The past years were marked by uncertainty in the tourism industry. The traveler was learning how to cope with closed borders and often had their plans blown by the constant changes in the travel rules.
However, 2022 was different. This was the first year of travel recovery. Many could finally check things to do and visit off their bucket list and destinations saw a spike in visitor numbers.
Now that the new year is just around the corner, one doubt raises among travel marketers: what to expect from travel in 2023?
We will try to answer this question by listing 10 travel trends based on two recent reports.
The travel industry has passed through a deep transformation in 2022. This year we could see a clear change in travelers’ behavior, which led companies and destinations to adapt in order to meet their high expectations.
Drivers of this change were the popularization of remote working, a growing concern with sustainability, an urge for flexible cancellation policies and the sentiment of revenge travel.
When we look at numbers, international tourism showed strong signs of recovery in 2022. In the first half of the year, international arrivals reached 60% of pre-pandemic levels. The full recovery of this segment is expected by 2025.
The number of nights during a stay also has grown this year. Airbnb reported that foreign travelers stayed 28 nights or longer when visiting the US.
This is very positive news, considering international travel was at a halt during the past two years. But on the other hand, airlines were not prepared for the sudden increase in demand, and staff shortages resulted in airport chaos this summer.
Two studies recently released can help cast a light on how travel will be next year. Based on them we have listed 10 travel trends for 2023 that you can check below.
Expedia group made available online a report called ‘The No-Normal’. According to their findings, there will be a shift in travel behavior from 2022 to 2023. Basically, next year travelers will prioritize intimate travel experiences rather than filling well-spread bucket lists.
Expedia data indicates a growing interest from travelers in trips to culture capitals. Cities such as Edinburgh and Lisbon which offer rich cultural experiences are among the top destinations for 2023.
If you want to boost your visitor numbers next year, a good idea is to create a campaign focusing on your city’s heritage, local culture, traditional events and historic places.
Also, create content for your website and social media highlighting local cultural experiences. That will help raise the brand awareness of your destination for the next season.
Two-thirds of global travelers have considered and 39% have booked trips to destinations after seeing them on streamed shows or movies.
TV series and movies are powerful destination marketing tools. Places such as Croatia and New Zealand experienced a huge raise in the number of set-jetters since they featured in popular TV shows.
If you want your destination to benefit from this travel trend, better start partnering with international studios and film producers. Offering some sort of tax incentive is an alternative to attract their attention to your area.
The demand for wellness breaks increased by more than 30% in 2022 compared to last year. Almost half (46%) of global travelers are more open to wellness breaks than ever before.
According to Hotels.com, travelers will be looking for unconventional wellness activities in 2023, such as sylvotherapy (forest bathing), chakra sessions, food boot camps, puppy yoga, laughter therapy, and fruit harvesting.
If your destination has any wellness experience to offer, now it’s the right time to highlight them.
If your destination doesn’t have a strong well-being industry, don’t worry, you can still win travelers’ hearts with natural attractions.
Rustic ranches, national parks, remote areas, and the great outdoors, all these scenarios will be on people’s minds in 2023 according to Vrbo, an online marketplace for vacation rentals part of Expedia group.
The demand for Vrbo’s whole, completely private vacation homes in US western destinations is up by more than 30% this year. That is a sign this travel trend will come strong in 2023.
Next year, travelers will be looking at spending more time with their loved ones while discovering new places and living new experiences.
That will put hidden gems at the center of many travel plans. Vrbo data states that demand for unconventional destinations in the US, such as Nampa (ID), Greensboro (NC) and Layton (UT), has increased by 30% or more in 20022.
If your destination has hidden gems, 2023 is the time to show them to the world.
Amadeus, a major IT provider for the tourism industry, also released its report, although focused on travel technology trends for the next year.
According to it, the use of technology in the industry will continue to grow after the pandemic, and it will be more relevant than ever in the way we take trips.
One of the buzzwords in 2022 was definitely “metaverse”. Everyone heard about it this year. But how can the tourism industry benefit from cyberspace to enhance travelers’ experience?
According to Amadeus, the online world can be used by the real world as a “try before you buy” platform. Something similar to Virtual Reality, but more engaging and interactive for travelers.
Some destinations are one step forward in this matter. That is the case of Seul, the city has plans to release “Metaverse Seul” in 2023.
This technology is already being used by retail and some travel companies through platforms such as ApplePay and GooglePay. But in 2023, biometric payments are to spread across the entire travel industry.
Imagine adding an in-flight meal, upgrading yours to business class, or paying for any other travel-related service with the palm of your hand.
Travelers will definitely rather book with providers that offer this contactless, secure and convenient payment experience at all points of the journey.
The pandemic has changed travelers’ mindsets for good. More and more people now understand the negative impacts of travel and how to mitigate them. One way is reducing their carbon footprints.
The hotel industry understood that and started offering the hire of bulky items, such as sports equipment and workout clothes.
Traveling with less luggage is also a way to support the host community since visitors will buy essentials locally.
The nomadic lifestyle is growing strong since companies started to formalize their “work from anywhere” policies.
That means, more and more people are working under flexible conditions, which allows them to spend more days traveling, sometimes even a couple of months.
This is a travel trend destinations should keep an eye on. Georgia, Croatia, Iceland and Germany have already implemented legislation for digital nomad visas. Visitors to these countries that hold this visa can enjoy longer stays at these destinations.
Although remote work brings flexibility it also poses a challenge to team bonding and collaboration.
To fight back against this side effect, companies are organizing trips with the purpose of strengthening relationships.
If your destination is famous for conventions and other professional events, maybe now it’s time to promote it as a place where working teams can get together to improve employee satisfaction, strengthen company loyalty, and unlock creativity.
During 2022 travel started bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels. In 2023 this movement is expected to continue, representing a big opportunity for companies and destinations.
In this article, we have listed 10 travel trends based on two industry reports:
Don’t know how to make the most of these trends? Don’t worry.
Smart Destination is a crew of award-winning tech companies specialized in travel, tourism and hospitality. We are ready to help you attract visitors and add value to the local tourism industry through the implementation of digital solutions.
Contact us now to learn how we can work together.
on December 7, 2022
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