With higher gas prices comes the fear that the broader economy will take a hit, but if Steven Joyce, CEO of Choice Hotels, is correct, the hotel industry is relatively sheltered from a modest rise in fuel tabs.
After two years of declines, J.D. Power and Associates reported Wednesday that hotel guests are not only happier about their visits—they are the most satisfied in seven years.
As hotel owners become increasingly optimistic—and profitable—a brighter future is driving new investments and innovation, say industry insiders, who are forecasting improvement in several key metrics for 2013.
Industry experts expect to see higher prices for travel this summer, although travelers can still find deals if they know where to look.
"As with every summer for the past few years, prices are coming up a little bit," said Clem Bason, President of Expedia's Hotwire Group. Hotel room rates and car rentals are the major areas where consumers can expect to see higher prices, he told CNBC's 'It's a Trip.'
The silver lining for this trend, Bason said, is that airline prices are either flat or down compared to last summer and for those who book wisely, traveling won't break the bank.
For longer trips, Bason suggests booking flights on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, when possible. "The vast majority of Americans are trying to fly on the weekends and those planes are packed fully. You're just not going to save there," he said.
Bason also recommends flying through secondary airports, which often cost less than major metropolitan hubs.
City-by-city travelers can also find deals, and Bason points to Washington, D.C. and Vancouver, Canada as great places to find value. Chicago, however, will be busy in the next few months with a number of major events, and will be "more expensive than any summer in the past few years," he said.
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CNBC's Simon Hobbs speaks with the CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, Kevin Sheehan about the most exclusive areas of the company's newest ship, the Norwegian Breakaway. Also hear what's happening around the travel industry, from summer hotel rates to airline satisfaction.