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What does the ‘future’ of tourism and travel look like? It’s the question that everyone’s asking with the end of the year in sight, and we think 2022 has given us some key customer behaviors and industry changes which will continue to shape the industry's 2023 travel trends – and beyond!
From a continued demand for travel, to the imperative, fast-moving shift towards sustainability, and the increasing use of technology within the different industry sectors, here are some of the 2023 travel trends we think you should look out for.
A Sustained Surge In Travel Demand
Following off the back of the increasing demand for travel around the globe during 2022 as more and more countries eased or removed their pandemic restrictions, it seems this clamor for vacation time will continue well into 2023.
According to a recent study by Expedia nearly half (46%) of people say that travel is even more important to them now than it was before the pandemic, and around 79% of people plan to take a leisure trip in 2023. The number of trips per year looks to increase as well, with an average of around two trips per person during the year.
This is despite the cost-of-living crises experienced in key markets around the world. In fact, many travelers (31%) are still suggesting that their budgets for 2023 travel will not decrease from 2022, despite these increasing and fluctuating financial pressures. The priority given to travel is a clear indication that for those who can travel, it has become much more than just a ‘vacation’.
At the same time, customers are becoming necessarily price-savvy while still wanting to experience those must-visit destinations, so it’s important you’re not only leading with inspirational trips, but also competitive and accessible pricing systems to catch your customers’ eye.
Go Green Or Get Left Behind
In an interview with IATA the CEO of Cathay Pacific said ‘climate change is a bigger crisis than the pandemic’ because it significantly threatens the longevity of the industry itself, and that large-scale travel providers ‘can’t afford not to be’ green.
Because sustainable travel is more than a trend – it’s a necessity.
And with travel returning to (and in some cases surpassing) pre-pandemic levels, it’s more important than ever that you’re accounting for this seismic shift in focus, not only for your success as a business, but for the longevity of travel as an industry – and the planet!
Sustainability is everywhere, and rightly so, with around 90% of travelers looking for sustainable travel options. That said, up to 50% also feel like there aren’t enough sustainable options actively promoted or available.
As travel advisors, you’re at the frontline! It’s a key opportunity – and responsibility – to lead the way by pushing your sustainable options to continue to change the industry, and fast.
There is also a general feeling that ‘sustainability’ is not well-defined, and so often leaves travelers feeling confused as to how they can travel in a way that is authentically sustainable. So, how you define your sustainable travel experiences is critical to letting travelers vote with their values, which is key for 2023.
Change From Within The Industry
A prime example of travel providers changing industry norms is Niarra Travel, a tour operator who plans to invest 10% of the standard 20% commission on bookings into conservation and the communities in the destinations it serves tours to instead!
Carbon Neutral Hotels
Hotels around the globe are at the forefront of the race to go carbon neutral, such as Yale’s Hotel Marcel, which is on track to become America’s first net-zero hotel. But it’s not alone! A growing number of hotels are focused on sustainability at their core, such as the San Bada in Costa Rica, the Virgin Hotels Chicago, which is renowned for its green housekeeping, recycling schemes and guest-powered carbon offset programs while being in the heart of downtown Chicago! Also of note is the Bardessono, one of only seven LEED Platinum certified hotels in the United States and one of twenty eight worldwide holding this coveted green status, nestled in the heart of Californian wine country, Napa Valley.
You can find more stunning, sustainable hotels like these by using the ‘Green Hotel’ filter on the Booking Engine!
Slow Long-Haul Recovery
It’s clear that with key markets like China still being effectively closed, the recovery in Asia is taking longer than expected and it won’t recover until China fully opens.
However, with must-visit destinations like Fiji and Japan removing restrictions after months of being closed, we think this will mean more travelers embarking on those ‘once-in-a-lifetime trips next year! Japan in particular is a key rebound opportunity to capitalize on.
From an immersive experience of Kyoto’s culture, a deep-dive into the exquisite cuisine of Tokyo, seeing Mt. Fuji up close and personal, to the world-renowned sakura (cherry blossom) season, there are countless reasons why Japan is a key 2023 destination for customers wishing to satisfy that itch for long-haul travel.
The Use Of Advanced Technology
The increasing prevalence of advanced technology in the industry will certainly be shaping not only the way that travelers get around, but how travel advisors can offer these experiences!
Technology is on fast-forward particularly at airports, with the likes of Hotelbeds’ first airport partner Istanbul Airport making headway not only as the busiest airport in Europe in 2021 after only opening its doors in 2018, but also as one of the few ‘smart airports’ around the world.
Biometric data, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are just a few of the recent developments this tech-focused airport has added to its terminals to make the passenger experience that much more seamless. It’s set its sights next on facial recognition to remove the need for travel documents!
Booking platforms have been the way forward for a long time, but now they’re even more critical than ever to ensure that as advisors you’re offering the most seamless customer journey possible.
For example, what could be better than a booking platform that gives you access to 300k+ hotels in 150 source markets worldwide, and 18K experiences? One that also processes 4bn searches per day and uses 29 powerful algorithms to suggest the perfect deals for the right customer, at the right time, completely bespoke to your market.
And that’s already a reality when you register with Bedsonline for a free account!
Staying up to date with what’s out there for travelers and how this might impact whether they engage with your services is critical. You need to convince customers they need you to book their trips – especially as independent technology begins to encroach on the work of travel advisors.
A few new traveler-focused apps competing with traditional advisors include:
- Fora Origin – an app that curates a travelers’ perfect itinerary
- Planeterra – support for community-based tourism initiatives
- Beyond Green – initiative that gathers eco hotels together
So, in the face of increasing competition it’s important that as travel advisors you’re equipping yourselves with the best possible tools to shake things up in your market and ensure that you’re surpassing your ideal audiences’ expectations.
At Bedsonline, that’s what we’re all about! We’re empowering travel advisors everywhere with time-saving tools and an unbeatable portfolio – why not learn more about how we’re an unrivalled booking partner?
Immersive and Experiential Travel
‘Checklist’ trips are out, and immersion is in, so take note! Slow travel has seen a huge resurgence as a result of today’s travelers seeking more conscious experiences which immerse them in the local culture, food, and communities of their destinations.
And it seems that as more people reject the western culture of immediacy, wanting to instead focus more deeply on the positive aspects of different ways of life around the world, experiential and immersive trips will be top priority in 2023.
This shift is due to a keen focus on what travel gives to people, with around 49% of travelers saying they travel not only for a change of scenery but also for the physical and mental well-being benefits that travel provides.
As another example of travelers voting with their values, the demand for immersive and experiential travel will certainly impact how, where and when they book their trips as one of the key 2023 travel trends.
Leisure travel continues to outperform business travel (for now), and top markets like the USA, Germany and UK are seeing particularly high demand for these luxury experiences. Despite the contrasting cost-of-living crisis on the minds of travelers in key markets, those who can spend high on travel are seeking transformative and immersive experiences for 2023.
A recent study from Globetrender also illuminates the fact that Millennial families (Gen Y) are looking more and more for adventurous, intrepid trips. These families are spending high and travelling far, and with family trips increasing by 185% between 2021 and 2022, we can anticipate a sharp and sustained increase in luxury travel particularly for wealthy families in the next few years.
Pelorus, who specialize in designing luxury trips, have also noted a real interest from high-end clients in ‘high-impact conservation’, suggesting that how ‘luxury travel’ is perceived might be changing. From spending time with marine biologists to joining conservationist efforts in Africa, the ultra-wealthy are beginning to fund experiences that make a tangible difference to the climate crisis.
Ditching the 9-5
With the dramatic increase in remote and hybrid working around the globe, it’s no surprise that people are reclaiming their leisure time and blending it with their work. Globally, 16% of companies are 100% remote, and 62% of people around the world are on hybrid working models. This increase in remote working is also shaping the industry already!
For example, the Marriott is partnering with global robotics companies to ideate hotel room design where the boundaries between bedrooms and offices are blurred. Amadeus also supports this notion with a ‘working from roam’ trend for 2023, where remote workers continue to settle into an increasingly nomadic lifestyle due to many workplaces implementing ‘work from anywhere’ policies.
A few of the countries leading the way on initiatives to attract digital nomads are Costa Rica, Georgia, Croatia, Iceland, and Germany! The 9-5 has never seemed more of a distant memory.
So, how do some of these 2023 trends line up with your marketing strategies?
Are you prepared for the trends that will be shaping the way travelers get out and about from now on? Supercharging your portfolio and your booking platform is just one of the ways that you can make sure you get a leg up on the competition – and working with Bedsonline achieves just that.
With global connections, thousands of stunning, exclusive hotels and ancillaries as well as AI-driven search tools that take the stress out of finding trends in your market, you’ll be arming yourself for success in 2023!
What's shaping the world of travel in 2023? Find out with our travel trends guide!
⭐ Where your customers will want to travel in 2023
⭐ The accommodation trends you need to know
⭐ Rising trends, including luxury and sustainable travel
⭐ And the types of experiences your clients are thinking of booking!