For millions of Americans, Labor Day represents one last hurrah of summer -- a final opportunity to take to the roads or skies for some relaxation or adventure (maybe both) before resuming business as usual until the holidays. But it's never really been the type of holiday hotel investors and short-term rental owners have been able to count on.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic upended travel, along with every other sector of real estate, Labor Day traffic was so unpredictable that the the American Automobile Association (AAA) stopped making predictions about it years ago. It falls so near the start of the new school year that shifting school schedules in different locations can have a big impact.
According to Conde Nast Traveler, last-minute travel plans are a rising trend, thanks to the virus, and this weekend is no different. A recent TripAdvisor survey revealed that 31% of Americans planned to travel this weekend. An additional 22% were undecided. But even that 31% is not far off from pre-pandemic 2019's Labor Day total of 35%. And you might be surprised to learn that the number of Americans travelling for Labor Day weekend last year only took a slight pandemic dip, to 32%.
But with new guidance aimed at travelers already packing their bags for the weekend, the CDC hopes to bring this year's Labor Day travel numbers down. Should real estate investors prepare for a deluge of last-minute cancellations?
What the CDC recommends
On Tuesday, as new daily coronavirus cases topped an average of 160,000, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released its Labor Day travel guidance. Given the current state of the pandemic, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky asked unvaccinated Americans not to travel this weekend and suggested that even those who are vaccinated consider the decision carefully.
Of course, the virus isn't exactly new at this point. Most of us have adjusted to the reality of figuring it into any decision we make about where we will or won't go and under what circumstances. People with plans to travel this weekend had likely already been keeping an eye on the virus situation, both nationally and at their planned destination, and made their decision accordingly. As such, while some will be deterred, most are unlikely to change those plans at the last minute based on this new guidance.
The Millionacres bottom line
Sadly, the pandemic isn't the only thing threatening Labor Day travel this year. Recent severe weather and other environmental events this week, including Hurricane Ida in the South and Northeast as well as wildfires out West, have been devastating.
If you're invested in hotels or vacation rentals in an area that's been hit hard this week, you likely already know what you're in for this weekend. Otherwise, unless you had an unusually high number of travelers booked from affected areas, you can probably still expect to rake in some decent Labor Day weekend revenue.