Booking Holdings CEO warns travelers to make reservations now before prices rise

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People should start making travel plans now before prices go up, warned Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel.

“People want to travel. Everybody’s just anxious to get their lives back the way it used to be. So I would say go out there, look at [prices] now, if you have to cancel, you cancel,” Fogel said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

Most airlines have dropped cancellation fees, so there is no harm in cancelling a booking, said Fogel.

“I do see prices going up in some places and certainly we’ve seen some airfares going up to for the summer,” Fogel told CNBC, urging potential travelers to make their plans as fast as they can to avoid paying more later.

U.S. airlines lost a combined total of about $35 billion last year as people became wary of traveling during the Coronavirus pandemic. Passenger counts dropped by over than 60% last year compared with 2019.

Despite the pandemic’s toll on travel, Fogel remains optimistic about the industry’s long-term prospects. He’s also hopeful about the vaccine rollout, despite the uncertainty over new Covid variants.

“Travel is one of the greatest industries in the world. People are always going to want to travel,” said Fogel.

Booking Holdings owns popular travel sites including Kayak, OpenTable, Bookings.com, Priceline.com and Agoda.

Shares of Booking Holdings gained 3% Monday.

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