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Travel Trends for 2023 and Beyond

After three years of travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, and ever-changing entry requirements, we’ve all had a lot of time to contemplate just how important travel is. Travel is our portal to the world – providing us with insights and connections, self-discovery, and self-care. With 2023 comes a renewed enthusiasm for exploration and new experiences in the way of travel trends.

In fact, travel sentiment appears more enthused than ever before. In Expedia’s new Traveler Value Index for 2023, 46% of respondents said that travel is more important to them now than it was pre-pandemic. (This trend is even more prevalent amongst younger generations, as 52% of millennials and 50% of Gen Z’s indicated that travel was more important now than ever.) New data from Expedia’s Traveler Insights Report supports this trend, with Q3 searches for 2023 travel up 65% year-over-year. 

2023 and Beyond

Looking ahead to 2023, the pent-up demand for travel is apparent. The Traveler Value Index shows that nearly 80% of travelers plan to take a leisure trip in 2023, up from 76% just a few months ago. Consumers are also pairing this with budget increases, as 43% responded they are upping their travel budget for the coming year.

In more good news for destinations and tour providers, travelers also seem open to planning further out. While most travelers are still planning trips in the near-term (0–21-day search window,) searches in the 91-180-day window are up 10% since 2019. This increase means travelers plan their vacations even further than in pre-pandemic years. 

Longer search windows present the perfect opportunity for more robust campaign planning to reach target audiences at the right time.

Important Trends & Takeaways

  • Families are a strong target for 2023 travel, as international family travel saw search increase nearly 90% year-over-year in Q3. Since families are such an integral segment of travelers for many within the industry, this particular return signals a highly positive outlook.
    • Takeaway: Consider a paid media campaign highlighting your destination’s unique family-friendly activities and accommodations.

  • The growing popularity of “city break” destinations also appeared on regional top 10 lists of booked destinations, including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Istanbul, and a new addition, Berlin, in Europe, and Chicago and Boston, as well as newcomer addition Miami, in North America. In Asia Pacific, Bangkok entered the top 10 following the lifting travel restrictions in Thailand on July 1.
    • Takeaway: Revamp your Content Marketing strategy to include keyword-specific assets to your website (i.e., “city breaks”).

  • It’s no surprise that younger generations are more influenced by social media. Approximately half of Gen Z (53%) and Millennials (48%) are influenced by social media, with social media being the No. 1 and No. 2 most popular sources of travel inspiration for Gen Z and Millennials, respectively.
  • A new, important highlight to note in the vacation rental industry was the rising popularity of unique accommodations. Year-over-year demand for more “alternative stays” (accommodations such as cabins, chalets, chateaus, boats, recreational vehicles, etc.) increased by triple-digits year-over-year and up by over 50% versus Q3 2019.  
    • Takeaway: Consider Influencer Marketing to highlight your destination’s more unique experiences and accommodations.

Influencer Instagram post for Thailand Insider

  • Although business travel is not quite back to 2019 levels, Expedia Group research revealed a rise in business travel intent for 2023. Over 30% plan to take a business trip in the next year, including 65% of remote workers. Of those planning business travel, 85% look forward to their trip.
    • Takeaway: Is your website design mobile-friendly? Millennials are now the largest segment of business travel, with 67% of those Millennials choosing to book on their mobile devices.

  • Travelers are also planning for “bleisure,” where they extend a work trip with added leisure time, and “flexcation” trips, where they combine remote work with leisure time. Among respondents taking business trips, 76% plan to take a bleisure trip, while 28% of consumers plan to take a flexcation trip. 
    • Takeaway: Consider an email marketing campaign with special offers for “Bleisure” and “Flexcation” travelers.  

Conclusion

Overall, travel is rebounding back to pre-pandemic levels despite inflation and the operational challenges 2022 brought. Travelers show interest in major cities, beach getaways, and “city break” destinations, even if that means splurging on a bucket-list trip. Planning trips further ahead of time is also a common theme. We’re likely to see increased enthusiasm moving into Q1 2023.

If your brand is ready to take advantage of the increased interest from travelers in 2023, connect with our travel and tourism marketing experts to get started.

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