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Anxious to get out and travel? So is everyone else

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak California
Posted at 2:43 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 16:43:45-04

Many families are now planning and booking trips for this spring and summer after a year of lockdowns and shutdowns.

People are taking advantage of the drop in COVID infection numbers and an increase in vaccinations, and these aren't just road trips anymore.

It seems we're all ready for something new and different.

"Views of our treehouses are up 80% since March of last year," said Catherine Powell, Global Head of Hosting for Airbnb. “It's the coolest job and also the coolest title."

Powell supports the site's four million hosts by helping to create connections.

Now, after a tough year, they're seeing a lot of interest in travel, and not just any sort of trip.

It's things like sleeping in a giant boot or staying at an inn that looks like a dog or a potato hotel.

“We’ve had an incredibly difficult year, and for many in the US, it’s been a harsh, cold winter, and we’re seeing that pent-up demand we’re seeing people wanting sunshine and warmth and outdoors,” said Powell.

There is, she says, a noticeable amount of what the industry calls "pent-up demand."

“We’ve heard clients who have vaccinated they want to get out," said Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, Co-President, and owner of Valerie Wilson Travel. "There’s this vaccine travel concept or antibody trip- people who believe they’re like a super figure, superman, superwoman, they’re invincible and want to get back out."

Valerie Wilson Travel is a mother-daughter, daughter, son-in-law business Wilson-Buttigieg's mom founded 40 years ago.

They're also one of the largest privately-owned travel management firms in North America.

According to Wilson-Buttigieg, to say they've had to get creative over the past year is an understatement.

“There is no business plan for that," Wilson-Buttigieg said. "Having gone to Harvard business school executive education, there is no plan for being down 90% for 12 months.”

But now, that business is bouncing back in exciting ways.

“There are some travel bubbles which are being created right now," Wilson-Buttigieg said. "There’s a New York to Milan flight, an Atlanta to Rome flight, and a Los Angeles or San Francisco to Hawaii flight.”

COVID restrictions can be hard to follow, so if you're aiming for a trip, Jennifer advises that you have an advocate.

“Everyone is so confused about where to go, what’s the policy, what’s the restriction, what’s the quarantine, what’s the testing," Wilson-Buttigieg said. "Those are the first questions, so it’s not is this a new resort, is this a new lie flatbed, what’s the new restaurant? The entire paradigm has changed.”

Powell added that people are happy to think about traveling again.

"Even thinking about travel is making people happier," said Powell. "They want to travel more. It’s the most outdoor or wishful experience that they want, and more than going to sporting events or other live events, it's wanting to travel and reconnect.”

If you're wondering how to pay for it, Powell says consider hosting your home because that side of the business is also booming.