September 18, 2021CNBC Travel

People are booking Christmas vacations earlier than ever before

Ohana Real Estate Investors partner James Coles shares his perspective on post-pandemic demand for luxury hotel bookings

Last September, the travel industry agonized over a dearth of Christmas bookings. This September, some hotels are already fully booked for the holiday season.  

People are reserving their Christmas vacations earlier this year, despite an unsettling rise in Covid-19 infections caused by the highly contagious delta variant.

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Luxury bookings going fast

Ohana Real Estate Investors said December bookings are up the most in its highest-end hotels.

December leisure bookings are up 62% from 2019 levels at hotels such as Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, the company said. Booking windows — or the time between reserving and starting travel — are now six to nine months, or nearly double that of 2019, at its high-end hotels.

Ohana partner James Cole said he believes luxury hotels are booking faster because wealthy travelers want to see family and friends and have something to look forward to at the end of the year. He said more people are spending more on travel now, especially during the festive period. Lastly, psychological factors are likely at play.

“I think travelers are speaking with their neighbors and realizing [they] have vacation plans already booked up for Christmas,” he said. “Fear of missing out is very real at this moment.”