By Dana Baasiri
As the new year approaches, the travel industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace. While there have been multiple developments and radical changes industry-wide over the last few years, a few emerging trends seem to reign over the rest. Here are the biggest travel trends that we can expect to see in 2023:
Sustainability and The Conscious Traveler
Sustainability has taken on a new meaning when it comes to travel. Consumers today strongly desire to travel with intention as impact and purpose fuel their decisions. In fact, 81% want to travel to destinations where they can immerse themselves in the local culture and 62% of travelers agree they want to be more thoughtful about where and how they travel.
After a tumultuous couple of years where consumers felt a lack of purpose, there has been a significant shift in travelers wanting to be moved by travel experiences and wanting to leave the destinations better than they found them. And while sustainable travel has traditionally been focused on environmental impact, it now has a much deeper meaning. Travelers have adopted a heightened sense of awareness regarding their impact on the surrounding communities in those destinations, and 78% want the money they spend while traveling to return to the local community.
What this means for travel brands: Travel and tourism brands can deliver a true and purposeful journey that invites guests to authentically connect with the destination around them through culturally-rich vacations that allow them to explore their locale and meaningful programming that encourage them to give back and contribute to the surrounding communities.
New Technology Advancements
Technology is vital to the travel and tourism industry, helping businesses meet the evolving demands of travelers worldwide and creating a smoother travel experience for them. According to a recent report by Amadeus, technology will continue to leave a big mark on the industry, one of which involves a “try before you buy” model that travelers will gravitate towards in the metaverse. What Amadeus calls “a new kind of travel agent” will allow consumers to explore destinations before they book, arrive, or even relive their experience after leaving. While nothing will truly replace personal service or in-person interactions, many argue that the metaverse will come close as it allows travelers to relish in deeper cultural experiences (from festivals to concerts) in an online world.
What this means to travel brands: This technology can be leveraged by businesses as an opportunity to help with pre-trip planning, assistance or even to help travelers make purchasing decisions by inviting them to immerse themselves in virtual wanderlust. Additionally, travel and tourism brands can incorporate virtual world and metaverse components as enhancements to the onsite experience.
Increased Millennial Spending
Although Americans see an economic recession on the horizon, many still value travel as an essential investment that they will continue to spend on despite the current economic state of the country. Nearly 65.7% say they are careful with their money; however, 74.8% agreed that they still consider travel a worthwhile investment during a recession — a sentiment that appears to be strongest amongst Millennials, those who reside in the south and parents of school-aged children. With that said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that travelers will still be watching their money closely and spending wisely. This might mean being more selective when choosing where to vacation, and knowing exactly what value they are getting for their money.
What this means for travel brands: Being transparent about any “hidden” fees or additional expenses by simplifying their offer is the best thing travel and tourism brands can do. That, coupled with flexible booking policies, will help consumers regain confidence and feel more in control when they do spend their money on travel.
The Evolution of Wellness Travel
With stress levels in the U.S. at an all-time high, it’s not shocking that wellness travel is a booming industry that is getting incredibly saturated. As consumers are more conscious than ever about their overall well-being, 68% of resorts/hotels have prioritized their wellness offerings to launch over the next 12 – 18 months. With this shift, the perception of wellness is evolving to prioritize lifelong health enhancements, inner fulfillment, and overall happiness that lasts beyond a fleeting “vacation moment.” Yes, travelers (and Millennials especially) want to escape daily life and stressors, but they want to recapture balance and well-being as they return home.
What this means for travel brands: Shaping your guest journey and designing experiences that emphasize self-care will pay off in the long run. This might mean ditching the “spa” mentality — self-care is no longer a fluffy robe and ready-made wellness packages — and instead crafting thoughtful touchpoints that inspire holistic wellness from digital detox experiences and off-the-beaten path treatments to moments that encourage deeper connections like immersive dining and reinvigorating spaces.
Big Family Getaways
While family travel has always been a flourishing market, it continues to evolve. There has been a renewed sense of “family first” mentality, and many families are itching to plan their first big family getaway in a long time in an effort to reconnect and make new memories together. According to a recent study, 58% of respondents are more interested in multi-generational family trips than they were before, and we can expect to see the number of family reunion trips and multigenerational family vacations increase in 2023. So, what exactly are families looking for out of their big getaways? Space and privacy, to name a few. Luxury family travelers, in particular, are ready to spend on luxuries like large yachts, villas, private chefs, and much more.
What this means for travel brands: Families looking to spend on bold experiences means hotels and destinations can craft over-the-top offerings and added value perks, whether that’s an in-suite private chef for the highest room category, a private excursion or guided tour, or even upgraded amenities for leisure groups like weddings.
If you’re interested in collaborating with Alliance Connection to incorporate the biggest travel trends into your marketing strategy or onsite guest experience next year, let us know at email@example.com.
Alliance Connection works with Caribbean and Mexico travel brands to drive awareness and bookings through strategic marketing partnerships and powerful brand interactions across a highly selective portfolio of brands, media, social influencers and entertainment partners that connect, capture and influence travelers across the U.S.
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