WHETHER one’s ideal getaway is a quiet weekend close to home or an international bucket list trip, travelers’ desire for travel is at an all-time high. Expedia Group’s recent Traveler Value Index: 2022 Outlook revealed that the majority of those surveyed (81%) plan to take a vacation in the first six months of the year, with many setting their sights on quick and frequent trips.
The past two years created many setbacks for the travel industry, and now travel companies are gearing up for a groundbreaking year as the desire for travel is finally put into action. Companies are prepared to meet new expectations around well-being, safety, transparent communication, and innovative solutions.
Here are some rising trends that travel companies should be thinking through of as we continue through 2022.
Well Being is now a Top Travel Priority
A heightened focus on traveling for personal well-being and growth is now a permanent priority for travelers. Previous Expedia Group research found that approximately one-in-three (34%) respondents say they travel alone for self-discovery. The Traveler Value Index: 2022 Outlook found that nearly a quarter (24%) of travelers say they plan to spend less time on electronic devices to be more present in their environment and those around them.
In support of this, people are increasing their travel budgets: more than half (54%) of respondents will spend more on trips than they did pre-pandemic. Travel partners should ensure that they are supporting travelers on these journeys of relaxation, adventure, and contentment.
It’s Time to Break Open the Loyalty Points Bank
Airlines, car rentals, accommodations and activities that often get incorporated into a trip can all add up quickly. According to our research, travelers have put plenty of thought and preparation into funding their next adventure, with four-in-ten (40%) planning to use loyalty points accumulated during the pandemic for at least part of their 2022 vacation.
Gen Z is more conscious of loyalty points compared to other generations, and nearly two-thirds (61%) plan to use rewards to help fund their next adventure. The trend drastically increased internationally since the pandemic, with individuals who live in Mexico (56%), Australia (47%), the US (46%) and Japan (37%) all being most likely to utilize their loyalty points for travel.
These data points highlight that travel companies need to continue to incorporate loyalty deals into their offerings to better engage with vacationers moving forward.
Sustainability and Responsibility are Key Booking Factors
People around the world are growing increasingly conscious of the environmental impacts of travel, and many will keep this in mind when booking their next trips. Our research found that nearly two-thirds (59%) of travelers are willing to pay more fees to make a trip sustainable, and nearly half (49%) will choose a less crowded destination to lessen the impacts of overtourism.
Continued responsibility around Covid-19 protocols is also still top-of-mind. Nearly all respondents said they are taking into consideration the lack of workers (93%) and the impacts of Covid-19 (98%) when planning their trips. Travel companies should clearly communicate Covid protocols and measures to help travelers stay safe and achieve peace of mind.
The results of the Traveler Value Index: 2022 Outlook underscore the resilience of the travel industry. The trends evident in traveler behavior and preferences can help the travel industry adapt in order to retain a competitive edge in this fast-changing environmen
* Michael Dykes is senior director, Market Management, Northeast Asia, Expedia Group
• Featured image credit: felix-lam-J7fxkhtOqt0-unsplash