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Holiday Season Travel Projected to Soar: 4 Stocks to Watch

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An increasing number of Americans are planning to travel during this holiday season, which has led to a spike in hotel bookings. The past two years saw a steep decline in both air travel and hotel bookings as COVID-19 gripped the world, compelling millions to stay indoors.

However, things appear to be returning to normal at a faster pace than expected. This has resulted in people aggressively making vacation plans despite soaring air ticket prices and hotel room rents. Given this scenario, hotel stocks like Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H - Free Report) , Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. (HGV - Free Report) , Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (WH - Free Report) and Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation (VAC - Free Report) are expected to benefit in the near term.

Hotel Booking to Soar

An increasing number of holiday season travelers are planning to stay at hotels this year. According to a national Hotel Booking Index Survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and conducted by Morning Consult, most people who travel for leisure over the next three months plan to stay at hotels.

According to the survey, 31% of those traveling for Thanksgiving plan to stay in hotels during their trips, up from 21% in 2021. Also, 28% of Christmas travelers plan to stay in hotels during their vacations compared to 23% last year.

Among those who have already finalized their holiday plans and will be traveling in the next three months, 54% will be staying in hotels. The survey also found that 28% of Americans plan to travel during Thanksgiving, while 31% plan to travel during Christmas, both in line with the 2021 figures.

Among those whose job involves travel, 59% are likely to go on business trips in the next three months. Among them, 49% plan to put up at hotels. Also, 61% of the people plan to travel more in 2023 than they have already done this year.

Higher energy and commodity prices have made air travel and hotel rooms expensive. The Consumer Price Index rose 7.7% in October on a year-over-year basis. Although inflation has eased lately after increasing 8.2% in September, it is far from the Fed’s target range of 2%. 

Even then, people are willing to spend more on travel and don’t mind paying higher room rents. The COVID-19 pandemic saw people almost completely stopping leisurely travel, but the situation is fast coming back to normal.

The holiday season is one of the busiest traveling windows when both air tickets and hotel bookings surge. This time too won’t be any different. A surge in hotel bookings has also seen employers going on a hiring spree. According to the latest jobs report, the Labor Department said that the leisure and hospitality industry added 35,000 jobs in October. However, the industry is 1.1 million jobs below the pre-pandemic levels.

The hotel is likely to get a further boost as inflation eases further and more people plan to travel in 2023. Thus, the industry is only likely to benefit in the coming days.

Our Choices

Given this situation, it would be wise to invest in hotel stocks.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation is a leading global hospitality company engaged in the development, ownership, operation, management, franchising and licensing of a portfolio of properties, including hotels, resorts and residential and vacation ownership properties around the world. As of Mar 31, 2022, H’s portfolio included more than 1,150 properties in 71 countries across six continents.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 70.1% over the past 60 days. H presently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. is engaged in the hospitality business. HGV markets and operates vacation ownership resorts. Hilton Grand Vacationsalso manages and serves club membership programs, which include Hilton Grand Vacations Club and The Hilton Club.

Hilton Grand Vacations’ expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 60.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 19.3% over the past 60 days. HGV currently sports a Zacks Rank #1.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc. provides a hotel and resort chain. WH operates primarily in Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Turkey, Germany, the UK, the Caribbean and Margarita Island in Venezuela. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts is headquartered in New Jersey.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 21.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 5.5% over the past 60 days. WH currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation offers vacation ownership, exchange, rental, resort and property management services. As of 2021-end, VAC had more than 120 resorts and 700,000 owners and members in a diverse portfolio of seven vacation ownership brands. Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation also has exchange networks and membership programs in more than 3,200 resorts in 90 countries.

Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 8.3% over the past 60 days. VAC presently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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