Fairmont Waterfront General Manager Jean-Francois Varie expects his hotel to be more than 80 percent full this summer | Rob Krayt
Tour operators are excited about the expected influx of tourists this summer.
Whether the operator’s target market is budget travelers, middle-class visitors, or high-end holidaymakers, they estimate that a surge in business is expected from last year.
In some cases, businesses are outperforming pre-pandemic 2019 glory days.
According to VP of Analytics Brian Baker, agents from travel agency Fresh Tracks Canada are booking trips much more frequently than they did three years ago.
Vancouver-based National Travel Agency, with 82 employees, creates and sells customized itineraries that include several tours and hotels, as well as guest transport.
That positions Fresh Tracks in a higher-end travel niche that Baker says capitalizes on the revenge or vengeance travel phenomenon, where people spend lavishly on travel because they are tired of being cooped up at home.
At the end of May, Fresh Tracks agents booked 1,780 rides from May to September, Baker said, up 65.7% from the 1,074 rides the company booked during those months in 2019, Baker said.
Fresh Tracks customers are also booking longer trips than they did three years ago, averaging 10.5 days, compared to 8.5 days in 2019, he said.
“Train rides along the West Coast of Canada and into the Canadian Rockies have provided our biggest growth and are our most popular rides,” Baker said. “It’s on Rocky Mountaineer and VIA Rail. [Canada Inc.]”.
(Image: Fresh Tracks vice president of analytics Brian Baker said his company’s summer bookings are up significantly compared to 2019)
Nicole Ford, vice president of communications for Rocky Mountaineer, said: BIV this business is booming, but shorter trips remain the most popular.
She added that most of Rocky Mountaineer’s customers, especially those in North America, book their rides directly rather than through travel agencies.
They tend to prefer the two-day Rocky Mountaineer trips Vancouver-Kamloops-Jasper and Vancouver-Kamloops-Banff. The company’s three-day variant runs between Vancouver, Whistler, Kenel and Jasper.
“We use longer trains on two-day trips, so we have more capacity,” she said. “We are now at 80-85% of our 2019 level in terms of trip bookings, but we are very optimistic that this number will rise as people book closer to travel dates.” .
Bookings have skyrocketed over the past month, Ford said.
Upscale hoteliers say BIV this business is growing, but they remain below 2019 occupancy levels.
Fairmont Waterfront General Manager Jean-Francois Vari said his hotel will be more than 80 percent full this summer, less than in 2019.
“Some nights, like this weekend, we’re sold out,” he said…