If you didn’t book a luxury trip last year, don’t worry; you didn’t miss your big opportunity. Without a doubt, 2009 was hell on the luxury travel market. It was rough on just about every luxury business, frankly. And while the economy looks like its taking a step in the right direction this year, it’s not doing so fast enough for luxury travel providers. Look for another year of discounts, according to industry tracking firm Rubicon. Properties like the Four Seasons, St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton and Mandarin Oriental are going to have to bite the bullet again in 2010.
According to Rubicon, luxury hotels are booking more business at this point in the year than they did in the same period in 2009 – but only 4.6 percent more. Meanwhile, the average rate they’re fetching is off 13.2 percent. Clearly, the upscale properties are buying guests with discounts. Of course, luxury on sale still isn’t cheap. You’re looking at $325 a night instead of $389 a night a year ago, Rubicon reports, based on bookings made as of February 1.
“Hotel companies are not rushing to lift the rates and slow that tide of recovery,” Rubicon CEO Steve Swope told USA Today. “So the other good news is: there are some real bargains out there for consumers. Now’s a good time to get out and travel. In another 18 to 24 months, the rates seen today are not going to be there anymore.”