It's the time of year to reflect and look forward... which we've been doing a lot of on the blog recently! The final quarter of the year is full of predictions for the upcoming year. Industry experts all come forward with the purpose of equipping the wider collective with as much useful, data-centered, intelligent information as possible so we can continue to improve, implement new practises that might benefit us in the long run and above all - to please our customers by making their experience that much better.
It's been an interesting recovery period for sure. The year has come to an almost-close at such a quickened pace it's hard to believe, but when you think of the slow stillness of the 'Covid years' it's no wonder this one has sped by.
'The travel sector recovered over 50% of its gross revenue by the end of 2021 when compared to the pre-coronavirus numbers. This recovery is projected to reach 85% by the end of 2022, and the online travel industry is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.58% between 2021 and 2027 — when it’s expected to hit $1463.98 billion (GBTA).'
It does feel as though certain trends that dominated 2022 are here to stay for much longer, given the context of how they came about. The value of experiences has never been higher, with 78% of millennials saying they'd rather spend their money on experiences than on things. Unsurprisingly, 79% also said that going to live events together helps them feel closer to the friends and family they attend with.
What will 2023 look like in the travel industry?
With an experience as out of the ordinary as a global pandemic is, it makes sense the people who have lived through it would then be left with a much more tangible sense of the preciousness of life - and maybe its fragility, too. No wonder then that in a recent Tripadvisor survey, more than a third of travelers across the U.S., U.K, Australia, Japan, and Singapore said travelling to a destination they had not previously visited is more critical now than before.
Direct bookings are up
Recent data shows that travellers were somewhat frustrated with OTAs at the beginning of Covid when cancellations became an inevitability and consumers began to seek refunds. It seems some trust has been lost between the customer and OTA, with some people feeling like these issues could have been dealt with better. Due to poor communication and delays in issuing refunds, many travelers have seemingly lost trust in booking with OTAs.
A survey conducted by GlobalData last June showed 39% of consumers said they would typically book direct, compared to 17% who would opt for OTAs and comparators
It also looks like travellers are booking ahead - a recent report by Expedia showed that in Q2 of 2022, there was a larger growth in short-to-mid-term planning, with the 0-to-90-day search window increasing more than 5% quarter-over-quarter, and the 61-to-90-day window rising 15%.
Economic concerns are real - but people still value their breaks
While there are many economic, political and environmental issues facing us at the moment, the good news is that 73% of people are more optimistic about travel than they were in 2022 according to recent Booking.com data. While 68% of people surveyed said they will pay close attention to how much they’re spending on holiday, 50% say investing in their getaway is a huge priority. This is very encouraging for hoteliers.
Unsurprisingly, this new data shows that 42% of travelers want to go on a break that focuses on their mental and physical health. This includes specific 'retreat'-type stays (in relation to things like pregnancy and menopause). and 44% of people surveyed said they want to go on a meditation or mindfulness retreat. It's also very interesting that 55% of travellers want to disconnect and spend their holiday time 'off the grid'. Hold on... how off the grid are we talking? Well, given that almost half (48%) of people said they'd still need a few luxuries and indulgences, plus their phone and a stable internet connection, it's not just a tent in the middle of the woods they're looking for!
It's wise to take from this that while people will be attracted to hearing about spaces they can relax, unwind and connect with nature in, they will still be happy to hear about your luxurious bed linen and beautiful toiletries.
Blurred lines between work and play
The last two years has seen a surge in 'bleisure' travel and the 'workation'. These buzzwords have become more than just that and in a way, the bleisure/workation traveller has become a whole new target persona. They are very much real - people whose work-lives have changed drastically in that they no longer go into an office everyday. They have the ability to work from virtually anywhere. Logically this has meant these people may tack on a day or two to their holiday or hotel visit - or they might even just do a bit of work one afternoon in the lobby while it's raining outside. Whatever it is, this group is not to be ignored.
The latest data from Booking.com shows a development in that 66% of the people they surveyed want their trips to be strictly work-free in 2023. However, this is one thing to say and another to follow through on - it's one to watch for sure.