the California Coast, Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany instead of the Hamptons, the French Riviera instead of Miami, Marrakech instead of Arizona and Santorini instead of Big Sur.