Vacation business ‘back’ to pre-COVID levels: Diamond Resorts CEO

Diamond Resorts CEO Michael Flaskey on the state of the travel industry. Diamond Resorts CEO

Diamond Resorts CEO Michael Flaskey told FOX Business’ “Mornings with Maria” Monday that, since mid-February, business has been 17% above 2019 levels.

SANDALS CARIBBEAN RESORTS SEES VACATION BOOKINGS OUTPACE PRE-COVID NUMBERS

MICHAEL FLASKEY: We’re happy to be a part of the Hilton Grand Vacations family. As you know, there are regulatory approvals still going on that we have to get through. But I got to tell you, the vacation business is back, it’s exciting. Since we reopened in May, we have been at 70% of 2019 levels. The drive to nature of the business is really what has kicked things off and gotten it going. And since mid-February, we’ve actually been at 17% above 2019 levels.

For us, it’s all leisure travel, and leisure travel has really set the tone in this resurgence. We’ve actually seen families that can get in their car and drive, come in record numbers, and now we’re actually starting to see the airlift pick up. As it relates to the hotel industry, they’re at a much, much lower levels because they’re dependent on group travel and business travel. But the leisure business itself is back, and we are looking at the second half of the year and our reservations forecast and our indicators are showing us that we’re back at 2019 levels, which is extremely exciting. We’ve got 11,500 team members and we had to furlough almost 5,500 people. And so to be able to bring those team members back, it’s an exciting time for travel.

The timeshare business is a subscription model whereby people have ownership and they have an emotional attachment, and when they come on their vacation and stay in one of our villas, there’s plenty of room for spacing out, plenty of room for distance. Our campus-style amenities allow them to spread out. And when we look at where people are going right now, the drive to destinations have been really the key to the recovery. But now we’re starting to see Orlando, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Mexico starting to come back. And the culmination of the airlift markets, along with the drive to markets, are really what is making this thing pop.

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