After experiencing a “very, very busy” summer travel season that hoisted the company to “almost-recovered” status in the post-COVID era, Omni Hotels & Resorts’ chairman is predicting the steady travel pace to continue into this year’s holiday season.
“People have spent the last two Christmases away from their family, away from their friends. I believe no matter what it costs, people are going to have the need to get together,” Omni’s Peter Strebel told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo Tuesday on “Mornings with Maria.”
With the cost of airline tickets up more than 33% year-over-year, per the U.S. Labor Department, and more Americans starting to plan ahead for holiday travel plans, Strebel argued decades-high inflation won’t impact the number of bookings Omni’s expecting.
“I think the cost is definitely going to be a lot more than it has been,” Strebel noted. “Our customer base is a little more on the luxury side of the coin. So we’re not as affected as much by the inflation.”
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Since May of this year, Omni has reportedly been beating its peak 2019 earnings numbers each month, its chairman touted, noting leisure travel has returned to a “stable” pace following COVID-19 pandemic closures.
“We’ve been very, very busy, which is great to see. We’re almost fully staffed,” Strebel said. “So I think the business, you could almost say, is almost there, and almost recovered and on its way.”
With more than 50 properties across North America, Strebel contributed Omni’s significant revenue growth from the “pent-up demand” for group and business travel following the pandemic.
“The reason for group travel is to roll out new products, to bring people together, to boost morale, to have a company culture,” Strebel explained. “And that’s kind of been dead for almost two years… And it’s like there’s a thirst for getting people back together.”
To keep up with the soaring travel demand, Omni’s chairman noted the company has multiple projects in the works to build or reimagine property experiences, including two new hotels in Texas and Arizona, an Orlando location expansion and massive restoration of one of America’s oldest hotels in Virginia.
“We didn’t stop during COVID. We still kept building and renovating our hotels,” Strebel said. “The oldest resort in America is The Homestead, and that’s in Hot Springs, Virginia. And we are actually spending $140 million redoing that hotel, restoring it back to its original architecture and feel and look. And that will be completed next spring.”
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